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Health insurance for extended travel within the US.


szurszewski

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Hey all -

I'm looking for some thoughts, suggestions and experiences regarding health insurance. Here's the situation - my wife, son and I are planning an extended trip - mostly in the US and all in North America, and we are likely needing to change up our health insurance. Currently we have a plan with a very location specific provider network, and fairly low out of network coverage. If we can pull it off, we will be on the road from July 2016 until... Well, penDing budget concerns, at least through summer 2017. We are all pretty healthy, my wife and i will turn 40 during that time and the boy will turn eight.

 

As such I'm looking for pretty minimal coverage and might even consider getting major medical/catastrophe only if not for the current tax situation.

 

I'm almost smart enough to compare coverage locally for various plans, but I'm at a loss as to how to efficiently figure out which plans would have decent coverage nationally (at least in major metro areas). Any thoughts on how to do that? Any recommendations on which hopital systems have the widest footprint?

 

Back when we lived in AK my employer had a great policy - no provider network, but instead just coverage percentages for different types of services. We often had to pay out of pocket up front (especially outside AK) but we could get anything done by any provider anywhere anytime, and we knew going in what the coverage would be. I'd LOVE to find something like that.

 

Google mostly gives me stuff related to travel outside one's home country. While we will likely spend time in Canada and Mexico, it's not enough that I'm worried about coverage specific to those places - I just want to be able to take my kid to the dr or er in Mississippi or Maine or Montana and not worry too much about the cost.

 

thanks,

josh

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...While we will likely spend time in Canada and Mexico, it's not enough that 'm worried about coverage specific to those places - I just want to be able to take my kid to the dr or er in Mississippi or Maine or Montana and not worry too much about the cost.

 

But what if you happen to be in Canada and one of you got sick or, God forbid, you were in an accident? Personally, I think you'd be foolish to travel to another country -- no matter how close to the U.S. -- and not have adequate health insurance coverage. None of us is smart enough to predict when illness, or accident, will strike.

 

I can't offer you any specific suggestions about coverage in the U.S; I can simply tell you how I/we approach this when the situation is reversed. We're Canadians living in the U.S. for a four year stint, but when living in Canada, and travelling to the U.S., we would never step one foot across the border (even for an hour) without medical insurance that covered us in the U.S. Why risk financial ruin?

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Mark's correct....you can search the forum I'm linking here for one way to handle it while traveling thru Canada and then search the parent forum(s) for other tips. I'm riding to Alaska next summer with a buddy and even going to top off with some medivac insurance.

 

http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/medical-insurance-while-in-canada.1070319/

 

Additionally, google MedJet Assist to get some ideas.

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Ok - I do appreciate your concern for our health and financial security while we are out of country, and I promise I'll look into insurance to cover those portions of the trip. (Before moving to Oregon, we probably spent at least a month and many thousands of miles in Canada each summer, and I think I can honestly say I never gave a moment's thought to health insurance coverage while doing that - thanks for bringing it up). I also have Medjet Assist on my radar for the trip...

 

But, what I'm really looking for is a bit more pedestrian - health insurance coverage for normal day to day kind of stuff for while we are in the US, our home country, but not in our home state. I suppose I'm either looking for a plan that has a good national provider network OR a plan that doesn't focus particularly on provider networks at all.

 

Any thoughts there?

thanks,

josh

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I'm not sure what your personal situation is, in terms of whether an employer, past or present, assists with coverage. In my experience, you want to shop for plans that offer a PPO option and probably not an HMO. Nearly all offer substantial coverage for emergency treatment, but a nationally chartered PPO, like a Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan, is more likely to offer physicians within their plan.

 

As far as travel insurance is concerned, MedJet offers great coverage, but there are other companies that offer travel insurance that is broader in coverage and less expensive. It's definitely worth doing some shopping and tailoring your travel insurance coverage to your anticipated needs.

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Good question Mike - my present employer is me, mostly - and a little side work for a university from which I get no benefits, so I'm essentially paying out of pocket for my family's health insurance (it's around $650 per month for 2015 but is going up to $777 for 2016). Switching to the same plan's larger network, and going down from gold to bronze, would put us around $660 for 2016. As we're planning to travel, it would be nice to lower that amount obviously, and if it were just me I'd find the cheapest catastrophic coverage I could and just try not to get sick...but that seems less than responsible concerning my wife and son (and Mark has already made me feel guilty for all the backcountry camping and other shenanigans we've been up to in Canada without having thought through insurance first...).

 

Theoretically, that larger network (from our current insurer) has national coverage, but unlike a cell company's national map kind of thing, the only way I can see to check that national coverage is to look at specific locations - does that make sense? So I could start checking state by state, or at least region by region to see if they really do have providers in those places...but gosh that sounds like an awfully unpleasant way to spend a day....which is why I asked here if anyone knew of a better way to figure out which insurers really do have a national network/good/thorough national coverage.

 

I've done another four or so hours of looking around online since posting and still haven't found anything like that. I DID find a post on ADV that had a link to an insurance broker who is also an ADV inmate and happens to have his business here in Portland, so I will be trying to get in touch with him later today.

 

thanks!

josh

 

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