Healthcare while traveling the world…What type of insurance pays abroad?…Check out the precious photo from one year ago!…

A Cattle Egret we spotted while driving.

It’s been a long time since we’ve written about our health insurance, a relatively boring topic as far as I’m concerned. Nonetheless, it’s a topic we must address at least once a year.

A drove along a beach road at low tide.

People we meet often ask about the type of health insurance we have and how it works when we’re traveling the world. Three years ago when we began to plan our travels, we asked these very same questions:

1.  Will Medicare pay for my medical expenses while aboard? NO
2.  Will Tom’s health insurance, still in effect until he’s 65 (he’s 62 now), cover him outside the US? YES
3.  Are any prescriptions covered? NO
4.  Are doctors visits covered? NO FOR EITHER OF US.

Many sunbathers are out on cloudy days.

I’m reminded of these questions this morning when I called the UK from which our travel insurance generates (calling at only $.023 a minute on Skype) to give them a new credit card number (an old card number was stolen and since replaced while we were on the Big Island) instructing them to go ahead and charge the annual US $3462 due at the end of this month for the policy that covers both of us.

Why have coverage for both of us when Tom already has insurance?  His insurance doesn’t include emergency evacuation.  Our combined policy with Healthcare International covers emergency evacuation for both of us and the cost for either of us to travel back to the US in the event of the death of an immediate family member (up to $5000).

Snorkeling on a sunny day.

When I turned 65 in February 2013, I qualified for Medicare and now have a Medicare card for Part A which only covers a portion of major medical. Since Medicare doesn’t pay while outside the US, I waived Part B (via a document to the US govt.) and also the purchase of a supplement. Why pay $250 a month (for Part B and a supplement) for insurance we can’t use while we’re traveling? 

With a plan to be outside the US for years to come, health providing, and with little need for doctor visits at this time (neither of us has visited a doctor in 26 months) it made no sense to pay for anything other than major medical and travel insurance for me.

Each night we wander across the street to check out the whales and the waning sun.

In actuality, Tom is double insured for major medical when he joined me in the policy for the emergency evacuation and family member death features which includes major medical (hospital stays). 

If and when we need to visit a doctor in her/his office, we’ll happily pay out of our pocket when costs in most countries are considerably less than in the US. Many would say this plan is foolhardy. For us and our unique circumstances, it makes the most sense financially and otherwise.

The trek down to the beach across the street from us is treacherous.

Of course, the policy with Healthcare International covers 100% of any hospital stays including surgeries and other procedures if necessary. In other words, as referred to in the US, we have “major medical” coverage, all we feel we need at this time. 

In 10 years, we may feel differently but for now, this plan works for us. It may not work for others, if they frequently visit their doctor for prescriptions and medical checks.

Healthcare International has a wide array of other policies including more comprehensive coverage that includes doctor visits but for us, at this time, it is unnecessary. 

A solitary orange leaf amongst green other leaves.

Tom no longer takes any prescriptions and I take only a few which I purchase online from BBB approved ProgressiveRX buying one year’s worth at a time, paying out of our pocket without the use of any insurance. The total annual cost for these three meds is under US $500, less than we previously paid for co-pays for these same drugs. Go figure.

If any of our readers have further questions regarding our insurance please feel free to click the included links, post a comment at the end of today’s post or ask us a question via our email posted on our site at the top of the page, on the right side. We’ll answer your questions within 24 hours at most.

It’s always easy to find a beach at the end of any road heading in any direction.

This can be a complicated topic. For us, we like to keep it simple, like everything else in our lives when possible.  In all probability, we may be traveling for the remainder of our lives. Should we settle somewhere if health requires, we’ll address the issue at the time. In the interim, while continually on the move, we’re comfortable and at ease with our current solutions.

Today, we’re off for our lunch date at the Westin Hotel in Princeville with Elaine and Richard where we’ll take more photos of the exquisite luxury resort and perhaps of few of ourselves while we languish in delightful conversation with our new friends.

Have a fabulous Friday!

                                            Photo from one year ago today, February 6, 2014:

Its hard to believe it was a year ago that we took this photo of a Vervet Monkey and her baby as they looked down at us while we sat on the veranda at Khaya Umdani. What an amazing start to a day. We love the baby’s super thin pinkish ear which eventually will be close to the head. For more photos from that date, please click here.

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