Day #113 in lockdown Mumbai, India hotel…Health Insurance during lockdown…

We loved seeing this flower growing in our yard in Campanario, Madeira, as it broke free from its pod.

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Today’s photos are from July 14, 2014, while in Campanario, Madeira, Portugal. See the link here for more details.

At the end of this month, our world travel health insurance policy expires. Generally, we purchase a 90-day policy from United Healthcare Global Safe Trip from this online site.

Before COVID-19, it was a breeze to choose our preferred policy and purchase it online, taking less than 10-minutes to complete. The documents arrive shortly after that, leaving us with 90 additional days of coverage.

Colorful steps, located at an elementary school in Campanario.

At the time, purchasing a year-long policy wasn’t possible when the requirement stated we had to return to the US every 90-days. However, the cost of the 90-day policy was no higher in shorter increments than an annual policy. It simply meant we’d have to visit the company’s site, enter some general information and pay online.

Fortunately, my previous pre-existing condition hasn’t been an issue, providing I haven’t had any recent additional treatment or significant medication changes within the prior 90-days. 

This house appeared to be unfinished, as frequently observed everywhere we’ve traveled.

As of this date, we have not made a single claim since we began purchasing these two individual policies (one for each of us) with this reliable company. Years ago, we had United Healthcare as our insurance provider for several years. All was handled well without incident, giving us confidence in using them for our world travel policy.

The only drawback to the policy is the fact that we are not covered when visiting the USA. Yes, it’s possible to purchase an add-on for short visits to the US, but the cost was and continues to be prohibitive. 

A stairway to a cave.

Thus, when we visit the US, we only have Medicare, Part A. We’re not willing to pay the additional INR 90426, US $1200, a month in the future for Part B plus supplements. 

If and when the time comes that we’ll return to the US to live, when we cannot continue to travel, we’ll sign up for full Medicare insurance and accompanying supplements. Once one commits to the complete Medicare package, you’re locked in for life. 

We haven’t wanted the burden of this significant expense while traveling the world, although some new supplemental insurance provides some coverage while traveling. Instead, we pay INR 31122, US $413 a month for both of us combined with an INR 15071, US $200 deductible. Additional features may be found online. 

We didn’t see any reason to enter this cave.

Currently, due to COVID-19, United Healthcare Safe Trip website doesn’t allow purchasing without calling the company or sending an email requesting information. They are quick to respond.

With the current policy, which we’d renewed while in India in April, expiring on July 28th, I was a little concerned that COVID-19 and the lack of international travel may mean they no longer offer this type of policy. A few days ago, I sent an email requesting we renew the policy for the next 180 days to see how they’d respond.

Most likely, kids in the area played in these caves over the years.

This morning I received an email from the company authorizing the new 180-day period, asking if they could charge our credit card on file. I couldn’t respond quickly enough, thrilled they’d provide us with an extended period. 

With over 2,000,000 US citizens losing their health insurance since the onset of COVID-19, for a variety of reasons, we didn’t want to take a chance and wait another day to find out if they’d renew us.

The pods growing in the garden finally bloomed, as shown in the above main photos.

During our last visit to the US from November 8, 2019, to January 30, 2020, (when we first arrived in India), I had a few medical appointments, all of which we paid out of pocket; one a visit to a cardiologist for a check-up and another to an urgent care facility when we both had an outrageous cough and flu that wouldn’t go away. 

Had that cough and fever occurred a month later, we may have thought it was COVID-19 when we both coughed for over six weeks. After sailing on a 15-night cruise from the UK to the US, we’ve often wondered if it was arriving on November 8th.

Gina, our property manager, explained that the number of cloudy days we’d experienced while there was unusual. 

Hopefully, we’ll continue to be able to avoid making claims on the policy. After our previous insurance company failed to pay for my emergency heart surgery in South Africa, which included four surgeries and follow-up, all of which we paid out of pocket, we now feel at ease working with a reliable company.

That’s it for today, folks! Stay safe and healthy!

Photo from one year ago today, July 14, 2019:

Cow grazing by the fence along our driveway in Connemara, Ireland. Please click here for more details.

Day #112 in lockdown Mumbai, India hotel…Adding comfort for the end of days for a loved one…Seashells from a beach in Australia…

The Aztec-type lines in this shell are unique, found on a beach in Australia five years ago.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site shortly, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you. 

Today’s photos are from July 13, 2015, while in Trinity Beach, Queensland, Australia. See the link here for more details.
Had we been anywhere else in the world in a COVID-19 free world, I have no doubt I would have flown back to the US for a few weeks to say goodbye to my dear sister Susan in person.
This shell had a rough exterior.

When I last saw her in Las Vegas, Nevada, in December 2019, and we hugged goodbye on the last of my many visits, we both cried when she said, “This will be the last time we see each other.” 

I shook my head, insisting, “No, no, no! We’ll see each other again! We’ll be back to visit again before you know it.” In the back of my mind, I knew I could be so wrong. 

This shell appeared to have an eye looking at us.

And now, as her time nears, I almost wish I would have accepted that reality at that time, when now, during these impossible circumstances, I know I’ll never see her again. Thankfully, we’ve both already expressed our love for one another, even going as far as expressing all the reasons we’ve loved each other throughout our lives.

Like most siblings, we had occasional ups and downs, during childhood but as adults, we became closer, relying on one another as the years passed.

This shell was an exciting find.

She lived a tumultuous life consisting of notable success while receiving considerable respect for her outstanding business acumen. And then, over the past 15 years or so, her health tumbled out of control with chronic conditions, leaving her a near invalid, lying in bed 24 hours a day, with countless situations, ingesting multitudes of prescribed medications with little to no hope of returning to a productive, meaningful way of life.

There’s never been a time we didn’t stay in close touch. Since we began our travels in 2012, I called her at least once a week, if not more, and we engaged in thought-provoking conversations often interspersed with outrageous laughter leaving us in tears. 

This shell stood alone for its unique texture and color.

As her health and memory deteriorated in the past months, our conversations became short when she had little strength to engage in lively banter. All I could do was tell her I loved her and let her know I was thinking about her every day.

As the dementia worsened, I would often remind her we were in lockdown in India to understand why I was not at her side. She seems to grasp this concept and sounds content to hear my voice.

An intriguing three shells.

This past week, my sister Julie and Susan’s daughter Kely, both living in California, were tested for COVID-19 and drove to Las Vegas, staying in a nearby hotel, well-gloved and masked, and visited her each day. The nursing/hospice facility where she is living only has 10 patients and they haven’t had a single case of the virus.

Under these particular circumstances, with proof of their health, Julie and Kely were allowed to visit Susan all day over eight days, creating a familiar environment to provide Susan with some comfort. 

The variance in color makes the shells particularly interesting to find.

They visited her storage facility finding pictures, wall hangings, and treasured items. They proceeded to fill the walls of her private room with a lifetime of memorabilia, all of which made the sterile, single space feel more like a home than a hospital room.

They helped her in preparing the necessary “end of life” documents, including medical directives, posted on the wall to ensure the staff would know exactly what to do “when the time comes.”

This was one of the more giant shells we discovered.

My phone number is posted in large letters on the wall, stating that I am her “middle of the night contact” should she awaken and need to talk or feel frightened. She seemed aware of this when I spoke to her this morning. With the time difference here, her middle of the night would be our middle of the day. 

Knowing she can call during the night when she’s scared or wants to hear a familiar voice gives her great comfort. During the daylight hours (while we’re sleeping), she can call Julie and Kely. We’ve got it covered around the clock. 

These three were similar. The next day, we returned all the shells to the beach where we found them.

This isn’t easy for any of us with loved ones in poor health, with COVID-19, in nursing homes, those requiring surgery and tests in hospitals or even, dealing with the ravages of the virus in lockdown in their own homes. 

The issues of senior/disability care have become all the more pronounced during these challenging times. And yet, our emotions and love remain firmly in place to ease our loved ones through these sorrowful phases of life.

May you and your loved ones find peace, comfort, and love together now and always.

Photo from one year ago today, July 13, 2019:

“Do you have any carrots?” asks this Connemara Pony in Ireland one year ago today. For more photos, please click here.