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Old 02-21-2007
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Family Medical Insurance While Cruising

Help dear cruising friends - we plan on taking a 14 month cruise with 3 children and are having tremendous concerns regarding the crippling cost of medical insurance. What do others do to make sure they are covered for the worst without wiping out their savings just for medical insurance. COBRA appears to cost approximately $1,200.00 per month for the standard family plan. We are just looking to do the Nova Scotia to Bahamas route and do not plan on across the pond sailing. PLease share your knowledge. Thanks
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Old 02-21-2007
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Aschoenb...Whe we set out we found the same high costs but did not find that the kids added that much more to the total premium. There really is no good, low cost private solution so we decided to take a policy with a very high deductible ($5K) so as just to protect us from any truly crippling bills. That helped quite a bit but even now for the 2 of us it is running over $6k/year with the high deductible. Our policy is with BC/BS. Can't wait till we can get on medicare!!
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Old 02-21-2007
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Beth Lenoards' Voyager's Handbook has a section on this. She states that healthcare costs in the US are 2 to 10 times higher in the US than anywhere else that she has dealt with.

You could always change your destination I suppose....
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We found that COBRA was a very expensive solution for US based health insurance. If you are in good health I would look at a high deductable indivual plan. We ended up with a 2500 dollar deductable as the best compromise betweeen costs and coverage. I would suggest looking at what Cigna, Blue Cross, Humana have available in your state so you can find the right solution. Also start the process early as it takes time to get approved and they will want full medical history. Preexisiting conditions will be looked at closely.
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Anybody happen onto a source for comparing costs of health insurance by location?
Health insurance does vary state to state and sometimes within a state. I'd love to get my hands on a study that illuminates the differences. I've found resources for analyzing tax differences but not health cost differences.
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We are Canadian based. When we left Vancouver BC, headed south, we got a worldwide policy (International Travellers series, I think) from MultiNational Underwriters. To keep the cost reasonable, it has a $5K deductible. We think of it as "heart attack" insurance.

It restricts us to spending not more than 6 months per year in the US.

In Mexico and elsewhere, medical costs are much lower than US costs. But a cruiser who had a heart attach in Mazatlan MX, and was airlifted to Guadalajara (and got excellent care, with bypass operation) was out-of-pocket about $25K.

Charles
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