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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related) > Medical Insurance
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Thread: Medical Insurance Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
04-18-2013 01:59 AM
MedSailor
Re: Medical Insurance

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
midnight, since there is no "national medical system" in the US, the US government doesn't care what your insurance status is.

And since the States don't issue visas, they have no say in the matter.

In an emergency, most hospitals will take you in their ER (most, not all) and work out the details later, but if you are uninsured you can expect to get a bill. And private physicians will expect payment up front, cash or credit card, if you have no insurance.

Since there's no national medical plan and no coverage for visitors...it is up to you to decide if you gamble on not having your own medical coverage when you come here.

Unless you get arrested, in which case the medical care is free.
Not to derail the topic too far, but I'd have to say "yes and no."

I 100% agree that one of the major problems we have (and would apply to the OPs question) is that some pay 100X what others pay for the same service. You're right that if you're at the university hospital and you rack up a quarter million dollar bill and say you're poor they're apologize for sending you the bill (as happened to my neighbor). But if you're at another community hospital or private one without the same federal funding, they'll send the dogs of war (collections) after you.

The antibiotic for the bladder infection? Trust me, I've got the $4 list practically memorized. I also learned that the evil drug companies just took my favorite antibiotic (doxycycline) off the list going from $50 pharmacy cost for 500 pills to $2000 for 500 pills. On the other hand many docs are prescribing Fosfomycin for bladder infections because it's only one pill and 99.9% cure rate. It only costs $166.22 for that pill....

Bottom line. Our OP might stumble into my clinic with lots of federal funding and providers that know the $4 list, or he might go to a hospital/clinic that will order everything under the sun and charge the moon.

I also agree with Miniwaska that it's poor cruising etiquette to show up uninsured. There is a small part of me that is more forgiving of that because we don't even insure all of our own..... but it's still better etiquette to take us as we are, warts and all, and just man-up and pay for some insurance before making landfall.

Australia has some pretty severe and crazy quarantine restrictions on animals, but I wouldn't dream of showing up there with an unvaccinated cat hidden in my bilge. When I go off westward, the cat will have had her pokes, prods and tests because that's what my host has asked as a requirement that I stay as a guest in their country. America hasn't formally asked (read:required) for heath insurance, but it sure would be polite to show up with it.

MedSailor
04-17-2013 07:04 AM
aeventyr60
Re: Medical Insurance

Quote:
Originally Posted by SchockT View Post
You would have to be crazy to go to the USA without medical insurance!
Always a concern traveling back to the USA....
04-17-2013 07:02 AM
aeventyr60
Re: Medical Insurance

The OP may be better off to get a travel insurance policy from his home country before arrival in the USA. Then he can sort out the various options.
04-17-2013 06:52 AM
Minnewaska
Re: Medical Insurance

Quote:
Originally Posted by MedSailor View Post
....If you're not from around here, they probably can't easily bill you, so you might be able to get away with it.

MedSailor
Although, the rest of us will ultimately pay it for them. That's not good cruiser etiquette. It would be like us traveling to their country and stocking up on whatever provisions we need, then sailing away without paying. Provisions would end up costing them more to makeup for it and we wouldn't be welcome back.
04-17-2013 03:35 AM
hellosailor
Re: Medical Insurance

Not to disagree with you entirely, Med, but those same antibiotics (including Cipro for bladder problems) can be gotten for $4 at WalMart or for free at Publix (Florida supermarket chain with pharmacies) as can about 100-200 popular meds. And that same hospital that will try to charge you $2000 uninsured, will charge you $20 if they are required to accomodate uninsured unemployed according to income level, as many are if they participate in certain programs. But if you don't ASK, they won't offer, and you have to do the paperwork to qualify. I don't know if non-residents even can.

Which is part of the problem with the US medical system, some pay 100x more than others, and a 10x difference in costs is actually normal even for the same procedure as billed to insured patients. Trying to call around for a price for non-emergency care is greeted with the same astonishment as calling around to ask how or if one grooms one's pubic hair.

For a foreigner with no anticipation or clue about all this...well, even the medical insurance can be baffling. $600/head/month will buy you coverage with limits and gaps and a deductible (often $2000-5000) and for an individual not having a corporate or group rate, a fast thousand dollars a month isn't unusual for "good" coverage from a provider with a large network. And if you have less than perfect health to start with, you won't get those rates. Policies from the smaller cheaper providers will also sometimes mean a two week wait to be seen by one of their few approved doctors or clinics, a foreigner would also need to know what "in or out of network coverage" is all about.

And then of course, the threat of ObamaCare is making everyone change their terms and prices even as we speak.

What a mess.
04-17-2013 12:55 AM
MedSailor
Re: Medical Insurance

Quote:
Originally Posted by svmidnightsun View Post
Hi
Is it compulsory to have medical insurance to arrive in the USA?
we got our 5 year multi entry Visa for the states no questions about
medical insurance but I have just been asked for a copy of our medical insurance for our arrival in Raivavae where else is compulsory medical insurance required
thanks Paul
16% of Americans don't have health insurance. So, no, you don't have to. Just remember it IS ABSOLUTELY NOT AFFORDABLE to get any kind of care (with rare exceptions like the clinic I work at) without insurance.

Want to see a doctor for 7 minutes for something simple like a bladder infection? $250. Antibiotic prescription, $50.
Go to the ER for a sprained wrist, get an X-ray and go home: $2000.
Have a heart attack and get it treated: $65,000.

On the other hand, we have laws that require the Emergency Rooms treat you and bill you later. If you're not from around here, they probably can't easily bill you, so you might be able to get away with it.

MedSailor
04-15-2013 11:51 PM
SchockT
Re: Medical Insurance

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
midnight, since there is no "national medical system" in the US, the US government doesn't care what your insurance status is.

And since the States don't issue visas, they have no say in the matter.

In an emergency, most hospitals will take you in their ER (most, not all) and work out the details later, but if you are uninsured you can expect to get a bill. And private physicians will expect payment up front, cash or credit card, if you have no insurance.

Since there's no national medical plan and no coverage for visitors...it is up to you to decide if you gamble on not having your own medical coverage when you come here.

Unless you get arrested, in which case the medical care is free.
So if you get injured, don't go to the hospital, just walk up to the nearest cop and punch him in the face, then it's all free? Good deal!
04-15-2013 09:56 PM
hellosailor
Re: Medical Insurance

midnight, since there is no "national medical system" in the US, the US government doesn't care what your insurance status is.

And since the States don't issue visas, they have no say in the matter.

In an emergency, most hospitals will take you in their ER (most, not all) and work out the details later, but if you are uninsured you can expect to get a bill. And private physicians will expect payment up front, cash or credit card, if you have no insurance.

Since there's no national medical plan and no coverage for visitors...it is up to you to decide if you gamble on not having your own medical coverage when you come here.

Unless you get arrested, in which case the medical care is free.
04-15-2013 09:14 AM
Minnewaska
Re: Medical Insurance

Quote:
Originally Posted by SchockT View Post
You would have to be crazy to go to the USA without medical insurance!
Agreed, assuming you're the type of person that pays their bills.
04-15-2013 09:09 AM
tommays
Re: Medical Insurance

Basically in the USA IF you have nothing and go to the emergency room you will get treated

BUT if you have money someplace the will be looking to find it and the bill will be fairly astounding
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