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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Over the last 7 years of cruising we have visited dentist in several countries between Panama, Trinidad and Canada, usually receiving reasonably priced good quality dental care.

Today in Panama City, Panama Nell had a wisdom tooth extracted in a modern office, by an excellent dentist for a total cost of $90! The entire visit too less than an hour.

Three years ago we both had extensive work done by an excellent Mexican dentist for 30% of US cost.

Dental care at reasonable prices is one of the perks of cruising.

Phil
 

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As mentioned above, very reasonable dental care available. Had dental work done in Mexico and Thailand. First class care and often the dentist had been trained in the US. Yearly check up and teeth cleaning is 25 bucks here.
 

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Deep Blue Crush
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What I also wonder about often is how many people actually cruise without health insurance.
Not really fitting with the thread Yorksailor, :) sorry. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Medical care while cruising.

Unless you have a massive budget to buy worldwide health insurance which includes the USA then ensuring comprehensive medical care can be very difficult.

We maintain excellent 'repatriation insurance' through Divers Alert Network (you do not have to be a scuba diver) and good insurance in the USA via Medicare and Obama Care both of which have proved to be excellent over the last year. However, this combination might not work if you need emergency surgery in a foreign country. My Medicare supplement includes $50,000 of emergency coverage outside the US but for Nell we would have to pay cash!

While medical care is often good and much cheaper outside the USA without comprehensive health insurance, and many cruisers have no health insurance, you are courting disaster. One friend had a $40,000 bill when his appendix burst and caused serious complications and another friend had to be airlifted out of Grenada because the health care services in Grenada were inadequate to take care of a very serious injury.

Please let this thread be a source of information, personal experiences with foreign medical care and how cruisers can best provide health care for themselves and not a tirade against US medical costs and Obama Care. Also while many of us are US citizens I would also like to learn how other nationalities handle the health care problem.

I plan to add to this thread as I have time and gain useful information.

Phil
 

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Many cruise without medical insurance because the costs of seeing a doctor are miniscule compared to seeing one at home. (On private ins in Australia).

As the OP says, the treatment was excellent. The doctors and dentists the cruisers go to are really very good... Or word gets around.

Also the cruising lifestyle is very healthy.

My total health expenses for 6 years adrift are about $400 and that includes removal of a non cancerous tumor on my back by a proper surgeon.

After reading that thread the other day about all the crap people want to take in their medical kit - its value is much higher than most will ever spend on medical on a round the world cruise.
 

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Deep Blue Crush
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Many cruise without medical insurance because the costs of seeing a doctor are miniscule compared to seeing one at home. (On private ins in Australia).

As the OP says, the treatment was excellent. The doctors and dentists the cruisers go to are really very good... Or word gets around.

Also the cruising lifestyle is very healthy.

My total health expenses for 6 years adrift are about $400 and that includes removal of a non cancerous tumor on my back by a proper surgeon.

After reading that thread the other day about all the crap people want to take in their medical kit - its value is much higher than most will ever spend on medical on a round the world cruise.
Thank you Mark. In the end this is a risk each person will assess to take or not. Or simply put have no choice other times.
I agree the cruising life is overall healthy, or at least it could be. Overall people should try to lead healthy lives regardless they are on land or at sea. Ok, I wont start on that, I am a bit of a nutcase when it comes to healthy living, health related aspects. You start me on that subject at one point you will be looking for something to shut me up. :)

However, I respectfully disagree, on the first aid kit. A lot of minor situations, or minor accidents can easily be kept minor with the right well researched first aid kit, and without they can easily turn into serious situations. Not to mention a lot of other inconvenient situations that would just make someone's life miserable otherwise.
Especially when traveling to different areas around the world, one gets exposed to all sort of pathogens that the body still need to be introduced to, or overcome with a bit of help.
Its hard to select a first aid kit when you trek mountains, you have to be minimal, and look at the weight of it and the size of it, but on a boat, one could put a good kit together, especially if one travels far and long and especially of one doesn't want to depend on doctors.
Its also often a state of mind. Get too worked up over what can go bad and wrong and voila, they happen.
A balance there is the best approach, a good kit, a healthy life style, and a good state of mind.
 

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Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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Re: Medical care while cruising.

You need insurance for the US for sure, but elsewhere it is cheaper to self-insure. I had a serious accident in South Africa that meant 5 nights in a private hospital and an operation. The total bill was about $7000. If we had wanted to to the public hospital in South Africa it would have been free, but the care would not have been as good or convenient (e.g we would have had to go about 30 miles to a city to see a specialist). In the other four years we were out our total medical bills were about $250.

Our Canadian insurance covers us for a certain number of days after we leave the country (i.e. if it viewed as a holiday), but they only pay at the rates that they would pay for the same care in Ontario. This would work fine basically everywhere except the US where the cost of coverage is so high. I also have an extended health care plan that covers me for six months when I am out of the country. If I go back it resets. This is what we do if we are in the US.
 
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Many cruise without medical insurance because the costs of seeing a doctor are miniscule compared to seeing one at home. (On private ins in Australia).

As the OP says, the treatment was excellent. The doctors and dentists the cruisers go to are really very good... Or word gets around.

Also the cruising lifestyle is very healthy....
Agreed, but like our diesel engines, as we age we need more attention and sometimes things happens without warning, even with yearly check-ups.
So if you have many "hours", be prepared. I wish we could bring spare parts...

...After reading that thread the other day about all the crap people want to take in their medical kit - its value is much higher than most will ever spend on medical on a round the world cruise.
When at sea or in a remote place, no med resources around, you need to be proactive.
 

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When at sea or in a remote place, no med resources around, you need to be proactive.
Without being stupid about it.

There are first aid kits out there for boats that are over $700. And add thr meds people think they need and it shoves it above $1,000 in the USA...

But the good fist aid kit can be under $50
 

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Without being stupid about it.

There are first aid kits out there for boats that are over $700. And add thr meds people think they need and it shoves it above $1,000 in the USA...

But the good fist aid kit can be under $50
Also, prescription type meds for your first aid kit can be resupplied in many foreign ports for a fraction of what they will cost you at home and with no trip to the doctor required.
 

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Re: Medical care while cruising.

Many cruisers in SE Asia avail themselves to the excellent medical facilities in Penang, Malaysia. Many of our friends with health insurance go here, instead of making the long trip home. World class facilities without going bankrupt or leaving your boat for too long:

Medical Tourism - Penang Adventist Hospital
 

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Deep Blue Crush
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Without being stupid about it.

There are first aid kits out there for boats that are over $700. And add thr meds people think they need and it shoves it above $1,000 in the USA...

But the good fist aid kit can be under $50
That's not being stupid about it at all, that's actually a good point that I agree with. A well thought kit doesn't have to be expensive at all. In fact, in the end, the kit itself, no matter how expensive or not, its pretty much useless unless the person knows to use it. And when a person does know to use it, that means enough knowledge to allow them to put together a good kit without serious costs. I am also a strong believer that nature provides us with everything that we need, as long as we take the time to do some self education on it, to have some common sense, and as long as we are proactive about it, as in the lifestyle we live every day, not just turning for quick solutions and fixes when we are sick. I certainly don't mean some individual magic potion or herbs.
As you said, from one angle, just the cruising itself is healthy and promotes a healthy body and mind, sun, unpolluted air, and salty water. A good trio that complement each other.
 

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Re: Medical care while cruising.

Emotive words like "airlifted" are rediculous. Flew to his country of preference by normal commercial airline is more like it.

Its just more latent racism that the only doctors and facilities that are good enough are the ones in the USA that provide expenisive services.
Using a black doctor, or asian doctor is somehow terrible. Especially if they are trained in a country that isnt your own.

Look at the figures from the link posted by Aeventyr60: look at the services you get for US$82
- CONSULTATION & PHYSICAL EXAMINATION BY WELLNESS DOCTOR
- ECG
- CHEST ( PA only )
- LABLINK EXECUTIVE PROFILE (GP61M)
- Blood group & Rhesus Factor
- Full Blood Count (Anaema/Infection)
- Hepatic Profile (Liver Function Test)
- Renal Profile (Kidney Function Test)
- Fasting Blood Sugar (Diabetic)
- Lipid Profile (Cholestrol)
- Rheumatoid (Arthritis screen)
- Urine FEME
- Hepatitis B Screen (Antigen & Antibody)
- Hepatitis A lgG
- VDRL (Syphilis)
- TSH (Thyroid Screen)
- Medical Report
Why the hell would pay thousands per year if medical and hospital is a pittance in the rest of the world?

Higest fee for a doctor I have paid is $50, and €200 for surgery to remove a non cancerous tumor... In 6 years!

As for someones idea of buying medical insurance when in the USA for the USA... Those policies have two interesting exclusions: Heart attack and Cancer. So what are you going to be hauled into hospital for? Ingrown tow nails? Yeah, really likely.

To self insure means to pay these fees yourself when you use them. But even if you do hit a fee like Killarneys $7,000 over the ten years of his cruising its much cheaper than 10 years of medical insurance.

If you are really old, sick and chronic in all departments you may reconsider my advice... But you may reconsider going sailing too. Is it better to die in a nursing home or on deck in the tropics with a pain killing margurita?
 

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Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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Re: Medical care while cruising.

We haven't done ten years of cruising, but are still well ahead of the cost of having health insurance. If it wasn't for our one big medical bill we would have total medical bills of about $50 a year. In Papeete I went to the fancy new hospital for treatment of an infected boil. Was activity treated for an hour and half by three staff trained in France and the cost was $60. A visit to a doctor in the private hospital in Fiji was $12. Doctor was trained in Australia.

In all these discussions of cruising on $x a month one never sees discussion of how much to budget for medical care. The reason is simple, you can't know how much it will be. We have cruised relatively cheaply but have been fortunate to have some money available beyond our cruising budget for big ticket items. Some of these are unexpected (big medical bill); some expected but happen very rarely (new main and genoa after completing the circumnavigation). Pretty much how we 'budget' when on land. Live well within our means but have money to splurge on something when needed.
 
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