Long-term travelers health insurance. Difficulty: US residents
June 6, 2018 11:04 AM   Subscribe

We are US residents who will be traveling out of the country for 6 months, possibly more (Europe, SE Asia, Oceania). We have looked at GeoBlue for international health insurance and are wondering what our other options are. Who have you used and do you like them? We're also wondering if there's any point in retaining our (expensive, no coverage outside of the US) policies while we're traveling. Thoughts?
posted by rednikki to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Travel health insurance will pay to do the cheapest safe thing for you. Often the cheapest safe thing will be to get you stable and fly you back home. So yes, you need to retain insurance at home or you could be dumped in the US sick or injured with no insurance.

Also, travel medical insurance is intended for urgent/acute situations not anything ongoing. Six months is a long time. So let's say (god forbid) you found a lump in your breast. Travel insurance won't pay for a mammogram or biopsy and won't even pay to fly you back home to have those treatments.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 11:35 AM on June 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

That does not appear to be the case Penguin, as seen here mammograms are covered 100%.
posted by rednikki at 11:40 AM on June 6, 2018

Oops..my bad...I was thinking of travel health insurance and didn't even realize there was insurance for expats. I'm sorry.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 11:56 AM on June 6, 2018

I've used Cigna. You can choose to not have US coverage.

I would check w your tax pro that whatever you are choosing will still meet the requirement for health insurance coverage in the US bc even if you're not there you still need to have coverage for the whole tax thing.

Yes it's super weird and I could be misunderstanding but still good to ask a pro so you don't get hit with an unexpected penalty
posted by sio42 at 12:02 PM on June 6, 2018

We are out of the U.S. 9 months out of the year and have retained our ACA coverage via Florida Blue. It's by far our biggest expense, but we don't know what else to do because we're not comfortable with terminating it for pre-existing condition worries, etc. since we plan to come back to live full-time in the U.S. at some point. We have not found any catastrophic insurance we could sign up for, but we haven't looked in a while. GeoBlue was outside of our price range.

We're traveling in Mexico where others who are here self-insure. We're cruisers and the other folks we've met who are here or have sailed onto the South Pacific also self-insure outside of the U.S. It seems most of the folks I've spoken to don't plan to return to the U.S. or are older than us and covered by Medicare.
posted by vivzan at 12:21 PM on June 6, 2018

We're US expats and often use World Nomads for general travel -- has always worked well for us (though we've never claimed, we know people who have and it has been straightforward.) Obviously different situation but worth looking at.
posted by heavenknows at 1:41 PM on June 6, 2018

Not sure about Europe, but the impression that I get is that most people doing long-term travel in Oceania and SE Asia self-insure + medevac insurance in case it's something that really needs US healthcare. The company that I've most often seen recommended for the medevac insurance is Divers Alert International. I am not in any way affiliated with them and I have not purchased insurance from them, that's just a recommendation that you investigate them as an option. And you don't have to be a diver to purchase insurance from them.
posted by bricoleur at 4:54 PM on June 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

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