I no long have insurance, want to travel, and don't know what to do thereabout
April 6, 2008 12:57 PM   Subscribe

I am no longer covered under my parent's insurance because of my age and i will be traveling soon. What should i do?

I am not entirely sure how it all works.

Do i only need travel insurance? Do i need to have "normal" insurance, and in addition to that buy travel insurance? I think that most people get insurance through their jobs, but how else can one get it?

Currently i will be traveling in the US, of which i am a citizen, working on WWOOF farms.

Thanks MeFites!
posted by fjardt to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I think that most people get insurance through their jobs, but how else can one get it?

You buy it yourself, from an agent or broker. Check the yellowpages.

How long ago did you go off your parent's coverage. Some insurers will require you buy new coverage within a certain time frame in order to avoid long-term riders for pre-existing conditions. Other insurers won't care and will penalize you for pre-existing conditions, regardless.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:06 PM on April 6, 2008

Four or five years, when my daughter finished college and had yet to find a job, we got singles insurance for her with BlueCross/Shields. It had a high deductible and cost us around $150 per month. The rates depend on your state and personal info.

We also increased the medical on the car insurance. You should not need travel insurance if you have health insurance.
posted by francesca too at 1:06 PM on April 6, 2008

Don't you need insurance even if you aren't traveling? I mean, are you planning on just being uninsured? I thought the WWOOF program might offer some sort of subsidized insurance but looks like they do not have any insurance program.

Other suggestion is to look up low cost programs in the country you plan to be in.
posted by special-k at 1:07 PM on April 6, 2008

oops missed the part where you said traveling in the US, sorry.
posted by special-k at 1:08 PM on April 6, 2008

Yup, you need health insurance, and you need this whether you are traveling or living with your parents. Something with a high deductible and low rates is great for a lot of young people who are not likely to have many health problems but want the peace of mind of knowing that if they do get seriously injured or get cancer that they will be able to receive treatment for it. I used Golden Rule when I went back to school after college, but there are many different programs available. You don't want to wind up like the guy in "Sicko" who had to choose which finger he wanted to have reattached.
posted by caddis at 1:19 PM on April 6, 2008

Response by poster: special-k, yes, i do need insurance even if i am not traveling. That's something i am also wondering about.

Thorzdad, sure i could check the yellowpages, but this is the age of the internet and information! Is there any advice on what i should look for, maybe even a site that has insurance policy comparisons.. asf.?
posted by fjardt at 1:20 PM on April 6, 2008

Response by poster: So i guess a big question i am left with is whether or not i need both health insurance AND traveling insurance, even if i am staying in the US.
posted by fjardt at 1:50 PM on April 6, 2008

Best answer: It would help to know where you're living (or where your parents live, as I assume that's where you're going to stash your stuff when traveling), as well as what states you'll be traveling in. Since health insurance is regulated at the state level, there may be different types of policies available to you (and different resources in terms of comparing benefits) depending on where you are.

Some general things to think about:

--Many insurance policies have a certain network of providers that you either have to go to (in an HMO) or who are a lot cheaper to go to (in a PPO). If you're going to be traveling through states other than the one you're currently located in, that's something to watch for--where does the network extend to? What happens if you need a doctor or hospital and you're 100 miles from the nearest one in-network?

--Are you mostly interested in the type of insurance that's bare-bones protection against being screwed if something catastrophic happens (really bad car accident, emergency appendectomy, etc) or do you want the type of insurance that will cover more routine things like visiting the doctor when you have the flu? The second type might be hard to because provider networks don't tend to cover multiple states--although Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans sometimes have reciprocity with other affiliates in different states. You probably want to at least consider getting a catastrophic coverage plan, and keeping the money you saved in an emergency fund to cover the lower-cost stuff (doctors appointments, prescriptions) out of pocket.

--How long do you need this insurance--do you plan on having a job with access to insurance in a year? In some states, there's a price difference between "guaranteed renewable" policies and those that are not guaranteed renewable (sometimes called temporary policies). If you're *sure* that you're going to get access to health insurance through some other source within a pre-specified length of time--say, you've been accepted to law school and are only deferring for a year to do this program--it will almost certainly be cheaper to go with a temporary plan. However, you're taking a risk in that if one of those bad, catastrophic things happens and your insurance policy runs out (these policies are typically written for a 6 months or a year), the company will drop you and you'll probably not be able to find another company to take you on, leaving you without any insurance at all.

If you are shopping for insurance, a broker can walk you through all this stuff and point out dangers in terms of exclusions that you might not catch yourself, so even if it's possible to price-shop over the internet I'm not sure it's a good idea. Brokers are generally paid a commission by the insurance company, not by you, so there's not much of a downside to visiting one and talking through your options.
posted by iminurmefi at 2:04 PM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

I think you only need health insurance. Travel insurance is a broad concept that covers things like trip cancellations, health insurance when traveling in areas geographically outside of your health insurance coverage area, death benefits if your plane should go down, etc. I think you are just talking about the health insurance aspect and as long as you stay in the US you should be able to find a plan that will cover you anywhere. Most of them will, but some plans impose some extra burdens for being out of network and the network is often defined in part by geography.
posted by caddis at 2:10 PM on April 6, 2008

There are a number of previous questions with people just beginning their adult lives, recently off their parents' insurance, wondering how they can get coverage. Click the tag "insurance" and search back.

If you're going to be working on a farm you NEED health insurance.
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:21 PM on April 6, 2008

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