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catastrophic only coverage
Old 01-17-2010, 04:32 PM   #1
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catastrophic only coverage

I'm wondering if anyone here is familiar with these plans that cover only things like emergency hospitalization in the event of accidents - i.e. acute care only, up to a pretty low dollar limit (I've seen as low as 100K, which as we all know doesn't go all that far these days). The reason I ask is we spend a great deal of time in places like Mexico and Thailand and would prefer to pay for anything chronic, including major stuff, out-of-pocket there and minimize our costs in and exposure to the U.S. health care system.

We've had high-deductible HSA plans in the past but since we never come close to meeting the deductible it's throwing money away and though we are in good health the premiums are so high we have nothing left over for actual preventive health care.

Any experiences much appreciated.

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Old 01-17-2010, 07:05 PM   #2
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Have you looked at travel insurance plans? Most have medical coverage etc. lots of companies offer them.

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Old 01-18-2010, 08:06 AM   #3
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We've had high-deductible HSA plans in the past but since we never come close to meeting the deductible it's throwing money away and though we are in good health the premiums are so high we have nothing left over for actual preventive health care.
We're in the same boat. However, realize that even a healthy person can have some unexpected medical expenses that will make him/her glad to be paying the $3,500 deductible amount, and not $10,000 or so. For example, minor skin cancer, hernia repair, colonoscopies.
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Old 01-18-2010, 01:34 PM   #4
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I think you could consider it as bankruptcy insurance - get something to cover catastrophic illness so you don't get wiped out. While travelling, you can get travel medical insurance - try they have a selection of plans from different companies.

I seemed healthy when I was diagnosed with cancer... at 47.
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Old 01-19-2010, 08:42 AM   #5
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Thanks all for the thoughts. I've used for travel insurance and they are indeed very good.

After much research I did find an ultra high-deductible (25K individual, 75K) family plan with affordable premiums as well as a supplemental accident policy with a $100 deductible to cover really basic (but common) incidents up to 10K in cost. Total premiums for the two of us, 53 and 46 respectively, are under $200 a month. That is still a big chunk of change for two people living on well under 30K a year, but it is reality in the U.S. and as we well know most people that don't have coverage through w*#k are paying multiples of that.

Meanwhile where we are living now, in Lake Chapala, Mexico, we pay $600 total per year for full catastrophic coverage through the national health care system here and happily pay for routine care out of pocket. The decisive difference here is that even conditions that would be financially catastrophic in the U.S. can be paid for out-of-pocket here if you have assets and you'll take a hit but not be bankrupt. A fellow we know (local doctor) had triple bypass surgery and follow-up care for 11K total in the best hospital in the area, while a local woman whose insurance hadn't kicked in dealt with breast cancer treatment and had total costs over two years of extensive treatment around 20K.

Not advocating this path for anyone - just acknowledging how fortunate those who have good coverage really are back home. We keep meeting more and more people who have moved down here primarily due to health care costs, including a couple we just met who realized their total costs for rent and food combined here were less than what they were paying in health insurance premiums back home.
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