Beautiful view above Ölüdeniz Beach, Turkey.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Kas, Turkey until December 8th.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Not sure yet.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Our choices for Worldwide Medical Insurance

We plan to be away from Canada for at least two years. Part of the plan includes eventually applying for German resident permits, which state that you have to have your own private medical insurance. But even if we obtain German resident permits, we would want to be doing quite a lot of travel outside of Germany as well.

So we have been shopping for worldwide medical insurance that would include coverage for when we return to Canada for family visits.

Our situation is quite different from most Canadian travelers. The vast majority of Canadians who travel are gone for less than six months, and they have their "free" provincial health insurance plan waiting for them when they arrive home. The insurance companies know this, and when they buy their travel medical insurance, it is based on the fact that if something serious happens, the travel medical insurance will simply ship them home and wash their hands of it, letting the provincial insurance take over.

But because we don't have provincial insurance to fall back on because we spend less than the required time in our home province, we need to buy a form of expat insurance that's valid around the world no matter which country we are in. There aren't as many companies who sell it, and it's a little more expensive... but there are still enough of them that it's time consuming to shop around. And trust me, (as with ANY insurance) it is worth your time to shop around!

The commonly known nomad travel insurance companies like World Nomads and Safety Wing don't work for us. World Nomads doesn't cover anything Covid related, and Safety Wing covers everything but cancer treatments. Not that we plan on getting Covid or cancer, but isn't that why you would buy insurance in the first place? For something serious? And actually, those two companies seem more geared towards the younger crowd who are not worried at all about either of those things, and perhaps rightfully so.

So, we want to buy long term medical insurance that is valid in any country including our home country that has an option for a high deductible.

Why do we want a high deductible?

First of all, we are not the type of people to run to the doctor for any little thing. In fact, while traveling over the past 13 years we have only had to pay for a doctor twice. Once in South Africa when Ruth cut her hand and needed stitches, and once in Colombia when I had a bad skin rash that wouldn't go away. So if it's something small like that, we don't mind paying for it.

And the odds of something more major happening are really quite small, and of course the insurance companies know it.

And, we believe that insurance of any kind should be there to prevent personal disaster. If we have to pay for any medical procedure that costs up to $5,000, it would not be a disaster. $5,000 is typically the highest deductible you can buy, although some have a $10,000 option.

So far, the best I have been able to find is the Global Medical Insurance Plan from IMG. They seem to offer the most options so that you can build a plan suitable to your needs, and for our needs they certainly have the best prices. If we went with the basics and a high deductible, it looks like we can come in under $200 a month for the two of us.

Edit: It seems that IMG is one of the companies that will only cover you for Covid if you are visiting a country that has a CDC level 2 travel warning or lower. Currently 95% of countries are listed as level 3 or higher and so we would not be covered for Covid. We continue to shop, however it may well be that we will not be covered for Covid because the cost of insurance might be too high. Will update later.

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18 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for this post. We are Canadian full-time RVers who plan to RV in Europe in a few years as well. We have been paying close attention to your recent posts on your planning steps.

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    1. We will try to explain the process of everything we do to get us to Europe along with all the specifics involved with the health insurance, buying a motorhome, insuring it, licensing it and getting the Germany resident permit. Hopefully we will be able to make things easier for those that follow us. :-)

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  2. $200 for two is lower than I thought it would be. Won't your Canadian insurance still be in effect for at least 6 months after you leave? Hopefully Covid will be decreased a lot by then. How much time would you need to stay on a family visit for the Canadian insurance to reset? I'm 3 years shy of medicare which will be nice. But it does not travel with you.

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    1. Canadian health insurance doesn't cover you for very much outside of Canada, and some provinces are different than other and do not cover you at all. So if you're traveling and you want to be covered, you have to buy a private plan. There are a lot of different answers to your questions depending on what province you have as residency. As with anything run by the government, the whole system is far more complicated than it should be.

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  3. We had IMG when we went to Europe with our RV. When we had to return sooner than planned, IMG promptly refunded the unused months with no extra charge for their trouble. We have used them twice and their customer service was excellent.

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    1. IMG was one of the policies that Kevin was looking at and we were thinking of going with them until Kevin read all the fine print and found that they would only insure you for COVID-19 if the country you are going to had a CDC travel warning of 2 or less but just about every country has a CDC warning of 3 so that wasn't going to help us at all. :-(

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  4. Always learn something by reading your blog.

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  5. Fascinating. You're going to be German. Great travel base. Need the news on med ins.

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    1. We aren't going to be German, it is only a temporary resident permit which would need to be renewed every year. We think it will be a great travel base too. Looking forward to some new adventures. :-)

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  6. As a Mexican resident I have universal healthcare which can be good or bad depending on what your needs are. I learned years ago that everything is flexible. They sell set policies because most people don't investigate on their own the rules and laws that govern insurance companies. We like to go through our auto policies and pick and choose individual items. That can greatly reduce the price of the insurance policy. I find that true now with medical coverage. Why carry accident coverage on both auto and medical when one is sufficient and also cheaper than the other? If bypass surgery in Mexico costs at the high end in a private hospital and room, maximum $50K USD. So at age 63, why would I want a $2.5 million USD policy? Universal healthcare cost me nothing and for bypass it is very good care, if I'm on my deathbed from a myriad of problems, I want to be in a private hospital. Always good to share information. Sorry for being so long winded.

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    1. Travel health insurance is totally different though from each countries own health insurance that is in place for it's residents though. Having said that, Mexico and certain other countries are countries that we would travel too without travel insurance because their procedures are generally well priced and would never make us bankrupt in the process.

      You are totally right though about reading the whole policy over and making sure it includes what you need and that you won't be in for any surprises when it actually comes time to have to use the insurance. Kevin actually found some policies that won't cover you in an accident if you are using a rental car and didn't buy the rental car company's insurance! How crazy is that?

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  7. We're in Greece right now for six weeks and bought insurance from MediPac, one of the 3 or 4 Canadian insurances that covers Covid. Not sure what their conditions are for long-term travel or their rates with a high deductible, but it might be worth a look.
    Btw, The Greek government will also fully cover all related costs if a tourist falls ill with Covid.
    It feels very safe here - everyone seems to be quite compliant with mask-wearing; it is mandatory in all public indoor spaces as well as anywhere outdoors where there are crowds - the Covid numbers have remained quite low per capita as a result.
    Great time to visit - tourist numbers are way down - it is a pleasure to be here.

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    1. Kevin thinks that MediPac is only available as shorter term insurance that would be in addition to your Canadian healthcare which we do not have anymore having been out of the country and our province for more that the required amount of time to retain it. Kevin will have a further look into it just to be sure when he has a bit of spare time.

      We have heard of a few countries that like Greece that are fully covering all related costs to COVID-19 should you come down with it while visiting in their country because they are trying to bring back tourism to the economy and that they feel confident that they are doing a good good of keeping it at bay. We are glad to hear that you are there now and that your trip is going well. We also think that would be a great time to visit Greece. :-)

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  8. Once you reach 65, a lot of international policies are unavailable to you, you are pretty well stuck with what you can get in Canada. I don't know your ages. The main reason for taking out Mexican residency myself, was to go on their health system, and then we signed up for Skymed as well, which is a really good deal if you are in the Americas. When I turned 71, most travel insurance policies were way out of reach. I am a British citizen as well, which did mean EU citizenship up until this year. First time I ever lost about 10 rights to residency at the strike of a pen. I never bothered to check out coverage when in Europe the last couple of years, as my wifes work covered us at the time. When she retrieed last year at 65 that all ended. I ma not boarding a plane until this dies out or there is a vaccine, too risky IMO, plus it looks like a second wave may be coming especially in Europe. Certainly too risky for my wife who was recently on chemo. Russia is supplying 32 million doses of their vaccine to Mexico in November. Not so sure about that, but i guess if it works it could abate the issue there. In undeveloped countries the risk/benefit ratio is different. Will sure be glad once this is over. Lets hope the next one is a hundred years away, not five.

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    1. We have not reached that age yet so at the moment we aren't worried about finding a policy that will cover us and still be a reasonable price.

      As for boarding a plane you may have to wait for a good long time if you are waiting for COVID-19 to either die down or for a good and viable vacation. We certainly aren't going to sit around waiting for either of those things to happen. We think the airline companies and the airports are doing their best to make sure the planes and the terminals are as safe as they can make them and then if we ourselves take all the necessary precautions, which we will be doing, we feel very confident that we will be safe traveling.

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  9. BTW, for what its worth, there is growing evidence that vitamin D deficiency ups your chances of fatality from covid a lot. It does not hurt to supplement a couple thousand IU a day in case there is a connection. A good friend and workmate died of Covid in Mexico 3 weeks ago, so it has bought it home for me. I am super careful right now. I do have 2 N98 masks left over from my wifes chemo that we are saving in case we have to get on a plane.

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    1. Kevin has also read that Vitamin D is a good thing but we don't feel the need to take supplements as we spend a lot of time outside and nothing beats the real thing!

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