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Old 06-16-2015, 12:18 PM
 
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I am planning on spending 3-4 months in Europe, mostly in Spain to study the language, but possibly with some travel to other European countries (I know there is a 90-day limitation on most visas but there is a possibility I could be granted permission to stay longer).

Under the ACA, it looks like I will not be penalized for not having insurance for < 3 consecutive months. So do I need to maintain coverage in the US for these 2.9 months, eg, when I could have a legal exemption? I have heard that the health care systems in Europe are better than the US and that health care is not a concern for most. I am planning on buying travel insurance and if I would need unexpected emergency surgery there would not be time to fly me to the US anyway.

Have others been in this situation and what things/situations do I need to consider? Thanks.
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Old 06-16-2015, 10:36 PM
 
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My US health insurance covers me when I am overseas. So, I maintain it when I am traveling and don't buy separate travel insurance. So check with your insurance provider just in case you are covered. If not, then do buy travel insurance.

Health care in Europe is generally as good as it is in the US. However, you will be expected to pay for any treatment although the cost will be a lot less than in the USA.
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Old 06-16-2015, 11:15 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,537 posts, read 39,914,033 times
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Interesting dilemma and question... (for us LONG-tern travelers... I was Out of USA for over 8 months last yr)

I paid USA HC, cuz had spouse in USA much of that time. (but my USA HC did NOTHING for me except cost me $20k). My 'national care' (overseas) cost me $13 for a hospital visit.


ACA will nail you if / when you file USA taxes.

Lapse of coverage can be 'fatal' to USA insure-ability (this is an included problem existing within ACA) ACA is really all about shifting MORE USA resident's dollars to USA healthcare companies. (nothing about affordable Care). The coming changes in premiums will exhaust much of your travel budget. I hope you find a 'clause' for 'freedom' in the ACA! (Freedom to insure OUTSIDE the USA), This should be another provision! (and would be VERY affordable)
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Old 06-18-2015, 03:10 PM
 
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Healthcare in many/most European countries is high quality, but it isn't necessarily free for foreign visitors. There are also plenty of places in Europe where you may be better off with an evacuation to the US for care. Before you make any final decisions regarding US health insurance, make sure you know where you are planning to go what your travel insurance is going to cover. A lot of travel insurance plans are really supplemental plans to cover evacuation expenses plus costs that aren't covered by traditional health insurance. My US health insurance will reimburse at the standard out-of-network rate for care received overseas - I would have to pay out of pocket and file a claim, but the care is covered. My employer also provides a travel insurance plan that will cover up for $10K of overseas medical care, including evacuation back to the US.

If I were in your shoes, I would keep at least a minimal US plan. If you do get seriously sick/hurt, you will get immediate care where ever you are, but will almost certainly be evacuated back to the US for long term care. If you don't have US health coverage, then you'll face high costs for care in the US following evacuation but before you get new insurance lined up.

Also keep in mind that when you do get back to the US after this trip, it might be hard to get immediate coverage. If you don't find a job with group coverage right away, you will have to buy on the individual market or through the exchanges. Individual coverage is very expensive. The exchanges are cheaper, but you can only buy through the exchanges during open enrollment, so you may be left without insurance for a few months.
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Old 06-19-2015, 11:18 AM
 
3,196 posts, read 1,812,318 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpheels View Post
Healthcare in many/most European countries is high quality, but it isn't necessarily free for foreign visitors. There are also plenty of places in Europe where you may be better off with an evacuation to the US for care. Before you make any final decisions regarding US health insurance, make sure you know where you are planning to go what your travel insurance is going to cover. A lot of travel insurance plans are really supplemental plans to cover evacuation expenses plus costs that aren't covered by traditional health insurance. My US health insurance will reimburse at the standard out-of-network rate for care received overseas - I would have to pay out of pocket and file a claim, but the care is covered. My employer also provides a travel insurance plan that will cover up for $10K of overseas medical care, including evacuation back to the US.

If I were in your shoes, I would keep at least a minimal US plan. If you do get seriously sick/hurt, you will get immediate care where ever you are, but will almost certainly be evacuated back to the US for long term care. If you don't have US health coverage, then you'll face high costs for care in the US following evacuation but before you get new insurance lined up.

Also keep in mind that when you do get back to the US after this trip, it might be hard to get immediate coverage. If you don't find a job with group coverage right away, you will have to buy on the individual market or through the exchanges. Individual coverage is very expensive. The exchanges are cheaper, but you can only buy through the exchanges during open enrollment, so you may be left without insurance for a few months.
Im not sure where this notion came from, but darn few insurance companies are going to cover the $50,000 to $100,000 that it costs to medivac you from Europe.
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Old 06-19-2015, 11:47 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,663 posts, read 74,221,895 times
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Ideally, your health insurer ought to have a provision for you to suspend your coverage during a period of time when they withhold or refuse coverage. For example, when you go, have your car insurance suspended and the pro-rata premium refunded or credited. Your car will have to be parked off the street and not used while suspended. Car insurers do this all the time, even for short periods of a week or two.

I have no idea if health insurers will do the same, but it is worth asking. After all, it is they who are suspending your coverage under their rules..
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Old 06-19-2015, 01:38 PM
 
3,196 posts, read 1,812,318 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
Ideally, your health insurer ought to have a provision for you to suspend your coverage during a period of time when they withhold or refuse coverage. For example, when you go, have your car insurance suspended and the pro-rata premium refunded or credited. Your car will have to be parked off the street and not used while suspended. Car insurers do this all the time, even for short periods of a week or two.

I have no idea if health insurers will do the same, but it is worth asking. After all, it is they who are suspending your coverage under their rules..
This no longer works in Ohio. If your car is licensed in Ohio the state BMV can send a notice at any time to request proof of insurance on a specific day. If you don't have it, you WILL BE FINED and your drivers license can be suspended.
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Old 06-19-2015, 02:03 PM
 
11,118 posts, read 8,523,617 times
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Why would you drop your US health coverage?

Also, overseas healthcare is not better. Don't get 'free' confused with 'better.'
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Old 06-19-2015, 02:04 PM
 
556 posts, read 760,879 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rugrats2001 View Post
Im not sure where this notion came from, but darn few insurance companies are going to cover the $50,000 to $100,000 that it costs to medivac you from Europe.
I never said standard US health insurance would cover the evacuation - that's what travel insurance is for. What I am saying is that if you get severely injured (think paralysis or amputation) or are diagnosed with a catastrophic illness (e.g. cancer) while overseas, you will most likely need to return to the US to get long term treatment or rehabilitation, and will need standard US health insurance in place to cover those costs.
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Old 06-19-2015, 02:37 PM
 
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
7,292 posts, read 4,145,583 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpheels View Post
I never said standard US health insurance would cover the evacuation - that's what travel insurance is for. What I am saying is that if you get severely injured (think paralysis or amputation) or are diagnosed with a catastrophic illness (e.g. cancer) while overseas, you will most likely need to return to the US to get long term treatment or rehabilitation, and will need standard US health insurance in place to cover those costs.
Exactly. Tue story - about a decade ago, I asked my parents (who both seemed to be in excellent health at the time) if they'd like to accompany on a trip to the UK, and they said yes. Six weeks before the trip, my father unexpectedly collapsed in the kitchen, and was rushed to the hospital where he was found to be severely anemic. Subsequent workup showed he was bleeding from a tumor growing in his duodenum, which had to be removed in a risky operation. He needed care in a rehab facility for a few weeks, too, after he'd recovered enough from the surgery to be discharged from the hospital.

The tumor was a slow-growing one, and must have been there for months if not years. It was sheer luck that he collapsed before we'd left the US, and not while we were in London. If the incident had happened while overseas during the course of a long trip, and he didn't have a US health insurance policy in force... I don't think the results would have been pretty (at least not financially).

You're only in perfect health until you're not.
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