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Trail Dog
12-10-2002, 20:27
Did you have Medical Insurance/Coverage when you took a thru hike or long distance hike on the AT?

I put this up in the medical section and the thru hiking section why not the poll section? This is seeming to be my biggest problem since my family thinks i am nuts to go it without insurance. I wont be in school so i wont be covered under the parents and wont be at work so i wont have theirs.

any sugestions?

Dog

slabfoot
12-11-2002, 11:44
as retired serviceman my coverage should always be there, but in 2000 my son started a southbound after graduating college in maine. because he was no longer a student his coverage was to be terminated. i was able to continue his coverage with cobra for up to six months for about $125 per month. by the time he left the trail here in pa with many stress fractures of the feet and lower leg i got the cost of the premiums back in full plus. btw his starting pack weight was about 50 lbs. and he's about a 145 pounder. ive got him down to about 30 pounds now. i thinkhe's learned not to kill himself on the trail. his trail name was gumby and he was hiking with homeless.

Kozmic Zian
02-11-2004, 13:32
Yea, well, I did't have it in '96's Thu' , but I wonder ..... what if something serious happened out there. Broken Leg, arm. I did hurt myself in '00, up in the Smokys in an Ice Storm. Slipped in some ice goin into Tri-Corner Knob and sat on my foot. Hyper-extended both interior and exterior crucia ligaments. Made to Damascus, but had to get off. Did'nt seek Med care, too much money, no ins...but wish I'd had it. I think the next time I go distance....I'lll get some Med Coverage. Temporary if I can. [email protected]

hustler
09-12-2004, 00:24
Health insurance is over-rated. I felt more safe on the trail than at home not having any coverage. All your doing is hiking, the worst thing that can happen to you is you get lyme disease and that is a $15 prescription. I would say most of the thru-hikers I met didn't have any coverage.

Blue Jay
09-12-2004, 08:31
Medical coverage is very quickly becoming something only the very rich can afford. You can now see it on the trail, you have the dirt bags and the
B&B to B&B hikers. I'm not putting any one down, I'd love to be a B&B hiker and would jump at the chance.

illininagel
09-12-2004, 09:30
Health insurance is over-rated. I felt more safe on the trail than at home not having any coverage. All your doing is hiking, the worst thing that can happen to you is you get lyme disease and that is a $15 prescription.

Why would Lyme disease be the worst thing that can happen to you? The AT doesn't exempt its hikers from the ailments of the world. Illnesses like cancer and heart disease can impact anyone. Lesser problems like appendicitis or broken bones can still be very costly to treat.

Last week, I went in for a 15 minute outpatient test. I think the bill of $1,500 ($100 per minute) hurt me more than the medical symptoms that I went in for.

There is no question that you are more likely to be injured during a long hike than if you were at home. If you can afford it, not having health insurance is simply irresponsible. If you should become ill, you pass your costs along to the taxpayers rather than cover it yourself.

Nightwalker
09-12-2004, 09:53
Medical coverage is very quickly becoming something only the very rich can afford.
I don't know where you get that one. I was covered by my wife's insurance while out there, and it doesn't cost her an arm and a leg. I also have Medicare, which is very affordable, if you qualify.

Expensive insurance is nothing new, it's just being used as an issue to stir the pot in this election, which has been full of smoke and mirrors from both sides.

art to linda
09-12-2004, 10:06
franklooper

You're one of the lucky ones then..... I'm self imployed and my medical ins. is not cheap, plus the list of things/ meds. not covered gets longer every day. You'll find once you get older and retire or become self employed and are no longer covered by insurance through an employer that medical insurance is a whole new ball game.

eyahiker
09-12-2004, 10:11
You got that right art-to-linda. Well said.;)

HikeLite
09-12-2004, 10:25
Hustler, I know someone who had an open fracture of his lower leg two months into his thru-hike. Going without appropriate health insurance is playing Russian Roulette.

Nightwalker
09-12-2004, 19:12
You'll find once you get older and retire or become self employed and are no longer covered by insurance through an employer that medical insurance is a whole new ball game.
I am retired, if you call disabled by stroke brain-damage retired. Medicare is half-decent. My wife--not retired--is the working one. She gets kinda low pay, but decent benefits.

There's always a tradeoff. When I was a tool-and-die maker, some shops had good insurance, some had bad, and some had none. With approximately 690,000 doctors in the U.S. and over 1,000,000 lawyers, it's easy to see why insurance costs so much, and doctors charge so much.

I didn't get those numbers from a politician, I asked ask.com. They're probably off a little, but you get the general idea.

oruoja
09-12-2004, 20:19
Health Insurance is luck of the draw. A temporary policy with a high deductable is advisable for a long hike just in case one should be seriously injured or become ill. Regular ongoing coverage is another story. I used to have a decent policy through work, but that is gone now. I was eligible for COBRA and the quote from Aetna for myself and family almost gave me a heart attack when they had the nerve to ask $2,100 per month. I did not have any pre-existing illness and was fit enough to rejoin the National Guard which carries no coverage unless I get activated. Something is going to have to give before this health coverage issue becomes a national crisis. I used to be naive enough to not worry about being uninsured and now after over twenty years of good coverage I know the anxiety that millions of others share. Personally I think it is disgraceful when one seeks medical care as a self pay patient and the rates charged are much more than those rates given to those that are insured

jackiebolen
09-12-2004, 22:11
Let me tell you a little story about why you should have health insurance. Somewhere in NY/NJ I got bit by a tick. A couple weeks later, in MA I had a fever of 104, splitting headache, was almost too weak too walk and severe joint pain. So into the hospital I go. It looked like lyme disease at first but the headache and high fever were puzzling. The fever was so high that immediate action was required. A day in the ER and $3000 later I came out with a diagnosis of Ehrliciosis and a kidney infection. Ehrliciosis is potentially fatal and the internet is filled with more than a few stories of people who've died from it because they weren't diagnosed early enough. If I didn't have health insurance who knows what I would have done.

That said, I'm fortunate to be from Canada, where medical insurance, even for travel insurance is reasonably priced.

Heart attack, broken ankle, cancer, anything can happen.

smokymtnsteve
09-13-2004, 09:59
Health Insurance is luck of the draw. A temporary policy with a high deductable is advisable for a long hike just in case one should be seriously injured or become ill. Regular ongoing coverage is another story. I used to have a decent policy through work, but that is gone now. I was eligible for COBRA and the quote from Aetna for myself and family almost gave me a heart attack when they had the nerve to ask $2,100 per month. I did not have any pre-existing illness and was fit enough to rejoin the National Guard which carries no coverage unless I get activated. Something is going to have to give before this health coverage issue becomes a national crisis. I used to be naive enough to not worry about being uninsured and now after over twenty years of good coverage I know the anxiety that millions of others share. Personally I think it is disgraceful when one seeks medical care as a self pay patient and the rates charged are much more than those rates given to those that are insured


Agreed, Health insurance for the working class here in the USA is already in crisis, most of the other industrialized nations of the world already have universal coverage for all thier citizens. Careful you my become a left-winger, but you'll be in good company :sun

Peaks
09-13-2004, 10:49
If $1200 per month is all you pay, then don't bitch. I'm paying more than that.

When you consider premiums like that, the high cost of drugs, the cost to the Federal budget for the Medicare program, cost of malpractice insurance and such, then it's a sure sign the the health care system in this country is seriously flawed and needs a major overhaul, not just a band-aid.

hustler
09-13-2004, 22:51
$1200 for health insurance is totally not worth it. You're getting raped by the man! I felt perfectly safe not having any coverage on the trail. You have to know your body and not push it too hard. If I had to be covered on the trail it would have at least doubled the cost of my hike (@ 200 per month). Statistically the most dangerous part of hiking the trail is traveling to and from the trail head. I would go with the risk of not having it. I'm a hustler and I'm not going to get hustled by the man.

illininagel
09-13-2004, 23:18
I felt perfectly safe not having any coverage on the trail. You have to know your body and not push it too hard.

Again, I'm not sure where you are getting your feeling of safety from. Only God can protect us from the many diseases and illnesses of this World. Things like appendicitis have absolutely nothing to do with pushing your body too hard. Certainly, thru-hiking only increases the chances of an injury.

smokymtnsteve
09-14-2004, 10:01
Again, I'm not sure where you are getting your feeling of safety from. Only God can protect us from the many diseases and illnesses of this World. Things like appendicitis have absolutely nothing to do with pushing your body too hard. Certainly, thru-hiking only increases the chances of an injury.

good handwashing and good nutrition are very important, many people who believe in a god get sick or have appendicitis or heart attacks. btw this is not the WB and religion thread.

eyahiker
09-14-2004, 10:05
good handwashing and good nutrition are very important, many people who believe in a god get sick or have appendicitis or heart attacks. btw this is not the WB and religion thread.
She referred to GOD, not 'a god'. Let's stick to the subject OK, or go to the other threads, we've been warned already;)

As for the good handwashing and good nutrition - what do these have to do with Medical Insurance while you hike? Since when do insurance companies ask about these two things?

If you are concerned about large medical bills due to a possible accident, then get insurance. If you want to wing it - don't.

smokymtnsteve
09-14-2004, 10:08
What does god have to do with medical insurance?

good handwashing and good nutrition can go a long way in helping you not become ill.

eyahiker
09-14-2004, 10:21
What does god have to do with medical insurance?
Some folks believe in God and don't find a need for Medical Insurance. Whether this is correct or not is not the point. The point I was making is that you answered her post incorrectly, she did not refer to 'a god'. It's usually better to not change others words around from their own posts.



good handwashing and good nutrition can go a long way in helping you not become ill.
You are right!:clap But this does not have anything to do with the topic of whether one should or should not purchase Medical Insurance for a hike.
Do you suggest that you forego insurance and instead wash your hands? Please clarify, you may be onto something..............

swamp dawg
12-30-2004, 21:57
I would suggest health insurance if at all possible while on the trail. I picked up a good case of lyme disease in New Hampshire. The guy I hike with broke two ribs in Vermont so things can happen at any time given different trail conditions. One good fall could clean out your wallet for years to come, it ain't right but that the way of modern medicine in our country.
Life is still better on the trail........ Swamp Dawg

Toolshed
12-31-2004, 11:12
As Oruoja Mentioned, shopping around is your best bet. Many have become used to having policies that offer every possible benefit with very little or no copays and low or no deductibles. Of course, this is great if your employee covers it and you have the need for a lot of lifestyle drugs or have a chronic disease state.

Otherwise your best bet is to pick up a no frills basic indemnity policy with a $200 or so deductible and 20% coinsurance. This is true catastrophic coverage and it is what most americans had up until the early 80's (earlier for Kaiser in Cali). It can still be had for under $500/ month with some national carriers.

When I hear folks complain about how horrible employer born health care is in the US, what I think I am really hearing is how we enjoy the benefits of the incredible advances in health care today and until recently, has cost us very little. I'm hearing this from folks who expect to be able to get the best care possible along and the newest & latest drugs, therapies and diagnostic services and who still expect someone else to completely pick up the tab. Keeping in mind that everyone has catasptrophic coverage as they cannot be turned away from a hospital.

Understand that the rational expectation of the consumer is that if someone else is paying for it, they will expect something better - This is entitlement mindset. and it is not just the seniors on medicare or those on medicaid that have this, we all have it to a degree if we have someone else picking up the tabe on our health care.

(example - you have a favorite retaurant, however, due to the cost, you always order a cheaper item on the menu. One day the owner says, you have been a loyal customer and you get the next 2 visits free. You now have entitlement mindset and will likely order something very expensive on those visits)

I am sure of 2 things: Put a national health care plan in place with full coverage and it will bankrupt our nation.
Put a national health care plan in place for catastrophic coverage only and we will lose our cutting edge as the money fowing in dries up and folks stop paying for all but the most major needs.

Somewhere in the middle is a happy medium. Maybe the 109th will find it.

Bloodroot
12-31-2004, 13:07
I know this doesn't apply to most but I thought I would throw this out there anyways, just in case someone is married to a someone over seas. The Army is offering a great plan for us Iraq veterans during O.I.F II. Now I am assuming this is going to carry on to the rest of the deploying units for the remainder of this occupation.

Basically the deal is, for every 3 months served is one year free medical insurance. Now this only applies for tours that exceed 180 days. So if a soldier serves a one year tour he/she is eligable for 4 years free coverage. If the soldier chooses to add his/her dependants it's a like 28% copay.

I admit I was real concerned about coverage when I start in April. Getting this makes everything golden.

Toolshed
12-31-2004, 23:10
Basically the deal is, for every 3 months served is one year free medical insurance.

Hmmmm. Just wait until the VA/DOD run out of money and see how they apply limits to the care.

Jigger Johnson
01-01-2005, 02:09
It's probably a good idea to have health insurance if it's available to you just in case. You never know what could happen out there on a trail. That's why they are called accidents.:)

napster
02-06-2005, 00:36
Well for sure this ones a might interesting.I donot have medical coverage. My wife works for the state and its 600+ a month to add me on. I aint in no ways gonna pay 7200.00 a year.I have had 4 back ops so I got a somewhat understanding how A-Z adds up in times of hardship even up to present.. I'm real comphey on the trail without it.Boneset ,yarrow ,willow bark, wild mt mint all them herbs got good reason for being here but persay ya break a bone .compond fracture for ie:. It will be ya fellow hiking buds or the runners maybe a weekend warrior that give ya first hand and get things a rolling to save ye tale.. Now put a price on that! Ya can't cause thats priceless in time of need. No I dont hike with coverage.

Downunda
02-07-2005, 00:00
As I was coming from overseas to hike the AT I was terrifed of having to pay USA's expensive medical/hospital fees for some unforseen major health problem I might get hit with.
So I took out travel insurance which I considered to be quite cheap for 6 months cover. I recommend anyone travelling to the AT who can avail themselves of travel insurance take a look at this option as it can be quite inexpensive (at least it is if you are coming from overseas).

aaronthebugbuffet
02-07-2005, 01:31
who wouldn't want health insurance? the bottom line is most people can't afford it.

saimyoji
02-07-2005, 01:46
AMEN, GOD pity the self employed small businessmen.:bse

mdjeeper
02-07-2005, 02:13
well so far, all my "long" hikes were done back in my navy days, so had pretty good coverage if'n i got hurt.. since I got out of the navy, haven't been out for more than two weeks at a time, when i do my thru though I will lose my coverage from work since I have to take a LOA, but will probably look into some fortis short-term just in case

peter_pan
02-07-2005, 07:22
The issue is not the trail....it is health and the fact that things pop up at any time....plus, if sereous thing happen while un-insured you may become uninsurable forever, which can become devistating...medical bills are a major cause of personal bankruptcies.

While doing a section last year, I had a unination issue, got off to have it checked and found prostate cancer...Had it removed..now cancer free...all system go...have returned to biking and hiking. :) My retired military Tricare covered every penny.

Spirit Walker
02-07-2005, 11:18
If you are a student or traveling overseas, it is fairly inexpensive to get travel insurance. If you are retired you can continue with your Medicare. If you are in the middle, it gets very expensive to have your own insurance. Especially since the more affordable policies have a high deductible. I have been without insurance more often than I have had it -- it is a bit scary. I once went 11 years without seeing a doctor because I had no insurance. But I was young and healthy, so it didn't matter in the end. On my four long hikes I only once needed to see a doctor due to an accident - it cost about $600 in ER fees - but I am aware that I have been very lucky. I know thruhikers who got into a car accident while hitching to a hostel and others who had serious illness and accident issues. For our next hike I'll check out Fortis and some of the other temporary insurance companies - but chances are I'll end up taking my chances again.

gravityman
02-07-2005, 16:10
Get an online quote from fortis for short term. It is quite reasonable, and will cover your butt if you get serious hurt (deductibles around 1k). For two of us (i'm 31, my wife is 28) it cost us under $700 for both of us for 6 months. Totally worth it if you ask me. My cobra wanted that every month!

Gravity

zephyr1034
02-07-2005, 22:26
There is no question that you are more likely to be injured during a long hike than if you were at home.
================================================== ===========

Only if you were to stay inside your house, never turn the gas on, never use electrical appliances, kitchen knives, etc. And once you start talking about driving, your chances of having an accident with the car are much greater than anything happening to you on the trail.

I used to live in Washington DC and hike in Shenandoah National Park, anywhere from 60 to 120 miles away. The riskiest part of any trip was driving I-66 and the Capital Beltway to get to the trailhead.

Happy
02-08-2005, 03:24
Being in the insurance business, I highly recommend that you take out the temporary 6-12 month coverage from Fortis or Golden Rule with a high deductible!!

Spirit Walker
02-08-2005, 12:02
Interesting - I went to the Fortis/Assurance website and put in my information for a short term policy and they said, "No policies found." I wonder if Maryland doesn't allow short term policies.

gravityman
02-08-2005, 15:34
Interesting - I went to the Fortis/Assurance website and put in my information for a short term policy and they said, "No policies found." I wonder if Maryland doesn't allow short term policies.

Try golden rule or an insurance broker... There are a number of states that don't allow short term as you said... In colorado, only fortis offers short term medical, and only for 6 months, with a chance to renew for 6 months if you don't make a claim.

Gravity

ACH05
02-08-2005, 16:21
Interesting - I went to the Fortis/Assurance website and put in my information for a short term policy and they said, "No policies found." I wonder if Maryland doesn't allow short term policies. Spirit Walker,

I ran a search for "short term medical insurance" and found several good resources. Among them is:

http://www.consumerbenefits.net/temp.htm

This site lists a number of insurance plans. It appears that short term insurance is available for Maryland. However, I did find the following note:

Temporary Health Insurance is NOT available by any insurance company in the following states: MA, NJ, NY or VT

Good Health!

GhostHand
02-19-2005, 11:22
i have had friends thru-hike both with and without insurance, for the most part it didn't seem to make a big difference to them,
i chose to go without it, ended up with a nasty calf injury (never officiallly checked out, but it swelled up to a massive ball and i had trouble walking, let alone hiking for 3 or 4 weeks) when i begin my hike this summer i will have insurance, however i also now have a job which may limit my time on the trail, i guess there are ups and downs to everything.

Icicle
02-19-2005, 16:07
We bought a Backpacker's policy from a travel insurance company...it cost about $175 for 217 days of travel...it's piece of mind really. I am from the States and I know that even a minor accident or illness can set you back loads of money.

It's a shame these types of policies are not available for people in the States.

fiddlehead
05-24-2005, 00:02
Worrying about the future is not something i do well! I believe that a healthy body, attitude and mind as well as a light pack are enough of a substitue (for me) for medical insurance.

In 7 thru-hikes, the only major problem i got from hiking was a brown recluse spider bite in '95. This can be a very very serious problem if not treated. I was in VT at the time and went to Rutland Hospital where i was treated (powerful antibiotic shot which solved the problem after 5 days rest) After telling the doctor where i got the bite (thru-hiking the AT) he waived his bill. I had to pay the hospital $150. I was lucky that he was cool. Perhaps his bill would've been $300-500 more.
I believe that 40 minutes a day of a cardiovascular pumping workout (when i am not hiking) keeps me healthy. I rarely get sick, walk through most all of my aches and pains, keep a positive attitude, don't overdo the amount of beer i carry out of town, and always sleep good. (almost always)
Now, if i would've gotten medical insurance for those 7 seasons, i figure it would've cost me aprox. $9,000. And i figure that 9 grand paid for at least 2 of the thu-hikes and perhaps 3. Also, i used to pay insurance to Blue Cross/Blue sheild and stopped when they refused to pay for a visit to the hospital emergency room for an infected finger because they said i waited too long. (this was after i paid them aprox $15,000 over a 7 year period) I swore off medical insurance at that time and haven't had it for 19 years now with no regrets. These guys profit from your worries! (and sometimes don't pay anyway)
To me, a strong immune system and a positive attitude will cure most problems.

"The only thing to fear is fear itself"
"If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much space!"
"Pain is just weakness leaving the body"

blaire576
04-11-2006, 03:59
check http://www.insurancepaylite.com might help with your concerns i pay $120 per month;)