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  1. #1
    Registered User tpike2's Avatar
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    :banana Health Insurance

    Looking for a cheap plan that will cover my while hiking if I get seriously injured. Travel insurance or a basic health plan?

  2. #2
    Registered User Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    Yea - don't get sick or hurt. That's from the heart.
    Dogs are excellent judges of character, this fact goes a long way toward explaining why some people don't like being around them.

    Woo

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    Isn't the guvmint running that gig now? https://www.healthcare.gov/

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    I'm not a fan of obamacare but it seems almost ideal for someone hiking 5-6 months and only having a half year of income. Subsidies would cover most of the cost for someone making minimal income. Just be sure to make enough income to qualify for the subsidies on the exchanges rather than being dumped into Medicaid (in states that have expanded Medicaid).

    Use this calculator to figure your situation based on income, state, and other factors:

    http://kff.org/interactive/subsidy-calculator/
    HST/JMT August 2016
    TMB/Alps Sept 2015
    PCT Mile 0-857 - Apr/May 2015
    Foothills Trail Feb 2015
    Colorado Trail Aug 2014
    AT: Rockfish Gap to Boiling Springs 2014
    John Muir Trail Aug/Sept 2013

  5. #5
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    Health Care on the trail recently got more difficult. Used to be you could get a comprehensive plan that would cover you the entire way, but those plans have been severely reduced as networks have been narrowed to control costs.

    I recently saw an article where 'snowbirds' who used to travel between New England and the South are now finding that they need two separate health care plans, because their old plans are gone and the new ones don't cover their doctors in both places.

  6. #6
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    Zero interest in a political debate here. OP asked a question and my answer provides a possible solution under the current state of affairs in this country, whether I like the system or not. If anyone has a problem with that feel free to pound sand.
    HST/JMT August 2016
    TMB/Alps Sept 2015
    PCT Mile 0-857 - Apr/May 2015
    Foothills Trail Feb 2015
    Colorado Trail Aug 2014
    AT: Rockfish Gap to Boiling Springs 2014
    John Muir Trail Aug/Sept 2013

  7. #7
    Super Moderator Ender's Avatar
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    Folks, a gentle reminder: 100% do not make this a political debate.
    Don't take anything I say seriously... I certainly don't.

  8. #8
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    Look at this provider, http://www.diversalertnetwork.org/travel-insurance/

    From the web site it looks like they will cover hiking as well.

  9. #9
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    You can look for a plan at Healthcare.gov, but you are still free to contact individual companies as well. Start with Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, United Health Care Golden Rule, etc. With one of those two, or any larger company, you may find they offer more providers in more locations.


    "Your comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.
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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by RN-PCT2015 View Post
    I'm not a fan of obamacare but it seems almost ideal for someone hiking 5-6 months and only having a half year of income. Subsidies would cover most of the cost for someone making minimal income. Just be sure to make enough income to qualify for the subsidies on the exchanges rather than being dumped into Medicaid (in states that have expanded Medicaid).

    Use this calculator to figure your situation based on income, state, and other factors:

    http://kff.org/interactive/subsidy-calculator/
    I have not verified this - I heard it on the radio - but supposedly obamacare only looks at income when determining your premiums. Assets are not considered - you could have gazillions in the bank and the government will still pick up the tab - or most of the tab - for your insurance. If true, then RN-PCT has made a valid observation for long distance hikers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by max patch View Post
    I have not verified this - I heard it on the radio - but supposedly obamacare only looks at income when determining your premiums. Assets are not considered - you could have gazillions in the bank and the government will still pick up the tab - or most of the tab - for your insurance. If true, then RN-PCT has made a valid observation for long distance hikers.
    This is correct. There is no asset test, only an income test, although it would be pretty rare for someone who is really rich to avoid generating enough passive income to be disqualified for subsidies. But it could happen in theory.
    HST/JMT August 2016
    TMB/Alps Sept 2015
    PCT Mile 0-857 - Apr/May 2015
    Foothills Trail Feb 2015
    Colorado Trail Aug 2014
    AT: Rockfish Gap to Boiling Springs 2014
    John Muir Trail Aug/Sept 2013

  12. #12

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    Most of the less expensive insurance policies are very high deductible, so they're good if you get into serious trouble, but pretty much useless if you break an ankle or get lyme or giardia.

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    Seems like most hikers would need several thousand dollars on standby just to cover the deductible. Not a realistic solution, especially for young people.

    I guess we'll have to adjust the figures now for people asking the question "how much money do I need to do a thru-hike?"
    "Chainsaw" GA-ME 2011

  14. #14
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    Cost sharing is also available to cover part of the co-pays and deductible if one purchases a "silver" plan. This really goes beyond the scope of what I want to discuss here and gets into political issues so I won't go further other than to encourage the OP to consider all options and purchase coverage that makes the most financial sense, putting aside whether one agrees with the new system or not.
    HST/JMT August 2016
    TMB/Alps Sept 2015
    PCT Mile 0-857 - Apr/May 2015
    Foothills Trail Feb 2015
    Colorado Trail Aug 2014
    AT: Rockfish Gap to Boiling Springs 2014
    John Muir Trail Aug/Sept 2013

  15. #15
    Registered User tpike2's Avatar
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    I will agree with the no political debate here, but I am not getting a subsidized govt plan. If that was the only option I will just roll the dice. I got insurance through work, but I will loss that once I start. Has anybody looked into travel insurance? I don't want to get into a situation where I am hurt, and need to get airlifted somewhere and I am paying for it the rest of my life. I can buy antibiotics I can't buy a new hip without insurance or selling everything I own

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by tpike2 View Post
    I will agree with the no political debate here, but I am not getting a subsidized govt plan. If that was the only option I will just roll the dice. I got insurance through work, but I will loss that once I start. Has anybody looked into travel insurance? I don't want to get into a situation where I am hurt, and need to get airlifted somewhere and I am paying for it the rest of my life. I can buy antibiotics I can't buy a new hip without insurance or selling everything I own
    I'm an HR person so take this for whatever you want, but the Healthcare.gov marketplace plans are not by definition subsidized unless you apply and qualify for assistance. It's just an easy clearinghouse way to shop for coverage. Like I said above, you can contact any insurer yourself and get fairly low cost coverage, see my prior post for a couple suggestions. Numerous times in my life I have purchased my own insurance from those two companies. If you thru hike thru hike without insurance I think you're asking for it.


    "Your comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.
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  17. #17
    Super Moderator Marta's Avatar
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    Your profile doesn't say how old you are. Insurance premiums are directly related to your age. If you're young, you may be able to get one for $150/month. If you're just pre-Medicare, it'll run you a lot more than that.

    To repeat the preceding post (I also do HR work as part of my job)--the subsidy is not automatic. Check out your state's website, instead of healthcare.gov. In Montana, you cannot get a subsidy if you apply through the Montana Coop. (If you want the subsidy you will be directed to apply through healthcare.gov.)

    Your state should also have some people who can help you sort through you options. Their names and contact information should be on the state's website.

    Be careful not to choose a plan that has an extremely restrictive list of health care providers. That won't be very easy to work with while you're hiking.
    If not NOW, then WHEN?

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  18. #18
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    When signing up, one can opt to either have the subsidy applied directly to the premium or claim it when filing taxes the following year. To not accept a subsidy, do not have it applied directly and pay the full premium. Then decline to claim the subsidy on the tax return the following year.

    FWIW, I still have a pre-2010 plan. The cheapest option is often to keep a pre-2010 plan, at least it is for me. All of the new plans are more expensive and I do not qualify for any subsidies.
    HST/JMT August 2016
    TMB/Alps Sept 2015
    PCT Mile 0-857 - Apr/May 2015
    Foothills Trail Feb 2015
    Colorado Trail Aug 2014
    AT: Rockfish Gap to Boiling Springs 2014
    John Muir Trail Aug/Sept 2013

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by slbirdnerd View Post
    If you thru hike thru hike without insurance I think you're asking for it.
    I think if you go thru LIFE without insurance you're asking for it. The fact that you are hiking is irrelevant IMO.

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