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  1. #1

    Default Health insurance for the PCT?

    I'm a brit who now lives in NYC, and I've recently gone freelance, which means I've discovered the joy of paying $400 per month for terrible health insurance.

    I'm planning on hiking the PCT in 2017, and before I take the plunge on insurance, I want to make sure that it will cover any serious accidents next year. Since I'm on the East coast, I don't know if the New York plans will be accepted in the areas around the PCT.

    Can anyone give guidance on this? I'm wondering if there's just some kind of travel insurance supplememt that can be added. I'm researching health plans currently, but the small print is so horrendous that some sane advice from a human would be very helpful.

  2. #2
    Registered User dudeijuststarted's Avatar
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    Insurance policies normally have listed "urgent care" and emergency room copays, which tend to be higher than normal office visits. There used to be a "critical illness" type policy you could carry which would cover disasters and come in at a much lower cost, but our best buddy Obama thought the working class wasn't paying in enough so he got rid of most of that and doubled or tripled everyone's costs to cover essentially free healthcare for those who don't work, thus your $400/mo mandatory insurance quote. My advice: find a cheap policy with a high deductible and tolerable urgent-care & imaging copay, from a decent network (Blue Cross & Cigna seem to be broadly received,) and go hiking. Be aware that urgent cares cost far less than emergency rooms. If you end up diagnosed with some major disease while you're out there or need hardcore medical care, most hospital systems will accommodate payment plans, but you'll still want the insurance to keep the negotiated cost down.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by camerhil View Post
    I'm a brit who now lives in NYC, and I've recently gone freelance, which means I've discovered the joy of paying $400 per month for terrible health insurance.

    I'm planning on hiking the PCT in 2017, and before I take the plunge on insurance, I want to make sure that it will cover any serious accidents next year. Since I'm on the East coast, I don't know if the New York plans will be accepted in the areas around the PCT.

    Can anyone give guidance on this? I'm wondering if there's just some kind of travel insurance supplememt that can be added. I'm researching health plans currently, but the small print is so horrendous that some sane advice from a human would be very helpful.
    I'm sure there are travel insurance options, however, they are probably going to be pricey combined with poor coverage. The insurance game in America is largely a scam, so you don't really get what you pay for. You might think you are covered and end up having to pay anyway.

    Some might suggest you just have some cash set aside, or you could do what many Americans do in the event of needing emergency medical care: DON'T PAY. The number one cause of bankruptcy in America is due to unpaid medical debt. In the unlikely event you need medical attention which would cost greater than a few hundred dollars, it is going to cost a bundle, probably even with insurance. This would the case with an emergency room visit. Those usually run in the thousands of dollars range. Since you are a Brit you likely don't have to worry about unpaid medical bills impacting your credit, but you will want to double check, just to be sure. The state of health care in this country is pretty terrible. Doctors routinely kill people here with impunity. It's just a big old broken system where a few people profit off the collective misery of us all.

  4. #4

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    I saw you live in NYC. This makes insurance a more viable option. If you need medical attention, and your insurer screws you, which they will, it will be a lot easier to sue them living in the USA, than if you resided out of country. Also, if you are living in the states, unpaid medical bills will impact your credit in this country.

  5. #5

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    Also, contrary to what the dudeijuststarted said, paying cash will get you deep discounts on your bill. Google it. For any further information I suggest you consult with a reputable insurance attorney since your situation is unique. The very nature of going hiking for a long distance may impact your coverage. The boards here aren't really the greatest place to get the kind of information you seek.

  6. #6
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    I'm not sure hiring an insurance lawyer is the way to get more efficient coverage.
    In general, all insurance companies negotiate rates in their coverage area and do not pay for coverage out of area, but emergency room care must be covered. Unfortunately, emergency coverage may not start until a very high deductible is met. Clearly you cannot change you residency 3 times for PCT coverage. Few find travel policies worthwhile.

    Independence Blue Cross of Pennsylvania is starting a new option of "Telemedicine". You can video chat with a doctor for non-emergency conditions. This may just be a way to spend $40 to be told to go to the clinic. None-the-less, it is a nice new feature for me. (Just read about it today.)

  7. #7

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    Perhaps the simplest way to find out what your coverage provides on a PCT journey is to actually call the insurer and ask. If the coverage is not where you want it, there are policies you can get that cover travel adventures like this, which may be what you are looking for.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by ARambler View Post

    Independence Blue Cross of Pennsylvania is starting a new option of "Telemedicine". You can video chat with a doctor for non-emergency conditions. This may just be a way to spend $40 to be told to go to the clinic. None-the-less, it is a nice new feature for me. (Just read about it today.)
    Yep.
    We get same thing next year
    Diagnosis for limited prescription drugs like antibiotics, etc over phone is what l see it as, cutting out the unnecessary $185 dr visit charge, replacing it with $50 or so to save money.

    Tell a phone dr symptoms for obvious common basic things, strep, sniffles, ear infections, get your drugs.( Most things are common and basic i think.)
    But if you use it for potentially more serious conditions. it just becomes an added unnecessary expense where they tell you to go to dr office because need tests.

    Im hopeful this type thing simplifies a large segment of healthcare.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 11-06-2016 at 07:24.

  9. #9

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    Thanks all for the advice. I'm currently choosing my options for freelance healthcare (I'm still in the open enrollment period), so it sounds like the best course will be to call each potential provider and ask about my options in the event of a PCT accident.

    I'll also add "don't break anything" to my daily trail schedule.

    Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk

  10. #10

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    I didnt say hire one, I said consult with a qualified one, rather than unqualified folks on a hiker forum. Good luck getting injured and finding you arent covered. If your insurance is anyway affordable care act related say buh bye. The smart folks got out of Germany after Hitler was appointed Chancellor.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sasquatch! View Post
    I'm sure there are travel insurance options, however, they are probably going to be pricey combined with poor coverage. The insurance game in America is largely a scam, so you don't really get what you pay for. You might think you are covered and end up having to pay anyway.

    Some might suggest you just have some cash set aside, or you could do what many Americans do in the event of needing emergency medical care: DON'T PAY. The number one cause of bankruptcy in America is due to unpaid medical debt. In the unlikely event you need medical attention which would cost greater than a few hundred dollars, it is going to cost a bundle, probably even with insurance. This would the case with an emergency room visit. Those usually run in the thousands of dollars range. Since you are a Brit you likely don't have to worry about unpaid medical bills impacting your credit, but you will want to double check, just to be sure. The state of health care in this country is pretty terrible. Doctors routinely kill people here with impunity. It's just a big old broken system where a few people profit off the collective misery of us all.
    As a healthcare worker, this makes me cringe a little bit. Obviously there are some really big issues with the system, but if you come into the ED in really bad shape, we will patch you, stick you, scan you, vent you, whatever it takes to keep you alive, because we are morally, ethically, and legally obligated to do so. Please don't completely forego insurance, planning to skip town. If you can afford to leave your job and travel, you can afford to be at least a little responsible and have some sort of plan (which it sounds like the original poster is intending to do.)
    "Either that kid has a lightbulb up his butt, or his colon has a great idea!"

  12. #12

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    Perhaps also consider rescue insurance. If you're really hurt and truly immobile somebody has to come pluck you out. And that can be VERY expensive depending upon jurisdiction and local rescue ordinances and difficulty of extraction.

    I use a Spot Gen3 and also got the rescue insurance option, which is about $2 a month. Hope I never need it but if I do I don't want to hesitate pushing the button because of the cost.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by camerhil View Post
    I'm a brit who now lives in NYC, and I've recently gone freelance, which means I've discovered the joy of paying $400 per month for terrible health insurance.

    I'm planning on hiking the PCT in 2017, and before I take the plunge on insurance, I want to make sure that it will cover any serious accidents next year. Since I'm on the East coast, I don't know if the New York plans will be accepted in the areas around the PCT.

    Can anyone give guidance on this? I'm wondering if there's just some kind of travel insurance supplememt that can be added. I'm researching health plans currently, but the small print is so horrendous that some sane advice from a human would be very helpful.
    Heard about this through several folks. Have not tried this myself. May be worth checking out.


    https://www.medexassist.com/

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