Poll: Did you have medical insurance/coverage when you did the AT?

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  1. #1
    Registered User Trail Dog's Avatar
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    Default Did you have Medical Insurance/Coverage when you hiked?

    Last night i put this post in the medical hygene and health section but figured maybe not everyone heads over there. since it is in reguards to thru hiking and section hiking in large chunks i thought i might get some good feed back here as well.

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    Did you have Medical Insurance/Coverage when you hiked?
    I am planning to do the AT in two streches, Georgia to New York then Maine to New York. Now i need to skip a semester of college when i do the South to north part and i will have graduated when i do the North South section. I will not have coverage since i wont be enroled in school when i head north and i will be out of school and unemployed when i go North to south.

    So medical insurance will be an issue. I am hoping to get two things out of this post. 1- How many long range hikers had the medical insurance problems and how they solved them. and 2 how many accually hiked without any coverage?

    well i hope this is the place to go.

    thanks
    Dog

  2. #2
    GA-ME 3/5/02 -8/14/02
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    Default No coverage

    My husabnd and I quit jobs where we were insured, and found oursleves getting ready to hike the AT with no health insurance. COBRA was ridiculously expensive, and although we looked into "travelers insurance" there were tons of restrictions and it was also expensive. Didn't need health insurance until we came home; we live in NH and visited home on a zero day, and I ended up dislocating the small toe on my right foot. 5 months on the trail, no problem, one day in civilization and I break my toe! Anyway, it cost $560 dollars to visit the ER. We chalked it up to an "unexpected expense", which we had budegted for in our budget calculations for the trip, and just sucked it up. Just an FYI: I certainly don't advocate using the government to support your thru-hike, but you can take cosolation in the fact that many hospitals do offer "free care" for emergency situations for those unable to pay, you have to fill out a bunch of forms to declare that you are legally below the poverty line.
    "It's a dangerous business, going out your door...if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might be swept off to."-The Hobbit

  3. #3
    Easyhiker
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    I never have had insurance since the age of 18 if that helps. However I have never took public aid either like my some of my friends have ... I don't feel thats right. But then again I don't have many responsibilitys in life and live pay check to pay check and my gambling covers the rest. People are amazed when they hear I have near perfect credit, however how can you ruin credit if you don't use it. So all in all what im trying to say is that insurance or not you will be covered in this country, however if you have money to pay they will get it out of you. Being self employed like I am its foolish to put out 200+ a month for health, this is a great country, and I am not unhappy with it, nor planning on moving to some 3rd world country because people don't agree with me ...... LOL

  4. #4

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    Wingfoot's website has a suggestion for insurance, it even has a link for a company. I haven't checked it out yet( I hate the idea of insurance but I'm, er well, clumsy Their should be a link for Dan Wingfoot Bruce's Trailplace on any of the ATC sites.

  5. #5
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    Redbeard:

    What is "WingFoot's" website?

    would love to see his take on insurance & other trail topics.

    as for me...i have insurance thru my employer...section-hiker that i am...


    see you UP da trail in 2004!
    see ya'll UP the trail!

    "Jaybird"

    GA-ME...
    "on-the-20-year-plan"

    www.trailjournals.com/Jaybird2013

  6. #6

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    just google wingfoot - the selection for his website is obvious

    I decline to express myself wrt wingfoot but if ya'll read between the lines you may very well guess my opinion.

  7. #7

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    I actually bought a policy from the company Wingfoot lists. I don't recall the name, but it was very competitive to most other short-term policies I found online.

  8. #8

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    I bought Wingfoot's suggested insurance as well- Its called Celtic and their short term insurance is pretty cheap and worked fine.

  9. #9
    Registered User sgtjinx's Avatar
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    Default Insurance

    With the nickname of Jinx. I need all the INSURANCE, I can carrry.

  10. #10
    Registered User The General's Avatar
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    When I came over from England last year to Thru Hike the AT, I insured myself with The British Mountain Council which gave me very comprehensive Insurance for a year at approx $250.00 US. Needless to say I never needed to use it but Hey **** happens when your least prepared and I did not want to be in some local hospital sluice room doing a work for stay to pay off medical expences. Yes it costs money but makes sence to have it.

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    Thank goodness I did! I had to have an EKG done in Erwin when we thought I might be having a heart attack. Big bucks! I did have to pay the doctor for the exam before I went to the hospital for the EKG.

    Then, I fell and had to have stitches in Virginia. More bucks! Fortunately, insurance paid most everything.

  12. #12
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    I didn't realize it for years till one day I needed it- I'm covered by the VA, yea!

  13. #13
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    Yes I did and I'm glad I did because I ended up with a $3000 hospital bill after getting bitten by a tick. That said, I am from Canada and it is considerably cheaper to get travel insurance than for all you Americans.
    <A HREF="http://www.jackielbolen.blogspot.com/"TARGET="Jackie's BLOG">http://www.jackielbolen.blogspot.com/</A>

  14. #14
    GA - Central PA 1977
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    [QUOTE=oldkathy]>>>Thank goodness I did! I had to have an EKG done in Erwin when we thought I might be having a heart attack....<<<

    This isn`t trail related but as a follow up to this specific post..They offer health insurance where I work and for the first couple of years I was there I passed on it..Finally the time to renew came up and I thought "What the hell I`ll get on it as you never know." 3 weeks after I was on the medical policy I suffered Sudden Cardiac Death ..A very severe heart attack resulting in cardiac arrest..I was clinically dead for a few minutes but luckily the paramedics were able to shock me back..I think my medical bills ended up being near $35,000..I bet that insurance company hated me..LOL

    So like another poster said "**** Happens!"

  15. #15
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    Default You need insurance all the time....

    Did you have Medical Insurance/Coverage when you hiked?
    ================================================== ===========

    I don't understand any distinction between having insurance on a hike and having it the rest of the time.

    Do you live in a large metro area and drive to work on a freeway? If so, your chances of having an accident while commuting are far greater than having one on the trail.

    If you live in a house with stairs, you could fall and break your neck any time. People do it all the time.

    I say you need insurance all the time.

  16. #16

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    The difference is that when you are working, if you work for a large company you can get group rates, which are often subsidized by the company. When I am hiking, I do not have access to group rates, so have to pay top dollar for my insurance - at a time when I have no income coming in.

    Not having insurance is a gamble - but one that I have, in the past, been willing to take. When I was young, I went 11 years without seeing a doctor - I had no insurance and was making minimum wage, and I was also quite healthy since I was walking and bicycling everywhere. When I started getting jobs that provided insurance, I did my annual exams, but avoided doctors the rest of the time. My lifestyle has kept me healthy. When hiking, I was not willing to spend the money for insurance. On my first hikes, I barely had the money to cover the hike - much less extras I probably wouldn't use. I had one accident on my fourth hike that required an ER visit and followup - the total bill was about what 2 months of insurance would have cost me. I was ahead of the game. But it is a risk.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nean
    I didn't realize it for years till one day I needed it- I'm covered by the VA, yea!
    Nean, do you know that you need to join the program (VA) before you are covered?
    I checked into it and they have requirements.
    One of them is that you MUST take a complete physical every year. (or you are kicked out of the program) and you can't make more than 25 grand a year i think.
    There was talk that bush was going to cut back on the funding, but at this time, it is still available i believe.
    But i think you need to check with your local VA as mine in PA is full and not taking anymore applicants.

  18. #18
    Freak Buckingham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zephyr1034
    Did you have Medical Insurance/Coverage when you hiked?
    ================================================== ===========

    I don't understand any distinction between having insurance on a hike and having it the rest of the time.

    Do you live in a large metro area and drive to work on a freeway? If so, your chances of having an accident while commuting are far greater than having one on the trail.

    If you live in a house with stairs, you could fall and break your neck any time. People do it all the time.

    I say you need insurance all the time.
    Unfortunetly, there are alot of of us poor working schmoes, who work our collective asses off, and still can't afford insurance. It's easy to be glib, my friend, when you have the good fortune to not struggle every day just to pay the rent, keep the lights on, and put food on your families table.

    That being said, please don't become angry and attack me.
    I can't afford it.

  19. #19
    Michael + Laura Ryan justusryans's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buckingham
    Unfortunetly, there are alot of of us poor working schmoes, who work our collective asses off, and still can't afford insurance. It's easy to be glib, my friend, when you have the good fortune to not struggle every day just to pay the rent, keep the lights on, and put food on your families table.

    That being said, please don't become angry and attack me.
    I can't afford it.
    Exactly, with my wife's and I preexisting conditions, we cant afford insurance. I make too much for medicare. and our medication costs about $1600. a month. Even with Insureance, our co-pay is so high we just can't afford it. and I have a decent job.
    "We wanderers, ever seeking the lonelier way, begin no day where we have ended another day; and no sunrise finds us where sunset left us."

    Kahlil Gibran

  20. #20
    Super Moderator Ender's Avatar
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    Didn't have coverage on either my AT or PCT hike. On the AT I got injured but was able to suffer through it and make it. On the PCT however, I got injured and wasn't able to continue. Wish I'd had coverage then so I could have gone to the doc and had everything checked out.

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