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Health Insurance for travel outside the US

AZperegrino

Getting ready for the next Camino...
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2019
CP 2022
I filed a claim with my regular health insurance, which paid most of it, then submitted a claim for the balance with my travel insurance who paid the rest. It's not too late to buy travel insurance. I got a good plan with AXA through Squaremouth.com.
I'm on Medicare, which doesn't cover outside the US, so I'm looking for separate coverage during our upcoming Camino. Do you have any experience submitting a claim with Axa?

I used Squaremouth to look for insurers, and the Axa policy indeed looks good. However, the reviews of both Axa (and Berkshire) are downright terrible. People spend months waiting for a response, often getting none.
 
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Pathfinder075

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (Villada to SdC) (2016)
Primitivo (Ribadesella to SdC) (2017)
Insurance costs so little in the grand scheme of things, but if you don't have it and need it, it is never good. If you are in the UK, the GHIC is worth getting if you are going into Europe, as well, as we have reciprocal health arrangements with most countries in the EU. It's free from the NHS site (don't use a scam company to apply).

I ended up in one of the hospitals in Santiago on my second year of walking with an allergic reaction and it was an interesting experience. Between the explaining to people your symptoms and what was going wrong and the doctors taking forever to work out it wasn't poisoning but anaphylaxis, yeah not to be repeated. They were very good, but the place was absolute bedlam. I think it was a public hospital, it was pretty big, but beyond that I couldn't tell you actually where I went.

They asked for insurance when i went in, but actually wanted my EHIC card in the end. No one spoke any English except my doctor who had graduated in Nottingham or Derby (at least i think it was that). Still I lived to tell the tale. :)

@Owensr23 , good luck and hopefully they can get you fixed up.
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
I'm on Medicare, which doesn't cover outside the US, so I'm looking for separate coverage during our upcoming Camino. Do you have any experience submitting a claim with Axa?

I used Squaremouth to look for insurers, and the Axa policy indeed looks good. However, the reviews of both Axa (and Berkshire) are downright terrible. People spend months waiting for a response, often getting none.
I'll be filing a claim on the AXA insurance soon. I'll try to remember to update on this thread.
I filed a claim in 2019 with my Travelex insurance which (at least at the time) is part of Berkshire Hathaway, and they were very easy to work with and reimbursed me promptly.
Gosh, it sounds like I'm accident prone!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
I'm on Medicare, which doesn't cover outside the US, so I'm looking for separate coverage during our upcoming Camino.
I not able to help you with your question but I do want to add a quick mention for other US readers of this thread that the VA doesn't help you outside the US either.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances/Portuguese/Ingles/Sanabre/Frances/Fineste
I not able to help you with your question but I do want to add a quick mention for other US readers of this thread that the VA doesn't help you outside the US either.
I wish I didn't have a 100% Combat related disability but I do. Here is a Veterans statement . "As a Veteran living or traveling abroad, you can receive medical care for VA service-connected disabilities through our VA Foreign Medical Program. Under this program, we assume payment responsibility for the necessary treatment of service-connected disabilities."
 
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trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
I wish I didn't have a 100% Combat related disability but I do. Here is a Veterans statement . "As a Veteran living or traveling abroad, you can receive medical care for VA service-connected disabilities through our VA Foreign Medical Program. Under this program, we assume payment responsibility for the necessary treatment of service-connected disabilities."
But will they pay for treatment for illness or injury unrelated to service-connected disabilities in a foreign country?
 

tjb1013

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (2017)
Portugués (2019)
Here's what Medicare says on its site (bold emphasis mine):

Medicare may pay for inpatient hospital, doctor, and ambulance services you get in a foreign country in these rare cases:

  • You're in the U.S. when a medical emergency occurs, and the foreign hospital is closer than the nearest U.S. hospital that can treat your medical condition.
  • You're traveling through Canada without unreasonable delay by the most direct route between Alaska and another U.S state when a medical emergency occurs, and the Canadian hospital is closer than the nearest U.S. hospital that can treat the emergency.
  • You live in the U.S. and the foreign hospital is closer to your home than the nearest U.S. hospital that can treat your medical condition, regardless of whether an emergency exists.
Many people on Medicare buy supplemental policies known as Medigap policies. Here's what Medicare says about them (again, bold emphasis mine):

Medigap coverage outside the U.S.​

If you have Medigap Plan C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, M or N, your plan:

  • Covers foreign travel emergency care if it begins during the first 60 days of your trip, and if Medicare doesn't otherwise cover the care.
  • Pays 80% of the billed charges for certain
    medically necessary emergency care outside the U.S. after you meet a $250
    deductible for the year.
Foreign travel emergency coverage with Medigap policies has a lifetime limit of $50,000.
My supplemental plan has a $25,000 annual limit for emergency care outside the US, and a $25,000 limit for "Urgently Needed Services" outside the US.

I had an illness a dozen years ago that required life support for two months, and the bill for that was about $900,000. My read of this is that Medicare and my supplemental insurance would cover only $25,000 of a similar incident outside of the US.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
I wish I didn't have a 100% Combat related disability but I do. Here is a Veterans statement . "As a Veteran living or traveling abroad, you can receive medical care for VA service-connected disabilities through our VA Foreign Medical Program. Under this program, we assume payment responsibility for the necessary treatment of service-connected disabilities."
I stand corrected. Veterans will have to enroll themselves first in the Foreign Medical Program though and I'm concerned about what may happen though in the case the care provided overseas is not service related.

At any rate it appears that this is the place to go for more information.
 

HikingGeo

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2017-Sarria to Santiago and Lires to Finisterre
I'm on Medicare, which doesn't cover outside the US, so I'm looking for separate coverage during our upcoming Camino. Do you have any experience submitting a claim with Axa?

I used Squaremouth to look for insurers, and the Axa policy indeed looks good. However, the reviews of both Axa (and Berkshire) are downright terrible. People spend months waiting for a response, often getting none.
We used IMG: ITravelInsured in 2019 and were very happy with the results. They paid my wife's ten day hospital stay in Switzerland, including the ambulance transport, in full. They also paid for our airline change fees, extra lodging for me and extra car rental. The claim was handled in a timely manner with few hassles. I made sure that I left Switzerland with full documentation (receipts, and a full hospital discharge summary). Had I not been diligent about obtaining documentation in advance, it likely would have been a nightmare trying to gather it after our return home. Be sure to obtain receipts for anything for which you plan to file for reimbursement. That is a key to streamlining the claims process. Also, if possible, contact the insurer as soon as you incur the medical treatment and ask them what they anticipate needing from you when you file.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
10/22 Aragones/Frances
I live in Mexico and I am an American Citizen. I have Medicare but I use Metlife insurance here in Mexico. When I go to Spain my insurance does not coverage it. I get Mapfre insurance, which is a Spanish when I walk the Camino. I get the best insurance that they have. I pay about $250 US for 2 months. I have had a few issues the last 2 caminos and had to use it. Last camino I had a misdiagnosed intestinal problem before I left. I went to 3 hospitals before a young doctor made me stay in the Merida hospital for 9 hours while he ran many tests and finally diagnosed my issue perfectly. Within a few days I was fine. The camino before had bronchial spasms and had to go to two public clinics. I only had to show a copy of my policy. When I was finished with each treatment I was able to leave without paying a penny. Everything was paid for by Mapfre. I had to get some medications and I paid for them in the farmacia. I got the receipt and when I returned home I submitted the receipts and in about 6 weeks I received a credit from Mapfre on my credit card. It is excellent coverage.
 
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Optimistic Traveler

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2018
We used IMG: ITravelInsured in 2019 and were very happy with the results. They paid my wife's ten day hospital stay in Switzerland, including the ambulance transport, in full. They also paid for our airline change fees, extra lodging for me and extra car rental. The claim was handled in a timely manner with few hassles. I made sure that I left Switzerland with full documentation (receipts, and a full hospital discharge summary). Had I not been diligent about obtaining documentation in advance, it likely would have been a nightmare trying to gather it after our return home. Be sure to obtain receipts for anything for which you plan to file for reimbursement. That is a key to streamlining the claims process. Also, if possible, contact the insurer as soon as you incur the medical treatment and ask them what they anticipate needing from you when you file.
Good to hear! We will be traveling to Switzerland in August and purchased travel insurance with - IMG: iTravelInsured. Good to know they will pay in case the worst happens.

P.S. I always purchase travel medical insurance whenever I leave home (U.S.)
 

donalomahony

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
"Camino from 2013 to 2019" paused for now...
Check everything carefully, especially the lenght of time for any one trip abroad.

Allow 35 days for CF, some policies allow 30 days for one trip, call insurance company and explain you need extra days, usually a small fee, for peace of mind.

On a separate note, on my last camino a friend needed medical repatriation from Bilbao to Dublin. His policy thankfully covered it. Double check what the company is offering in terms of repatriation and the cover for a partner if walking with someone who takes ill and needs repatriation.
 

dbier

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Last 114km Camino Frances, Jul 21
2023 - Camino P
I stand corrected. Veterans will have to enroll themselves first in the Foreign Medical Program though and I'm concerned about what may happen though in the case the care provided overseas is not service related.

At any rate it appears that this is the place to go for more information.
Two points...the VA does not say they will pay first, but that the doctor or hospital must file a claim...in English for faster processing. And the VA program won't cover something not related to the disability. Fall and break a leg? Most likely the VA will rule that that's on you.

Strongly suggest travel/exercise related insurance as a supplement
 
Time of past OR future Camino
PlanFuture(2023)
Insurance costs so little in the grand scheme of things, but if you don't have it and need it, it is never good. If you are in the UK, the GHIC is worth getting if you are going into Europe, as well, as we have reciprocal health arrangements with most countries in the EU. It's free from the NHS site (don't use a scam company to apply).

I ended up in one of the hospitals in Santiago on my second year of walking with an allergic reaction and it was an interesting experience. Between the explaining to people your symptoms and what was going wrong and the doctors taking forever to work out it wasn't poisoning but anaphylaxis, yeah not to be repeated. They were very good, but the place was absolute bedlam. I think it was a public hospital, it was pretty big, but beyond that I couldn't tell you actually where I went.

They asked for insurance when i went in, but actually wanted my EHIC card in the end. No one spoke any English except my doctor who had graduated in Nottingham or Derby (at least i think it was that). Still I lived to tell the tale. :)

@Owensr23 , good luck and hopefully they can get you fixed up.
Can American's purchase the (UK EHIC) Insurance. I looked at the website and it seemed to be geared toward Brittons.
 
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Pathfinder075

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (Villada to SdC) (2016)
Primitivo (Ribadesella to SdC) (2017)
No. It's a national card that is only available to UK citizens under an agreement with the EU .

It also isn't usable in a few countries in Europe. Some seem to be tax havens or special cases.

the Isle of Man
the Vatican
the Channel Islands, including Guernsey, Alderney and Sark
Monaco
San Marino

https://ghic-card.org/ said:
From the 1st January 2021, GHICs and most UK EHICs will not cover you in Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland.

If you are visiting these countries, make sure you have travel insurance with health cover and check the GOV.UK travel advice.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
I simply purchased the insurance that was offered when I bought my airline ticket.
I fell outside of Ciraqui and had to go to the ER.
The bill was around $420.
The insurance paid every penny.
Worth it and easy.
 

TravellingMan2022

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Norte
It also isn't usable in a few countries in Europe. Some seem to be tax havens or special cases.
The GHIC is a deal with the EU rather than Europe the continent and based on residency rather than citizenship so quite a few Euro countries not included.

That said UK residents also also have some reciprocal health arrangements outside the GHIC deal for both European and non European countries, for example Serbia, Bosnia!
 
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