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medical insurance

Discussion in 'Medical issues on the pilgrimage' started by ERLEE1905, Mar 4, 2010.

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  1. ERLEE1905

    ERLEE1905 New Member

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    A request to American pilgrims; past, present and future. I just learned that my health insurance does not cover me while in Europe. In looking on this forum the advice is don't go without it. I did some looking at American insurance companies that offer travel medical insurance and found (1) expensive (2) consumer complaints about them is astronomical. So I would like to know if any American pilgrims can recommend a good insurer. Thank you ERL
     
  2. Anniesantiago

    Anniesantiago Veteran Member

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    I didn't bother with medical insurance. My experience is that in most places, pilgrims are treated either free or at very little cost.
     
  3. grayland

    grayland Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    We always order medical travel insurance when we travel out of the Country. The main concern is medical evacuation back to home country. This can easily be $100k plus. The insurance is pretty cheap.

    ERLEE1905: I sent you a PM with some details on what we use.
     
  4. anniethenurse

    anniethenurse Veteran Member Donating Member

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  5. JohnnieWalker

    JohnnieWalker Nunca se camina solo Donating Member

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    My experience is that the local hospitals and medical centres along the routes are very good a treating pilgrims but that is usually for fairly minor ailments - the problems arise with emergencies or serious illness requiring surgery, in patient treatment and if necessary repatriation. Although I am covered because I live in the UK and have a European Health Card I still have private travel insurance.
     
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  6. oursonpolaire

    oursonpolaire Veteran Member

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    while Anniesantiago is right and I have received excellent treatment for minor conditions with graceful refusal for payment offered, I would never leave Canada without travel insurance in case of a more serious health problem, which would require hospitalization and transport back home.
    If you are not a EC citizen, then you will be paying for hospitalization in Spain should there be a serious situation.

    In any case, my union provides very reasonable comprehensive travel insurance, proving a useful investment of my union dues. If you are not unionized or a member of a professional association, then you should shop around-- travelling without insurance may prove to be a very false economy.
     
  7. grayland

    grayland Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    We have used Travelguard.com for many years and have no problems. Of course, we have "had no problems" so have no real test. They are very easy to work with and are inexpensive.
    Suggest you check out several to see if you are comfortable with one.
     
  8. crackmrmac

    crackmrmac Veteran Member

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    My mother, still living, always said never put your foot outside the the country without insurance, and I think I must agree with that advice as a resident of Europe. Johnnie Walker ec.. echo .. ekow..how do you spell echo with the s? Seriously, inquire about the worst.
    Wherever you live, google an annual term and see what comes up . Read small print; you might be restricted / limited to 30 / 68 days abroad in calendar year.

    Oh, Buen Camino.
     
  9. johnBCCanada

    johnBCCanada Active Member

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    I have to agree with the others who say get medical/travel insurance before you leave home. A couple of years ago in Spain I got treatment for an injured ankle. I offered to pay and that was declined.

    However on Camino, like at home, much more serious events can happen. You can hit by a car or have a heart attack or stroke. Not likely but the unlikely does happen. It seems to me only prudent to have insurance to cover what might be extended care or a possible medical flight home. As well as being prudent it is considerate of the country we are visiting. Assistance is always appreciated but I don't expect to go unprepared and expect others to take care of me at their cost.

    John
     
  10. Anniesantiago

    Anniesantiago Veteran Member

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  11. jpflavin1

    jpflavin1 Veteran Member

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    You are not a fool. Just like everyone does the Camino at their own pace and for their own reasons. I do not believe that there is a right/wrong here. The purchase or non purchase of medical insurance when you travel is a risk decision. Each person, in my opinion, should travel at their own risk/comfort level.
     
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  12. lynnejohn

    lynnejohn Veteran Member

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    Risk decisions included, I can attest to having had several medical consults and treatments for my husband and I, for free (because we were peregrinos) at walk-in clinics. I have also accompanied other pilgrims with more complex conditions to hospitals for treatments and diagnostics that cost hundreds of dollars. Nevermind the costs of critical care treatment and transport home for much more complex and serious conditions. I am going to go out on a limb here and suggest that you would be wise to have appropriate and adequate health insurance when visiting Spain.

    lynne
     
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  13. grayland

    grayland Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    Hmmm, maybe fool and foolish are not great choices of words. :wink:

    Some whose opinions differ may be offended. :shock:
     
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  14. Louise-Spagnuolo

    Louise-Spagnuolo New Member

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    Grayland
    I don't know what you do but, i have see your posts on other comments as well as this one and must commend you on your kind, tactfullness.
    You have a great way with words to express a message (perhaps correcting someone) in a very non-offensive way.
    I am learning from your posts.
    Regards,
    Louise
    Ctlou
     
  15. Lemonkid

    Lemonkid Member

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    Be nice guys, many Americans simply can't afford insurance, it's not something they naturally "have" like other fortunate countries in Europe & Canada, so traveling without it probably doesn't seem to strange. I wouldn't recommend it, but I'm not here to judge people on their choices.

    I'm interested in travel insurance for Canadians, esp. insurance that covers multi-country visits.
     
  16. grayland

    grayland Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    Just to give an idea of cost....for Medical and Evacuation insurance..no travel or trip cancel coverage.

    A policy with $50k USD Medical Coverage and $1 Million USD Evacuation
    50 Days Coverage $150. USD
    18 Days Coverage $50. USD

    It is based on both age and days out of Country so will vary according to these two factors.
    The above is base on an age of 70 :shock: so will be higher than most people here.
     
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  17. Bridget and Peter

    Bridget and Peter Active Member

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    This comment suggests to me that we all have a different understanding of what is meant by 'medical/travel insurance'. As a UK citizen I do not need medical insurance while at home because of the National Health Service and because of reciprocal arrangements with other European countries would be able to see a doctor, have a wound attended to, have an emergency operation in Spain or France etc without any money having to be found. However, if I was seriously ill I might want to be flown home to deal with it, or might need to be accompanied by medical personel (my stepfather was treated in a Portuguese hospital for a stroke, and then the insurance kicked in to fly him home with a nurse once he was well enough for the trip).

    This sort of insurance is, as Grayland explains, NOT expensive. In the UK we can even buy it from Tesco supermarket at something like £40 for 2 weeks. It usually called Travel insurance and covers things like stolen luggage, canceled flights as well. We got ours from the CTC (cycle touring club) as it covers repatriating the bicycles as well as the bodies!!

    Us Europeans think that everyone in the US needs medical insurance and if they don't have it or enough they risk not being treated for even life threatening diseases. So maybe the Americans are thinking they DON'T need insurance for Europe because a hospital will treat them. But the point is not being treated, really, it's getting home if you have a serious accident.
     
  18. renegadepilgrim

    renegadepilgrim Veteran Pilgrim and Traveler

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    Check this site out:

    http://www.squaremouth.com/

    I am insured in the US (I work in healthcare) and my insurance will be void in Europe, not to mention, I am quitting my job, so I won't have insurance. I plan to purchase a plan before I leave that includes healthcare, as well as emergency evacuation. I was finding policies for under $200 and that was for four and a half months (the Camino is just part of my adventure). I strongly recommend looking into it.
     
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  19. lynnejohn

    lynnejohn Veteran Member

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    In Canada we must purchase out-of-country insurance as well. For about 60 days costs range from
    $200-$350 depending on what you want included and on your age. Many companies will only insure you for 60-63 days which narrows the choices.

    lynne
     
  20. gittiharre

    gittiharre Veteran Member

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    Not sure about other countries, but here in New Zealand you get free travel insurance which covers medical costs if you purchase your ticket with Visa. I usually do that and then I don't have to bother with separate insurance. I once was very glad for it travelling from NZ to Europe via Japan and my daughter then 10 months old got very sick on the plane with Rota Virus and we spent 7 days in hospital in Japan which cost thousands of dollars. Shit happens eh! Regards, Gitti
     
  21. newfydog

    newfydog Veteran Member

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    Don't worry about the small stuff. My wife went into a pharmacy in Spain with a bladder infection and was given a new type of medicine over the counter for $5. Worked like a miracle.

    When the stuff finally became available in the US, it was $85.
     
  22. Bridget and Peter

    Bridget and Peter Active Member

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    clearly!!! :D

    2 seconds later - just realised my flippant remark might not be appropriate as I am sure it was a very worrying time - to have a young child so very ill in a foreign country. Sorry, didn't mean to be dismissive. That is exactly why one needs insurance!
     
  23. gittiharre

    gittiharre Veteran Member

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    Hi Bridget and Peter, it is ok, thank you for being so sensitive. Yes I agree with just pay for the little stuff and use the insurance cover for the big stuff. I have not yet had to visit a doctor on any of my walking trips, but you never know, I have seen people with allergic reactions end up in hospital on drips
    and a friend got a cellulitis type thing after peeing in a patch of stinging nettles ( she did not notice she stood in them until afterwards). She needed to see a doctor, which was an experience in itself, a Romanian, who had just started as the local doctor and spoke literally no French, let alone any other language other than his own. Brave and the town reaction would have been interesting too.
    Regards, Gitti
     
  24. gaulsdog

    gaulsdog Member

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    Please find below a section of an e-mail I received from a lovely Canadian chap that I walked a part of the camino with last year.
    I am sure he wont mine me copying this section as it answers all the questions about (do I kneed medical insurance)

    Yes you do.

    He wrote as follows :-

    When I left you at Shogun, I had fever, and pain in my right ankle and not feeling good. I carried on for tree more days, about one day before reaching Leon, I thought I would died, I was cold, my whole body was shaking. I when in to a small inn and asked the inn keeper to call for a taxi. I when to Leon, rent a hotel room and called my insurance in Canada and took an other taxi for Leon General Hospital at the emergency. They could not speak French neither English. They treated me very well, and found out I had a big blood infection, because I did not treated my toes correctly. So they kipped me for a day, till the fever was gone. I had two prescriptions, of antibiotics 1000 mg twice a day. Before leaving the Hospital de next day I had to pay cash 391 Euro. The doctor told me to take 3 or 4 days of rest before caring on. I took 3 days (two at the Hotel and one in the Hospital.

    This a a very strong fit man at least 1.9m


    Gaulsdog
     
  25. Anniesantiago

    Anniesantiago Veteran Member

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    I'm not offended at all :)

    I just would like to point out that saying to me that I'm a fool for not having medical insurance is like saying to me that I'm a fool for not owning an automobile. In our country, it's so unaffordable to a person who does not have it via their work, that a huge section of the population who are unemployed or self-employed also find themselves without medical insurance, me included. I don't really care to be called a fool for not having something I cannot afford. :oops:

    A trip to Europe is MUCH less expensive than a year's worth of medical insurance here!
     
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  26. jeff001

    jeff001 Active Member

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    When I was in Burgos I went to the medical clinic for evaluation of my tendonitis. The doctor there thought it was serious enough to have it evaluated at the hospital and sent me there with a referral. No charge at the clinic. At the hospital they said it was minor and told me to take ibuprofen and rest for a week. At the check-out they asked for my medical card and when I told them I did not have one (being from the US) and would pay cash they told me they could not accept cash payments and sent me on my way. I am not sure how having any insurance I could have purchased in the US would have helped me but it might have been different if I had been hospitalized. Perhaps someone with knowledge of the Spanish system could help out.
     
  27. lynnejohn

    lynnejohn Veteran Member

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    So I'm not a great expert on the Spanish health care system, but we have accessed it in the same way you have - through a clinic for non-life threatening issues, and not charged. One time we were taken to clinic by ambulance and were not charged for that either. What the medics in the ambulance explained to us was that if you got treatment/consultation at a clinic, you wouldn't be charged.

    When you will be charged is if you require referral for treatment or consultation by a specialist (cardiologist, orthopod, neurosurgeon, etc) or have to go to hospital for diagnostics such as x-rays, MRIs, CTs, etc., or have to be hospitalized. All of these latter eventualities you would be charged for. So if you were hospitalized for a trauma, or say a heart attack, you would be charged for the per diem rate, lab tests, x-rays, and all other treatments.

    They told us the former group (the clinic) are salaried by the government and are allowed to provide free care to peregrinos, and the latter group, the docs in hospitals and private clinics are in private practice and will charge.

    That's all I've learned so far. Can't verify it for authenticity.

    lynne
     
  28. oursonpolaire

    oursonpolaire Veteran Member

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    Giles Tremlett's Ghosts of Spain has a very interesting chapter on health care and insurance for Spaniards and residents of Spain, which is worth a read for those who are into the subject. My own experiences mirror those of others. In Jaca, when I went to the public health centre to get a prescription (as I had not brought a copy of mine) for medicinal eyedrops, I was not charged. Indeed, when it was announced that I was a pilgrim, the 17 people (I counted) in line in front of me (including 3 Muslims) made way, ushering me forward in spite of my protests.

    As a too-frequent observer of US and Canadian health care at work, I found the Spanish system well up to par, and nothing to complain about. Indeed, a US pilgrim, who has a residence for several months of the year in Catalonia for professional reasons, told me that he has much of his work done there.

    Nevertheless, I never leave Canada without travel insurance and counsel others to do the same, in the unlikely case that they will need it. Mind you, Canadians are total insurance freaks.
     
  29. renegadepilgrim

    renegadepilgrim Veteran Pilgrim and Traveler

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    So true! Working in healthcare, I am acutely aware of how much it all costs. Even though I work for one of the best health systems in Portland, I still pay almost $80/month for my share of health insurance. I could never afford a self-pay health insurance policy on my own.

    However, you can get a medical insurance travel policy for a month and a half for less than $100, that includes medical and even evacuation coverage. I am looking at about $200 for a 4 1/2 month policy for my around the world trip. That's with a low deductible, medical, med-evac coverage and some other bits and bobs. I don't criticize people's choices with regards to insurance. I just strongly suggest looking into it. In the grand scheme of things it can save you a lot of problems along the way.
     
  30. Bridget and Peter

    Bridget and Peter Active Member

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    This is a very good book to read to give a better understanding of modern Spain, having which has enormously broadened my Camino experience.

    Those of us with National Health Services should never underestimate how very fortunate we are.

    Annie, I may be wrong, but I think people are not suggesting you should have medical insurance, but wondering if a basic travel insurance policy would be affordable and worth it if you needed hospitalisation or repatriation or expensive medication.


    That is some scary story about - if I understand it right - uncared for blisters leading to septicaemia!!!
     
  31. Tia Valeria

    Tia Valeria Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Annie, we have travel insurance, which covers us just for travel abroad. It is a reasonable price we think (about £70 for the two of us) and we can travel together or seperately. It covers our luggage up, to a given limit, medical costs not covered by our EU cards and repatriation if needed. Again here in England we are so lucky to have a choice of providers and checked out costs on the internet. This is different from 'medical insurance' which is very expensive.
    We would not want to travel without it, but others obviously do. I think I would balance any decision re afordability by thinking how much it would cost to be brought home if there was an accident/disater of some sort - as happened to a friend of ours.
    Buen Camino, and whatever you decide, walk well and safely
    Tia Valeria
     
  32. gaulsdog

    gaulsdog Member

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    The final decision for you has got to be, if you cannot afford medicial insurance you cannot afford to travel.

    Gaulsdog
     
  33. falcon269

    falcon269 no commercial interests

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    What a refreshing variety of risk aversion in this thread. The current debate on health reform in the U.S. focuses mostly on politicians getting re-elected, but when there is real debate, it often is about risk aversion or who is paying for whom, both legitimate concerns. Of course, most of the world is not concerned about Americans without health insurance. They have health care or they are starving. As for travel insurance, for most, the cost of a premature flight home is not devastating. I cannot find statistics on travelers who med-evac home at great expense. I suspect it is a very small number. Insurance companies make a lot of money on travel insurance, yet are willing to sell it to anyone from vending machines in depots. They do not seem concerned with the risk of financial loss. The fear of a rare-but-expensive event is an excellent marketing tool. As with almost every thing on a pilgrimage, it is your choice.
     
    Tamas likes this.
  34. ERLEE1905

    ERLEE1905 New Member

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    I'd like to thank everyone for their advice. I found a decent deal and now feel I can proceed with my planning.

    I am having a bit of a time with some of the post and feel I have to speak my mind. Medical insurance in Europe is not free, people pay for it through their taxes. And based on conversations I have had with foreign friends, the quality of that care varies from country to country. My German friends complain a lot aabout their system because of the cost, but in the end like it. My British friends don't like the cost and say nothing good about their system.

    I think those people here in the states that work and don't have insurance are part of our health problem. My niece is a high salaried IT person who carries no insurance. When she get ill she uses the her local emergeny rooms and then brags she never pays. Although I love her she is a leech on society. She does not think her actions have an impact on others. We do have a medical health problem here but until we correct the abuses it will never be fixed. And I am sorry but anyone who has money to go to Europe for a three month stint, well they have money for insurance. I did a quick google search and found for that personal health insurance for a person in their mid 50s can be had for less $300. I have a decent insurance plan through my union, but I can have to pay $175 a month out of my pocket. Nuff said, I need to continue researching for my camino. ERL
     
  35. Bridget and Peter

    Bridget and Peter Active Member

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    Home to Reims 2007
    Reims to Limoges 2008
    Camino Ingles 2009
    Limoges to Gernica 2009
    Gernica to San Vicente de la Barquera 2010
    San Vicente to La Isla 2012
    La Isla to Santiago Sept/Oct 2014
    While appreciating that this is not a forum for political debate . . .

    In the interests of balance , can I say
    I'm British, I don't object to the tax, both direct and indirect, which I pay. I am glad that I contribute to the health costs of those less able to pay.I have had nothing but good service from the NHS.
     
  36. ivar

    ivar Administrator Staff Member Donating Member

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    Yes, religion and politics are two topics that are generally a recipe for "disaster" in forums in general...

    So let's try to focus on camino related issues :)

    Greetings from a sunny but cold Santiago,
    Ivar

    PS! My peach tree at home is in full bloom... spring is here :)
     
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  37. benandsam

    benandsam Member

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    Can a north american go online and buy insurance? One must have insurance whether they have a european health card or not, in ireland i can buy a years travel insurance for 50 euro
     
  38. Catalinda

    Catalinda New Member

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    Muchs Gracias!

    Right after reading all of your posts, I called my insurance company to fine out how much/if I was covered in Spain. Luckily I am, but I was a little anxious until I got my answer.

    So Thank you everyone for putting the idea in my head and saving me one more freak-out later on down the road! :lol:
     
  39. oursonpolaire

    oursonpolaire Veteran Member

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    Yes-- I did for my recent trip to the US; I booked online through Co-operators, the insurance company linked to credit unions here. I imagine that other firms would offer a similar facility.
     
  40. ivar

    ivar Administrator Staff Member Donating Member

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    If you put "travel insurance" in the search box at the bottom of each page, you will find many tips and advice regarding this.

    ...there has been an increase in pilgrims arriving to Santiago in the last few days... I just passed by the pilgrims office, and there were a few pilgrims "circling" the area, waiting for opening hour (10.00).

    Buen camino!
    Ivar
     
  41. benandsam

    benandsam Member

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    I got my annual travel insurance yesterday, It will look after me in the event of medical emergencies till i get home, also includes all the other aspects of travel insurance . 79 euro for the year limited to any foreign vacation of 30 days or less.
    It costs much less to have a operation or a day in hospital in europe than usa im guessing. With the european health card im well enough covered i think
    Can non europeans use a non us insurance company for travel/medical insurance? If you have private health insurance you should be ok if anything untoward happens to you!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  42. Anniesantiago

    Anniesantiago Veteran Member

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    VDLP 2011, 13, Lourdes 2012, Portuguese 2008, Madrid 2014, (2016)
    Re: medical insurance RANT - CAUTION

    The largest abuses in our medical system do not come from the "leeches on society" that you speak of who go to the ER for care. I agree that there are people whose parents did not bring them up with very good values... and getting something for free seems to be the way many people choose to live these days.

    However, to me, the REAL leeches on society are the pharmaceutical companies who poison us with their chemicals, then charge us lascivious amounts to treat the "dis" eases they cause! Diseases like cancer, diabetes, liver and kidney disease, colitis, and even Parkinson's are often (and in my opinion ALWAYS) caused by exposure to dangerous environmental factors.

    Some of the leeches on society are those who bleat "baaaahhhh" and buy in to the need for medical insurance at all! If people would stand up and just say "NO!" to $20 sanitary napkins and $30 for a single aspirin, there would be no need for insurance! If a company was not allowed to charge my mother in law $$$$ FOUR THOUSAND DOLLARS A MONTH for one pill she MUST TAKE each day...$$$ONE HUNDRED THIRTY DOLLARS PER PILL!!!!!!.... she would have no need for medical insurance! The medical insurance business is in cahoots with the pharmaceutical businesses, who are in cahoots with the hospitals, doctors, and government. The same people who work for Monsanto are in charge of our food supply.. Somebody better start following the threads...

    There is plenty of evidence.. people just don't seem to care.. they've been brainwashed to believe that the government will take care of us... and if you think that those in charge want to put a STOP to those "leeches" going to the ER for their treatment, you are way wrong. That is the biggest smokescreen in America!

    Those in charge WANT YOU TO BE SICK. Illness is big business.
    Those in charge DO NOT WANT a cure for cancer... cancer is HUGE business.

    Do you remember a time when there were no pharmaceutical ads on television?
    Have you WATCHED those ads lately?
    They have a beautiful smiling woman telling you to "Ask your doctor if this drug is right for you" while they list in tiny letters at the bottom all the ways the pill can kill you!

    Wake up, people!

    If people would refuse to eat poisoned food, drink poisoned water, use poison on their skin, and get off their butts and exercise, many of them would not get sick to begin with.

    If the price of medical care was realistic, people wouldn't need medical insurance.

    Cancer is BIG BUSINESS in the United States, and if you follow the thread, you'll find that the companies making the big bucks on their $5000 per month-1 pill per day- cancer treatments are the same companies poisoning our water, air, food supply, and bodies with their dangerous chemical cocktails like Febreze, Round-up, and all the crap people eat and slather on themselves that we've been brainwashed into believing is necessary.

    Those companies put farmers out of business with their on-staff attorneys so we are FORCED to eat GE foods that have not been tested, chemically laced vegetables that wind-pollinate and ruin organic fields nearby (then they sue the organic farmer for "stealing" their genetic material), destroy seed-cleaning equipment that used to be found on nearly every farm so farmers are FORCED to buy their sterile terminator seed.

    They offer "Care packages" to third world countries consisting of their nasty seed and those poor people are TRICKED into using it... once they discover the seed does not produce it's own viable seed, it's too late.. it's cross-pollinated local fields.

    They offer "LOANS" to poor farmers in India and other poor countries to start "farms" then keep them in debt until the farmers commit suicide when they realize they're in a trap. They offer to "PAY" student loans for physicians, and then from that day forward, the physician is in their pocket... they do the same in Washington DC, current administration included.

    I grew up on a farm and was poisoned by these chemicals to the point that I can no longer be around them. Therefore, I cannot get a job in an office or in ANY space where these chemicals are being used. Exposure (because of my body already being overburdened) leads to IMMEDIATE joint swelling, severe pain, brain fog, headache, then migraine, vomiting, and inability to function.

    As a result, I'm forced to make my living doing sewing at home, housecleaning without chemicals, and doing fiber arts. Lucky for me, I enjoy those things, but I survive on less than $10,000 per year and I refuse to pay for insurance out of that money. Instead, I'll spend $1000 per month (a little more than what I live comfortably on in Portland) and WALK for my health.

    And since you mentioned the airfare, it so happens that I also teach classes in metaphysics and my airfare is paid by my students, who live in Wales.

    Buy medical insurance?
    NO THANK YOU!

    Insurance is also big business. They make deals with the hospitals to pay less than cash-paying patrons. What's that about? Why should someone with MORE money pay LESS than someone with less money? I'm sorry.. that does not compute.

    I will NEVER pay for medical insurance.. NEVER.

    You go ahead and buy it. I will use MY little bit of money to pay for good, clean organic foods, local foods, clean water, and exercise like walking the Camino to keep myself OUT of the hospital!
     
    Lyndale and pilgrim b like this.
  43. johnBCCanada

    johnBCCanada Active Member

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    Hi

    This is obviously very important to you and much of your eperience is different than mine in Canada. I buy travel medical insurance when I travel because I am travelling in countries that are poorer than Canada and I believe that if I need serious care when I am in Spain then if I don't have travel medical insurance I will be leaving it for the government and people of Spain to pay for my care. That doesn't seem fair.

    John
     
  44. renegadepilgrim

    renegadepilgrim Veteran Pilgrim and Traveler

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    Health insurance is a bit of a sore subject here in the US at the moment and I totally understand where anniesantiago is coming from (I can't wait to meet you before I leave for my Camino!). I also have a unique perspective because I DO work in the Emergency Department and I DO believe there are a lot of people who abuse the system because of EMTALA and other laws that govern who we have to take care of and why. That's an entirely different conversation, though. :D

    I look at it this way: I don't know what is going to happen on my Camino and the following three months I will be traveling around the world. I will be traveling to some developing countries who may not have the same standard of care I am used to in the US. While in the EU, I think the medical care is going to be comparable to the US, so this does not concern me. However, if I were to have to spend a night or two in a hospital, I do not have the means to pay for it unless I have medical insurance of some sort. I have found policies that include medical evacuation/hospitalization/emergency care, etc for four months with a $500 deductible for about $150. This seems reasonable to me for the peace of mind it will bring knowing I am covered if I need it. I feel it is my responsibility to be prepared and to purchase health insurance while traveling. I don't want to place an unnecessary burden on any place I am visiting because of my inability to pay for services rendered.
     
  45. cecelia

    cecelia several caminos- '03-'13

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    Re: medical insurance - an experience in 2009

    Hi everyone,
    I was on the camino in October 2009 with a friend who tripped down a stair and felt she may have broken her foot. After a couple of days of rest she reluctantly went into the emergency department at the hospital in Ponferrada.
    I was so impressed with the speed and courtesy with which she was handled. We were greeted almost immediately and her name and address etc were taken. Within another 5 minutes we were taken into a room and interviewed by a nurse who asked her what the problem was. Another 5 or 10 minute wait and two nurses came and wheeled her down to the x-ray lab where they took three x-rays. In a short time we were called in to speak with a doctor who showed us the x-rays and said there was no break but to rest the foot for a few days before continuing.
    No money was accepted at the time but a bill was sent for 91Euros which I thought was quite reasonable. Interestingly - the letterhead on the invoice was Doctors Without Borders (in Spanish of course). We're Canadians and both had insurance with Blue Cross (something less than $150 for the full year - 30 days at a time. And about $20 extra for the extra month she was spending in Europe after the camino). She is 64.
    On a personal note - I travelled a lot without insurance when I was younger because I never gave it a thought. Now that I'm so darned old I do buy insurance although as you can see - it's quite inexpensive here in Canada relative to some other countries. Cecelia
     
  46. jpflavin1

    jpflavin1 Veteran Member

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    I attampted to walked the Camino Frances in March 2010. My first day I had heart problems at the top of the mountain. A German gentlemen got me some help and a doctor came up the mountain from SJPdP. They transported me down the mountain to the clinique in St. Jean. They thought I had a mild stroke and recommended I be transported to Bayonne by ambulance. An ambulance came and took me to Bayonne where I was admitted to the hospital for two days with Atrial Fib. An irregular heartbeat. My heart finally returned to a normal pattern. While hospitalized I recieved an MRI, 2-ECG'S, and an Eco-cardiogram. I paid cash for all services clinique, ambulance and Hospitalization total bill of around $3,500. (US). I have Blue cross Blue shield PPO and they re-imbursed me 100% for my expenses. I did check with my insurance before I left and they gave me medical insurance documents to carry.

    I have since had Ablation surgery and plan to walk the Camino this coming March 2011. I recommend you have medical insurance for your journey if you can afford it.
     
  47. Canuck

    Canuck Veteran Member

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    I would suggest ''...have medical insurance for your journey UNLESS you can afford it''.

    Glad to see you're back in good health and wishing you a great camino.

    Jean-Marc
     
  48. LTfit

    LTfit Veteran Member Donating Member

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    There are 2 points I would like to comment on 1) Health insurance costs in Europe and 2) (Emergency) Medical care in Spain:

    As someone mentioned above medical insurance within European countries varies. Many in the U.S. and elsewhere unrightly assume that we all have "socialized medicine" which is free to all. This is far from the truth at least here in The Netherlands. We are bombarded with high taxes on everything imaginable AND have relatively high health insurance costs.

    Medical insurance is manditory in Holland - every citizen must he covered for basic health care (medical visits/emergencies, hospital stay, prenatal care, etc.). You can not be denied coverage and if you are unemployed or have minimal income than the gov't steps in to help. Private insurance companies compete for business and an average basic policy is around E95.00 per month with a deductible of E170 per year (set by gov't). Children under 18 are covered under their parents policy. All other costs are either self-pay or you can opt for an additional policy to cover physiotherapy, dental, alternative medicine, etc. Medical treatment, medications and testing are only done when utmost necessary. Dutch GP's are the gate-keepers and you can not see a specialist or have a test done unless you get a referral. This is how they try to keep cost down but as everywhere costs continue to rise and policy coverages shrink. Neither great nor cheap but everyone is in some way insured .

    This brings me to my brief encounter with Spanish health care - unfortunately (not a positive experience) -and payment for a European citizen.

    I had had a very long, hot and extremely unpleasant walk into Leon (the only part of the Camino that I disliked). I had cared for the blisters under my foot the evening before and decided to walk the first long dusty part with socks and sandles to give my feet a rest (my first mistake). Upon arrival at the municipal auberge in Leon I showered, cared again for my blisters and collapsed - happy to be off my feet. I woke up the following morning at 4 a.m. and felt my foot throbbing and was swollen making it very difficult to walk. The hospitalero at the desk told me to go to the emergency entrance of the Centro de Salud and that they would take care of me. My walking sticks were a godsend and I finally made it to a dark, closed Centrol de Salud so used the emergency entrance (my second mistake).

    I explained to the woman at the desk that I was sent by the hospitalero and was worried that my foot was infected. I had to show my insurance card which I did and she said that it would not cover the service. Very politely I showed her the Eurocross assistance telephone number on the back and assured her that I indeed had insurance coverage. She still didn't believe me but after my insistance had me take a seat (I was the only one there). A male nurse finally came in and started to YELL at me (without even seeing my foot) that blister care was not an emergency and how I dare take up his time! He did not believe that the auberge sent me there ( I told him to call the spanish hospitalero and yell at her not me!). In my best Spanish (gosh, lucky that I could!) I explained that I knew VERY WELL how to care for my feet but that I maybe needed additional care.

    I guess that he had had a bad night cause I have never, ever, anywhere (lived in the U.S., France, Switzerland and Luxembourg) been treated with such distain. And what did he do? Take off my clean bandage, re-clean the blister, re-bandage and sent me on my way saying that it was all my fault and that there was NO WAY that I just woke up with an infection. I was so stunned but pulled myself together and said that I knew how to clean my foot and in fact had done just that last night and this morning but wanted an antibiotic. Oh, he said, but then I need to call a doctor!... to make a long story a bit shorter a doctor finally came in yelled at me again (repeatly what the nurse said) but luckily gave me a prescription which I could fill at the 24hr farmacy near the cathedral for E9.00!!!

    Luckily the one and only terrible experience I encountered on the Camino and within a day my foot was back to normal!

    Lesson: do have insurance, speak some Spanish and stick up for yourself!
     
  49. TerryB

    TerryB Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Hi everyone,
    Is there a confusion on this thread between 'Health Insurance' and 'Travel Insurance'?
    Private health insurance in the U.K. is expensive and, in my opinion, totally unnecessary. Travel Insurance, covering emergency care and repatriation to U.K. if needed, costs Valerie and I around £70 (sterling) for an annual 'multi-trip' policy. This covers either or both of us for up to 31 days away on each trip. Time away can be extended on the payment of an additional premium.
    If anything did go seriously wrong we know that we are covered.
    Health Insurance - No!
    Travel Insurance - Yes, definitely!!!

    Blessings on your planning and Walking
    Tio Tel
     
  50. RyanD

    RyanD New Member

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    TerryB is right, travel Insurance is the one of the most important aspect for any travel which travel frequently to various destination whether locally or globally.
    It also save traveler from any of the miss- happening and problem during travel. Once my luggage was misplaced and recovery was given by travel insurance.
    So, i suggested to all travelers to have insurance for sure before traveling.
    We've had very good experiences with Globelink - https://globelink.co.uk/
    We used worldwide insure and had to claim for a cancelled flight. They dealt with the claim very quickly and paid out without any problems.
     
  51. methodist.pilgrim.98

    methodist.pilgrim.98 R.I.P 2013

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    Hi Terry, glad to hear that two of you have got annual travel insurance for £70 (sterling)

    A friend is coming next year from Australia to walk part of the Camino and has asked me to go with him.

    I had not intended to return to the Camino until 2013, but his request has proven difficult to turn down.

    I was quoted £184 for 11 days. The company will cover all my pre-existing illnesses but will only insure me on a trip by trip basis.

    If I get any more tablets added to my current list then the price will go up. If I have to go as an in patient to hospital in the coming months then my part of the trip is definately off.

    I have booked a cheap flight but have not yet paid for travel insurance because I have not yet committed to definately go.

    But I will say it again; anyone travelling without travel insurance is taking a fearful risk.

    My insurers told me that a lady who fell and broke her leg in France earlier this year has cost the company £8,000. This was to cover 20% of her medical costs and a specially arranged flight home. The other 80% of her costs were paid by the UK govt under the E111 scheme.

    UK Diabetics can get insurance through diabetesuk.co.uk, though if you are walking more than 300km you need to inform them of that.
     
  52. DesertRain

    DesertRain Member

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    I want to emphasize the importance of travel medical insurance, especially for those from the U.S. and other non-E.U. countries. Let me share my cautionary tail....

    Last March, I was starting my 4th day of the camino via mountain bike – on the trail rather than the paved road. Less than five minutes after leaving the albergue in Logroño, my rear tire lost traction on the rain-slicked cobble stones in the center of the city. My foot hit the pavement, and as I fell to the ground, I saw that my knee was completely dislocated. To make a long (and painful!) story short, I had torn every ligament in my knee – ACL, LCL, PCL and MCL!

    Within 12 hours, I would learn how very fortunate I was in two ways....

    First, absolutely EVERYONE with whom I came into contact during the accident and subsequent hospitalization was amazingly kind, caring and generous. From the municipal police and ambulance drivers to the nurses and social worker at the hospital to the airport staff in Madrid, I was so very impressed and moved by the care they showed. The police even took my bike back to the police station where they disassembled it, and packed it up for my plane flight home to the U.S. In terms of the medical care, I do not think I could not have received better care anywhere in the world.

    Second, purchasing travel medical insurance turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life. Although my normal health insurance at home would have eventually reimbursed me for most of the hospitalization, I would have had to pay out of pocket. More importantly, no home insurance would have paid for the many non-medical costs or helped me with the logistics of getting home in a hip-to-toe cast. My $80 investment in the travel insurance saved me more than $10,000 in expenses. Upon giving the nurse my insurance information in the emergency room, I had absolutely no further paperwork or out of pocket costs. My medical travel insurance both paid for and helped me arrange the following:

    • 100% of the cost of hospitalization for 3 days.
    • 100% of the cost of the ambulance ride to the hospital.
    • 100% of the cost of a four-hour ambulance ride from Logroño to the airport in Madrid.
    • 100% of the cost of a Business Class flight from Madrid to my home in Arizona purchased the day before the flight. (With my cast, I couldn't even fit into a coach seat and this plane ticket alone would have cost me $4000!)

    More than just paying for these things, the insurance company worked directly with the hospital social worker to make all of the arrangements for my return journey. Imagine trying to arrange for a 4-hour ambulance ride without this help: not only would the logistics be a nightmare (even if you speak spanish fluently), but you would have to arrange for payment.... all from your hospital bed while drugged out on pain meds! Instead, all I had to do was concentrate on getting better.

    Please, please, please.... spend the small amount of money needed to obtain travel medical insurance. If nothing else, it will give you peace of mind. That alone, is worth $3 per day!

    HAPPY ENDING.... After two surgeries, two months lying in bed, and four months of physical therapy, I am planning on returning to Logroño where I will continue my Camino exactly one year after my accident. This time, I will be walking....

    Will I have insurance? You can count on it!
     
  53. methodist.pilgrim.98

    methodist.pilgrim.98 R.I.P 2013

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    Desert Rain, thank you for this timely reminder.

    I will not repeat what is my post just ahead of yours, but as it looks more likely I will be in Spain in 2012 I am bracing myself to phone the insurance company and book the policy. It will hurt but not as much as having an uninsured accident or medical emergency.

    Your point on being able to concentrate on your recovery and not have to do anything else is a valuable insight, thank you.

    I am glad to hear that you have recovered so well and are returning to complete the Camino.

    You'll get some goggled eyed people when you tell the tale over a glass of vino tinto on the road to St James.
     
  54. falcon269

    falcon269 no commercial interests

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    Excellent story; excellent moral. Can you share the name of the insurance company? Was it the add-on to the airfare? I am suspicious of insurance companies because they make money by not paying claims. Your experience was so satisfactory that it restores a bit of my faith in insurance!
     
    Tamas likes this.
  55. Bozzie

    Bozzie Continuing to walk my camino daily. Blessings! Donating Member

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  56. sharmuk

    sharmuk New Member

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    Kent, UK
    To illustrate how lack of insurance can affect not just yourself but others too have a look at this BBC story http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-14345602 or do a search for "Richard Plummer" and Bali. The poor man's parents have had a hell of a time.

    Glad to hear, DesertRain, that you've recovered so well.

    Buen camino.
     
  57. Atlas Traveler

    Atlas Traveler New Member

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    Wow, that is an incredible story. I really hope no one on this board encounters a medical emergency but I'm an advocate of having travel medical insurance. It's comforting to know you have an emergency contact that specializes in helping people who are abroad.

    Safe Travels,
    Adam
     
  58. anniehm

    anniehm New Member

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    If you can afford to travel to Europe you can afford travel insurance. we do not naturually "have" insurance in Europe, we pay for it through our taxes, and its annoying when visitors think they can use our emergency medicine without paying. When we travel outside of the UK, the limited EU wide cover still isn't enough so we take out more insruance! I recommend everyone does, its not worth the risk not to
     
  59. Pieces

    Pieces Active Member

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    compared to the price of transport home if one is ill or injured the insurance will seem like peanuts...

    Its not like your friends can com pick up your body in a rented car...

    not to mention the medical bills from the spanish hostital (and they will bill you maybe not for a blister or headache, but for anything major...)
     
  60. ivar

    ivar Administrator Staff Member Donating Member

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    I think medical insurance is more important now that it was. Spanish health authorities have been quite lenient to foreigners and treated them for free (many pilgrims have told us about this in the forum), but with the recent cut backs in the health sector in Spain this is no longer so.

    Things have become stricter... and one should be prepared.

    Buen Camino
    Ivar
     
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  61. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    Thanks to those who have brought this thread up to the top again. I have never bought insurance, but the comments here changed my mind. And then I never got around to actually buying the policy. Now that I'm about three weeks from departure, it's unlikely I would have remembered to do it, so thanks. I'm one of those US people with decent coverage at home but no coverage for anything other than emergency care abroad.

    But I have a question for those of you who have bought insurance before. I went to the website that DesertRain recommended, Frontiermedex, and was surprised to see that all they want is my age and length of travel. Based on those two facts, I got a price quote -- two policies dealing with pre-existing condition coverage, one (slightly cheaper) excluding pre-existing coverage. Is that all there is to it? Just plug in my age and the length of my trip and whether I want to cover pre-existing conditions? And for $164 I get $250,000 in evacuation and medical coverage for more than 6 weeks?

    I'm assuming these companies have good actuaries, but I am surprised at how inexpensive it is. Do those prices seem right to you?

    Thanks, Laurie
     
  62. DesertRain

    DesertRain Member

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    Indeed, it is as simple and affordable as that! Or it was for me at least. I had good luck with Medex, but http://www.squaremouth.com/ provides comparisons of several different companies all based on a few basic questions.
     
  63. Mysticl

    Mysticl Active Member

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    I would never leave home without travel medical insurance. As a Canadian I often take our health care for granted. I can't even imagine what it must be like for folks in the States without insurance. My father years back had a heart attack outside the country ... in Florida, luckily he received good care but the bill was ENORMOUS .... a small fortune. Luckily he was covered by travel insurance similar to our universal health insurance at home and it included repatriation so all the bills were paid for. Unfortunately in subsequent years they could not get travel insurance because of his ongoing health issues so they had to stop going south in the winter. Their opinion at the time was, no insurance .. no travel ... simple as that. Better to stay home. The risk was simply too high, both for the insurance company and for them.

    I suspect few people have to avail themselves of their services .. most folks who travel are fairly healthy to start with. The risk to the insurance companies are probably fairly low but I say it's better to be safe than to be sorry and the cost is minimal when you compare it to the risk. The Camino isn't a walk in the park after all. Hope for the best but plan for the worst and you'll always be covered.
     
  64. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    I have been asking friends in the US who travel internationally a lot, and have been surprised to learn that most of them do take out medical travel insurance. One policy that several recommended to me was actually a policy offered by the same group that DesertRain used, Frontiermedex. Turns out they have a "frequent traveler" policy for $200 a year, and it covers up to 5 foreign trips annually (cost rises to $250/year after age 70). Only problem for many camino travelers is that the maximum length of any one trip cannot exceed 30 days. But if you take shorter caminos and travel more than once a year, this yearly coverage might work for you.

    Thanks for all the help with this, it is much appreciated. Buen camino, Laurie
     
  65. Pieces

    Pieces Active Member

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    I have travelinsurance (which also covers missed connections, legal matters, lost luggac etc as well as medical coverage) as an add-on to my household insurance. I pay about 100 $ a year for worldwide coverage for trips up to a month so doesn't sound way off...

    also, I have free travel insurance covering some issues but not others with my mastercard, so you may want to check if any of this applies to you.
     
  66. Zee

    Zee New Member

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    Desert Rain, Thank you so much for your info and how important it is to have one. I am glad you are recovered and starting your Camino again. I also lived in Arizona too and I will be starting my Camino in the week of May 27, 2012 from SJPP. I always had travel insurance on all my international trip but I have never used it so, I don't know the actual experience of dealing with any unforeseen accident, however, I am so grateful for the forum and I don't want anybody to be yelling at me. Since, I only speak English and Burmese, I will be relying heavily on my (Google Translate App). It is nice to know that you did not have to deal with prepaid and reimbursement back when you get back home. Thank you and blessing to you all, see you on "The Way".
     
  67. dougfitz

    dougfitz Veteran Member Donating Member

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    This seems to be a common restriction for 70+ travellers. I have asked those who have faced this if they had been told why, but most have reluctantly accepted the limitation without asking. Given that most insurers operate on fact-based risk calculations, I would be interested to know what the actuaries know about the over-70s that raises the risk at 30 days of travel.
     
  68. Kitsambler

    Kitsambler Jakobsweg Junkie

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    DesertRain used FrontierMedex, which unfortunately does not issue policies to residents of Washington State. The travel insurance aggregator Squaremouth.com does provide several competitive quotes from other insurers who will cover Washingtonians (including several dozen policy options for travel exceeding 30 days).
     
  69. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    There are a couple of other threads with similar, but some new, information. So I'll link a couple of them here so that people can get as much information as possible about this very important topic.

    el-camino-frances/topic12867.html

    el-camino-frances/topic13762.html

    I was shocked to learn, as I posted in another thread, that some of the policies say that their coverage includes a promise to "arrange" for medical evacuation. But "arrange" appears to mean that they will call around and find someone to evacuate you, but you get to pay the cost of the evacuation. So I think it really makes sense to search carefully. I had Medex this time, my first health insurance on the Camino, but vagabondette found some really shockingly bad reviews, so I'm searching for another company. WorldNomad is good but I'm too old for it. :cry:

    So, if anyone else has a recommendation, let us know! Laurie
     
  70. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    I see from other posts that EU citizens are going to have to worry about this topic, too. And I imagine that what's good insurance for US citizens could be very different than what's good insurance for EU citizens.

    A colleague of mine (who used medex for years until learning about all its bad service from posts here) has been reading the small print and searching for a better policy. Travelex is one that gets very good reviews, and has ample coverage for medical evacuation and repatriation of remains (how's that for a euphemism?). But its emergency care coverage has a low dollar amount, $2500. Granted, that will go a lot further in Spain than in a US hospital, but still it seems low.

    http://www.travelinsurancereview.net/tr ... insurance/

    The more I learn about this, the more complicated it seems. I think this travel insurance business is kind of shady, actually, though I'm sure there are good companies out there. Help!
     
  71. MoniRose

    MoniRose Active Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
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    (7/22-8/2, 2013) Camino Finesterra
    (?) Camino Le Puy
    I bought travel insurance. I was treated gratis at Centro Medico in Astorga but they asked for my insurance info. Also, if, God forbid, you do need treatment in a hospital, per my regular insurance carrier (BCBS) even with insurance it's cash and carry and then you get reimbursed after returning.

    I know of two incidences: 1. My daughter's friend's mother was hit by a motorcycle crossing a street - $10,000 hospital expense paid at the time of service, and 2. My neighbor just returned from a trip to France where is son had to have his appendix removed - $4200 up front for the hospital, so be prepared in case of an emergency.

    I don't want to be a kill-joy, but the camino tells many stories of those who broke or sprained ankles or tumbled down a gravelly downhill, not to mention the memorials along the side of the road. Things happen.

    I would recommend travel insurance, registering with the embassy in any country you plan to visit (takes 10 minutes on line), and limited power of attorney/medical power of attorney for those you're leaving behind. Small prices to pay for peace of mind. Then you are free to go and enjoy the walk knowing you have all our ducks in a row. - M :arrow:
     
  72. Charleston Tom

    Charleston Tom Member

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    Although my medical insurance policy covers out-of-country travel I still buy supplemental travel insurance. Last year I purchased a policy through Allianz when I booked my flight on United. Alliance offers three levels of coverage: Basic, Classic, and Deluxe. My basic policy was approximately $50 and included:

    - Emergency Medical Transportation $50,000.00
    - Emergency Medical and Dental $10,000.00
    - Baggage $300.00
    - Baggage delay $200.00
    - Trip cancellation or interruption for the price of my ticket

    IIRC, a policy that included $100,000.00 for emergency medial transportation as well as increased limits on the other areas was available for around $80.
     
    Tamas likes this.
  73. Atlas Traveler

    Atlas Traveler New Member

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    I'm glad everyone is sharing their stories and more importantly that everyone lived to take another trip. Travel medical insurance is worth the money, even if you have health insurance back in your home country. I agree, trying to call my health insurance company HealthNet for help while I'm overseas is a waste of time. They don't know how to help find me a reputable medical clinic and they don't cover emergency medical evac. I don't blame them as they don't advertise as offering customer service outside the US. Do you know if I would have to get my medical bills and receipts translated and currency converted before I submit a claim? Let me know!

    Have you heard of Insurance Services of America, they provide travel medical insurance for US citizens as well as non-US Citizens which is nice since the majority of the world are not US Citizens. I found them online at http://www.insurancefortrips.com. I also found a post on their website that tells you how to use your insurance. http://www.insurancefortrips.com/2012/0 ... re-you-go/. I think every insurance company should have clear instructions on how to get help. Thank you for your everyone's input. I've learned a lot from reading this thread.

    -Adam
     
  74. renegadepilgrim

    renegadepilgrim Veteran Pilgrim and Traveler

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    This is who I am going through...I found out my health insurance will cover emergencies in Spain, but nothing more, so I will be getting primary and medevac coverage for sure!
     
  75. capun

    capun Member

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    I am looking for first hand inputs on a Travel/Major Medical/Repatriation Insurance.

    I checked the squaremouth site but I don't see a user rating for the companies.

    I have purchased travel insurance from Travel Guard a long time ago, never used and it was a lot cheaper as part of the travel package.

    With my age (62) and my wife's (52), the squaremouth is showing $143 for the trip (2 weeks).

    Any feedback is appreciated
     
  76. csm mac

    csm mac New Member

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    Good morning to all: As a newbe about to venture forth with my grandson to do the Camino de Santiago Frances 2014 or 2015 I'm in the research mode. Of course one of the many questions that I have will be about travel/health insurance. I've read many of the posts relating to the topic and garnered much information, however, when pilgrims post about plans, if they would be so kind as to add such things as the name of the company, cost, the good/bad/different, web sites etc, it would be a great help. I would also appreciate when making other posts about other topics such as equipment, food, etc. that the experienced pilgrims would give the brand names and other pertinent information also.

    Thank you
    csm mac

    Bob MacKissock, Stafford Va, USA, bobmackissock@yahoo.com
     
  77. asif sohaib

    asif sohaib New Member

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  78. Tia Valeria

    Tia Valeria Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Many of us do give such information on various threads. However sometimes it isn't much use as we don't know where the person lives. Not specific, but EU, USA etc helps with giving an answer. Thanks for doing so Bob, it helps a lot.
    I'm from the UK so a lot of my brand info won't help you especially re travel insurance, but even as EU citizens we wouldn't travel without it.
    Buen Camino
     
  79. OTH86

    OTH86 Active Member Donating Member

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    Other Travel Insurance to check (for US residents and includes special information for Washington State residents): InsureMyTrip.com. This is probably similar to Squaremouth.com. One can search a number of travel insurance companies.

    Here's a link to an article on this subject: http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/tips/tra ... urance.htm. I don't always take his advice, since I'm pretty independent, but this is good information in understandable form.

    I have purchased from Travel Guard three times. The first time I had to cancel a trip to Turkey, and was refunded all I expected to receive - no hassle. The second time, I didn't need their services, fortunately.

    In Sept/Oct this year, I will be walking the Camino and later in November working with Habitat in Portugal. It could be pretty pricy if something happens and I cannot complete the Camino or work with Habitat, so have another policy with Travel Guard. In addition to their basic product, I was able to pick the coverages I wanted, i.e., pre-existing waiver, and choose a dollar amount for non-refundable expenses (airfare, other transportation, and a couple of other expenses already paid for). The basics are similar to what DesertRain and Charleston Tom mention.

    For me, a 68 year old woman, it seems the prudent thing to do.

    Buen Camino!
    Terry
     
  80. mspath

    mspath Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Today Mundicamino references a new travel assistance insurance programs for all pilgrims, walkers or cyclists, from anywhere. See >> http://www.mundicamino.com/noticias.cfm re Lunes - 1 julio de 2013 / expreso.info Europ Assistance lanza un seguro de viaje para los peregrinos del Camino de Santiago/Monday - July 1, 2013 / expreso.info Europ Assistance travel insurance launched for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago

    The article mentions that this new insurance called Jacobeo is part of the collaboration between Galicia Tourism and Europ Assistance, a 50 year old company. The insurance is offered in Spanish, English, French, German, Italian and Portuguese. With the Jacobeo Insurance Europ Assistance offers pilgrims travel assistance, eg, transfer to Santiago de Compostela in case of illness or accident, interpreter service, extended stay hotel for illness or accident. Policyholders also benefit from coverage for medical expenses, legal assistance in Spain, uninitiated trip cancellation, travel delay, baggage warranties or liability. One unique feature is that is that the pilgrim, despite his mishap can be moved to Santiago to meet his promise to reach the city of the Apostle.

    Margaret Meredith
     
  81. daviddephillips

    daviddephillips there are More than One Camino.

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    (2013) sept. finished.
    2016 will be two Caminos, Porta and the Frangipani
    American Express sells a very inexpensive travel policy that covers all emergency dental, health and transportation, $35.00 per trip, you read that right,
     
  82. nathanael

    nathanael Entering Zamora..Camino de la Plata.

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    travelguard insurance where is this from? many thanks.
     
  83. grayland

    grayland Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    Camino Frances (2010);
    Camino Frances (2011);
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    Via de la Plata 2013 (August hot..hot..hot);
    Camino Sanabres. (2013)
    Camino del Norte (2014)
    Primitivo (2015)
    Camino Portugese ( Coastal). (2015);
    Winter Camino Frances (Jan 2016);
    Florence to Rome (Sept 2016)
    Try travelguard.com
     
  84. lynnejohn

    lynnejohn Veteran Member

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    I've had a few experiences with travel insurance and filing claims. There are many tips I can pass on, but important ones are a) READ the policy. b) Make sure you understand the exclusions, including the "prior conditions" clause. Many companies void your claim if you have had any change in a pre-existing condition (even a change in a prescription or a checkup showing something different like a change in blood pressure), and they have differing time periods. Many use 90 days prior to leaving your state/province/country, so pay attention during that time period. c) Make sure you have and keep proof of the date you left your state/province/country. d) Ensure that it WILL PAY for repatriation/medical evacuation to your home country. Many policies say they will ARRANGE this.
    But, in a nutshell, READ the policy. If you don't understand it, get someone to interpret.
     
  85. biloute

    biloute Active Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
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    This may seem like a silly question, but when getting quotes do you enter the cost of the trip as the cost of the plane ticket?
     
  86. egar

    egar New Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
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    Some insurance policies will reimburse some/all of trip costs if a medical emergency occurs. They ask that info to estimate total cost of coverage.
     
  87. biloute

    biloute Active Member

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    I was just wondering, because aside from the flight I can't really think of anything that would need to be reimbursed that wouldn't be covered in the medical portion of the insurance.
     
  88. zakosdad

    zakosdad CaminoWalkers

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    Most trip insurance policies cover multiple facets of the trip i.e. the flight, the hotels, the luggage, trip delay & cancellation, medical insurance, emergency evacuation, etc.
    If you do not need to be reimbursed for your flight and hotels you can deduct that cost - then the insurance becomes very affordable. On our Sept 2013 camino I got insurance from
    American Express only for medical coverage $100,000 limit (included some dental & $100,000 evacuation) for 60 days for two of us for only $118 USD. I ended up needing an
    x-ray on a finger - everyone was very good with me although they could not speak English - was sent away with no bill but one was mailed to me a month later for 359 Euro ($485 USD)
    and Amex paid the entire bill.

    On another note Americans on Medicare have no coverage out of the USA, however if you bought Plan F or G on your Medicare Supplement, then you do have $50,000 worth of health
    insurance (you pay up front and get reimbursed) - on a recent trip (nov 2013) to Italy I purchased trip insurance from the airline - $45 for two of us - added an extra $50,000 of medical.

    So - if you only need medical coverage - only request that and your cost will be very reasonable.

    Buen Camino
     
  89. taozenqi

    taozenqi Active Member

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    Please note that American Express is no longer underwriting new insurance policies after 2013 (Nov.?).
     
  90. CelWilliams

    CelWilliams New Member

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    Location:
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    Camino(s) past & future:
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    Camino Portuguese (Sept. 2015)
    I went with a new Camino friend to a hospital in Leon in September 2013. She is a nurse practitioner and spoke Spanish. She was seen by a nurse for check-in, an ER doctor and then a pulmonary specialist. They drew blood and did an x-ray of her chest. She was diagnosed with bronchitis. Both doctors prescribed meds and individually explained to her the treatment protocol. We then were taken to a cashier who entered info and results into computer. We had heard from a fellow pilgrim that he tried to pay at the ER of a hospital and was told it was free. That was not the case for my friend as we did not know this was considered a private hospital. From walking through the doors until we left was a total of 1 hour and the cost was 167 Euros! Had we been at home in the USA it would have been a multi-thousand dollar ER visit and taken at least 5 hours. My friend did not have medical/travel insurance. She did have a credit card which they accepted. She recovered within a few days.

    I caught a cold the last 3 days from Santiago. I went to a pharmacy and took what they recommended without relief. My friends had already left Santiago after arriving there so I went to the university hospital ER alone when my coughing became worse. They asked for my insurance (thank goodness there was another Spanish patient who translated for me) which I gave them my paperwork from Travel Guard. I never heard anything from Travel Guard after I returned home and did not see a cashier after seeing the doctor. He and I used a system of pointing as neither of us spoke each other's language. He gave me a prescription and pointed me to the exit. Not sure if the hospital was ever paid or not. I have always had medical travel insurance but this was the first time I ever needed it in 30 years!
     
  91. PhillyPeregrinita

    PhillyPeregrinita Member

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    I am starting my camino from SJPP August 5 2014
    I opted for the traveler's insurance offered with my plane ticket. It covers up to $50k in medical expenses. I haven't read the whole packet but I figured that was pretty good for the extra $60 added to my ticket. The company is Jefferson insurance and the medical coverage is under Global Allianz. Not sure if they sell separate policies but my advice would be to just opt in for the travelers insurance if you haven't already bought your ticket yet. Hope that helps and I hope none if us need it! :D
     
    taozenqi likes this.
  92. trevorcc

    trevorcc Active Member Donating Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    SJPD to Santiago 2013,2014 planning Camino de Levante Sept. 2016
    Well last year I spent 8 days in hospital at Santiago, without insurance I would have lost flights as well as a big hospital bill to travel without insurance is placing a burden on our host. Not very sensible or fare.

    Trevor
     
    angulero likes this.
  93. SkuDah

    SkuDah Di & George

    Joined:
    May 21, 2012
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    46
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia

    Hi, I am happy to read your post re your Visa insurance. We, too, have only ever used this insurance but thankfully have never had cause to use it. Sorry to know that you had to use it and your daughter was unwell, but glad that the insurance helped out. Thanks. Di
     
  94. indyinmaine

    indyinmaine Active Member Donating Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2013
    Messages:
    461
    Likes Received:
    547
    Location:
    Maine, USA
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Frances - SJPdP to Santiago - Sept/Oct 2013
    I'm an agent for TravelGuard. Good to hear your experience was positive. They do it all quietly behind the scenes.
     
  95. AnnieY

    AnnieY AnnieY

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2013
    Messages:
    160
    Likes Received:
    88
    Location:
    Devon
    Camino(s) past & future:
    September 2014
    Hi Tia who did you take that policy with? kind regards Annie
     
  96. indyinmaine

    indyinmaine Active Member Donating Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2013
    Messages:
    461
    Likes Received:
    547
    Location:
    Maine, USA
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Frances - SJPdP to Santiago - Sept/Oct 2013
    For the most part, at least here in the US, you must buy travel insurance from the country of residence.
     
  97. Tia Valeria

    Tia Valeria Veteran Member Donating Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2009
    Messages:
    3,689
    Likes Received:
    2,852
    Location:
    UK
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
    C. Inglés 2011
    C. Primitivo '12
    Norte-C. de la Reina '13
    C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
    Hola Annie. We will have to look out the papers and will then reply properly. This year our insurance comes with our bank account so we have not renewed the old one.

    The old insurance has a web site at www.insurefor.com - you can get a quote online. I'll send you a PM too with some more private info
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2014
  98. AnnieY

    AnnieY AnnieY

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2013
    Messages:
    160
    Likes Received:
    88
    Location:
    Devon
    Camino(s) past & future:
    September 2014
    thank you Tia and I am really sorry to ask you again but when we met at the cathedral you mentioned about by a loaded card from travel agent to use on the camino - could you give it me again please
     
  99. Tia Valeria

    Tia Valeria Veteran Member Donating Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2009
    Messages:
    3,689
    Likes Received:
    2,852
    Location:
    UK
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
    C. Inglés 2011
    C. Primitivo '12
    Norte-C. de la Reina '13
    C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
    Hola Annie. Ours came from Thomsons on the High St, between Bedford St and the church. It is almost next door to the EE shop. We paid cash and you need ID (passport/driving licence plus a bank statement/utility bill) to load it whether using cash or a card.
     
    LesBrass likes this.
  100. AnnieY

    AnnieY AnnieY

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2013
    Messages:
    160
    Likes Received:
    88
    Location:
    Devon
    Camino(s) past & future:
    September 2014
    check out Jp Hayman travel adventures cover most pre-existing injuries based in South of England - very reasonable
     
    LesBrass likes this.

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