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Heath insurance and medical treatment cost

My wife and I will be in Paris for a full month! We are both on Social Security with supplement — is there any coverage ? What are the best places to research health insurance, and how expensive are hospitals compared with US?

Posted by
2512 posts

A travel buddy of mine uses GeoBlue, specialized travel insurance from Blue Cross/Blue Shield. She feels that the cost and coverage are the best she has found for a medical only policy. I’m lucky because my BC/BS supplemental policy covers overseas trips. Not many do.

Posted by
901 posts

Medicare does not cover care outside the USA. Whether your Medicare supplement covers anything is variable and you will need to contact your carrier to find out. If it covers anything at all, it is likely to be emergency care only. And it will not pay to medivac you home to the USA if that is necessary, which can be quite expensive. If you buy supplemental insurance for your trip and you want coverage to return to the USA, be certain to read the fine print to see if they will take you home to your community and not just to the nearest US hospital.

Posted by
5700 posts

our medigap policy covers 60K in emergency care outside the country. we always get travel insurance now and I have an annual policy with Alianz. The main reason is that your biggest expense if disaster strikes will not be medical care; it will be getting back home. That can cost over 100K if you. need air ambulance and easily 50K if you just need special care on a commercial flight. It is possible to get travel insurance that JUST covers medical care abroad, but we do think it prudent to get insurance that covers 'repatriation' dead or alive. That is what will bankrupt you.

I had surgery for a broken bone in France a few years ago and spent 5 days in the hospital and had follow up PT and orthopedic doc follow up. The total cost was less than $5000 which the travel insurance covered but we could have covered that. I didn't want to disrupt the trip and so by doing the follow up in Paris it saved the insurance company the cost of getting me home and my vacation for relatively little cost to them. A friend had to be flown back with a nurse from the far east, sent from the US and they had to block out several rows on the flight. That cost tens of thousands covered by their insurance.

Posted by
221 posts

You can compare insurance options at InsureMyTrip.com or SquareMouth.com. I have also used GeoBlue. Agree that whatever you get should cover repatriation and evacuation. I traveled for years without it until two different friends had to deal with getting relatives back to the US after accidents. The cost was staggering.

Posted by
1069 posts

Medical costs will be a fraction of what you pay in the US. Doctor visits, with no insurance, are typically 30€ to 35€ or little more than what many in the US spend for their copay. Pharmaceuticals are correspondingly less as well.

Hopefully you will not need medical care in France but you'll be very surprised about the cost if you do.

Posted by
11153 posts

After you've looked into what your supplemental plan covers, if you still want or need further coverage, you can call Insure My Trip at 800-487-4722 and speak directly with an agent. I found this very useful to get questions answered, and figure out exactly which policy was best for my needs.

Posted by
5700 posts

Before I aged out at 75, for years we had a policy called Medjet assist which for an annual fee will pay to medically evacuate to a hospital near your home from one abroad. It comes into play any time you are more than 300 miles from home. We had medical insurance that would cover us so this was to fill that expensive evacuation /repatriation gap. We never used it so can't speak to how good it was, but for relatively low cost we covered the greatest potential expense. In our 60s I seem to recall it was about $350 a year for both my husband and me.

Now we have an annual travel insurance policy with Allianz -- we were happy with them the one time we needed coverage.

Posted by
333 posts

Has anyone had any experience with the GeoBlue Trekker Essential plan?

$50K per person coverage with evacuation if necessary and covers trips less than 70 days total for the entire year for $200 for 2 people 65 and 55. You do need an existing insurance policy in place. An individual trip runs about $160 for the same configuration. We will probably be going back to Europe at least one or 2 more times after our planned May holiday

We've never opted for this before but with the corona virus and being older maybe we will get it.

Posted by
16763 posts

Does the $50,000 limit apply to medical + evacuation or just medical expenses? I would consider it way too low for evacuation coverage.

Posted by
333 posts

The $50,000 limit applies to both medical and evac.... The chances of needing evacuation are relatively small and I was paramedic for 10 years so I would have a pretty good handle on how medically necessary that evacuation is ...

A really expensive evacuation would be a catastrophic loss but if we got to that point anyways we are already in life changing, catastrophic loss territory and extra $50-$100k is not going to screw us any more than we already are