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#189510 - 11/30/09 05:10 PM Medical/Emergency Insurance
Streamside Offline

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 11
Loc: NY
Folks, while I have been following ETS for a while, this is my first post on the forums. I have a quick question. My daughters are going to be in China for a while (a year or so)at school. They are planning various side trips into the provinces (including western China by the Gobi desert). I was wondering if anyone has thoughts on what I see as Medical/Medical Evacuation insurance. I also see on the web Insurance for "political" disturbances. Ideally nothing ever comes up but I would rather be safe than sorry. Has this topic come up on Doug's website or forum before ? If so can you point me to it? or does anyone have an alternate place where it has been discussed? tks...

#189512 - 11/30/09 05:19 PM Re: Medical/Emergency Insurance [Re: ]
Dagny Offline

Registered: 11/25/08
Posts: 1918
Loc: Washington, DC
Are your daughters presently attending a college in the U.S.? Seems they should have some advice in this regard. A cursory Google search uncovered a lot of info. I don't have any personal experience with such insurance other than a friend who does a lot of trekking in the Himalayas and obtains some sort of emergency evac coverage for those trips.


International Student Insurance Plans

Welcome to International Student Insurance, the number one destination online for international student health insurance and travel insurance plans. Here you will find information on the very best international health, medical and student insurance plans tailored to fit the needs of international students and study abroad students around the world:


Study Abroad

Overseas Health Insurance Requirements

Towson University requires all study abroad participants to have health and accident insurance while studying abroad which provides, at a minimum, coverage for emergency medical care and treatment, hospitalization, and physician charges in the country where the Host Institution is located, as well as insurance for medical evacuation, repatriation and medical reunion.

Most US health insurance plans have some limitations for treatment outside the US and very few have medical evacuation repatriation or family reunion benefits so we strongly recommend you purchase supplemental coverage for the duration of your time abroad. You should also maintain your US insurance to ensure continuous coverage for any pre-existing conditions.

#189515 - 11/30/09 05:47 PM Re: Medical/Emergency Insurance [Re: Streamside]
Blast Online   happy
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3633
Loc: TX
Howdy Streamside, welcome to the fire. Our two daughters were adopted from China, which required spending a month there each time. The Chinese adoption community strongly recommended medical evacuation insurance as in many places their hospitals are very poor compared to here in the US. That being said, we chose not to get such insurance as we were in major cities throughout our trips. Plus, my wife wouldn't let me do anything fun stupid during our stays. My experiences as/with college students suggests this insurance would be more important. The peace of mind it would give you would cover a lot of the price.

As for civil disturbance evacuation insurance...the best thing there would be to avoid any political rallies/marches. China cracks down on such things pretty fiercely and if they think you are on the wrong side, you are toast.

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#189516 - 11/30/09 05:58 PM Re: Medical/Emergency Insurance [Re: Dagny]
Jesselp Offline
What's Next?

Registered: 07/19/07
Posts: 263
Loc: New York
I had the good fortune to travel the world for nine months back in 2001, stopping in many third-world areas. I did two things to keep myself healthy, and give my family peace of mind:

1) I visited a travel medicine clinic at least six weeks before leaving. This gave them ample opportunity to make sure I had all necessary inoculations on board. They also gave me scrips for anti-biotics (cipro) and anti-malarials that might have come in handy.

2) I purchased a travel medical policy. It was really cheap, something like $250 for the whole time I was away. I would have had to pay out of pocket for any services, and get reimbursed. It also included $100,000 of evacuation coverage, and repatriation of my remains if anything really bad happened.

I had only three real health issues the whole time I was away: Travelers diarrhea in Senegal and Nepal, which the cipro took care of, and a moderate case of HAPE just below Mt. Everest Basecamp. In the latter case, I was treated by the Himalayan Rescue Association High-altitude Medical Clinic and given all sorts of drugs and advice, for the grand total of $25. I also bought a cool T-shirt with the clinic's logo! While I did not need it in the end, it was comforting to know that had a helicopter been needed to get me to lower altitude, the cost would have been covered.

I considered the insurance to be inexpensive and well worth it. I found my policy through my travel agent who specialized in esoteric travel, but using Google so I'm sure you could do the same.
A blog about adventure
in and around New York

#189518 - 11/30/09 06:07 PM Re: Medical/Emergency Insurance [Re: Blast]
Streamside Offline

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 11
Loc: NY
Hey guys, thanks for the quick responses! To add some more info, yes the school does recommend such insurance (like the Towson site) but doesn't point you to a specific outfit. My girls friends have purchased from www.medexassist.com/ (not a recommendation just pointing it out). For a student abroad they seem to be affordable (couple of hundred bucks to cover for a year). It looks like their primary offering is to get you to a good medical facility in country or to "repatriate" you back home. I definitely see some value in that. From what I am reading, these companies may or may not pick up the actual doctor/hospital costs. I think my insurance would pay for that (but will have to ask them). I guess my fear is that something happens and I would want to get them home to the US pronto. Pre-positioning a response capability would make the wifey and me sleep better. It would be interesting to hear any personal stories from folks that had to and did make use of the repat feature, or any other experiences with this type of add on insurance.

Edited by Streamside (11/30/09 06:38 PM)

#189523 - 11/30/09 06:43 PM Re: Medical/Emergency Insurance [Re: Streamside]
Andy Offline

Registered: 09/13/07
Posts: 378
Loc: SE PA
In early spring of '08 my DD was traveling on vacation in Fiji when she got a very serious bacterial infection in her foot. The treament in the Fijian hospital only made it worse. She moved on to New Zealand where she eventually wound up in a hospital in ChristChurch for 10 days, needing 3 surgeries and a skin graft.

She had purchased travel medical insurance before she left the US and that ended up paying the bulk of the $35K hospital bill. But the insurance company did not pay the VAT (value added tax) of nearly $4000. So be sure to check with whatever policy you do get on whether it will pay any local taxes.

When she travels overseas she always buys that insurance. Also, and I've said this before here, always check in with the US embassy or consulate whenever you're overseas. You can do so on the web at www.state.gov or by visiting the embassy once you're in country. The American Citizens Services (ACS) office was a big help to my DD, visiting her in hospital and advising her on local practices.

My brother taught English in China. His letters home were published as a book. It's available as a free downloadable podcast from Podiobooks

Best wishes to your traveling daughters.
In a crisis one does not rise to one's level of expectations but rather falls to one's level of training.

#189545 - 11/30/09 08:30 PM Re: Medical/Emergency Insurance [Re: Andy]
Streamside Offline

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 11
Loc: NY
wow that is a huge chunk of cash the insurance paid for Andy. It reminds me of an incident my boss had a couple of years ago. He and his family were in Cancun Mexico. His kid (12 at the time) is asthmatic. He has an attack. The kid is getting real bad. They take him to a local "hospital". He showed me the photos he took on his cell phone. It was like a tent with a couple of cots. My boss is flipping out. Lucky he is rolling in money. So he had no issues with a private medical jet coming from Miami to fly the kid back home. Would have cost him like 15K for it. The kid did turn around for the better so it wasn't needed.

#190790 - 12/14/09 03:43 PM Re: Medical/Emergency Insurance [Re: Streamside]
daisy7386 Offline

Registered: 12/02/09
Posts: 1
How do I know if I need temporary medical insurance?

You need temporary insurance or emergency medical insurance if you are:

* Self-employed, a part-time or temp worker,

* Between health plans at the moment,

* Unemployed or laid off,

* A college student or recent grad,

* Looking for a lower-cost alternative to COBRA,

* Or unable to afford other coverage.

Edited by daisy7386 (12/14/09 03:44 PM)
Health Insurance tx

#190805 - 12/14/09 07:16 PM Re: Medical/Emergency Insurance [Re: Streamside]
Pete Offline

Registered: 02/20/09
Posts: 1372

Here are the insurance people I use when I take groups overseas. I researched a lot of these foreign med policies, and this coverage looked to be very good for the price. They are also pretty responsive - at least when setting up paperwork, policies, and getting details worked out quickly.


I cannot tell you how well they would do ... specifically in covering medical problems in China. But they do handle coverage across the globe.

My practical advice ... get a policy like this for each person going to China. But in the event that things do go wrong - don't expect things to work out seamlessly. You could well still face a lot of hassles - before problems get ironed out.

Some possible pitfalls include the following:

1. Often these evacuation policies won't be authorized by the insurance company without the advice of a doctor. But suppose you experience an accident in a remote town in China. Where on earth is the local doctor, anyway? Good question. So there are issues about "authorization" and whether they will cover getting you out in a hurry. But my advice would be to use common sense - and fight it out with the insurance company later.

2. Some foreign hospitals have a very nasty habit of demanding to be paid in full - at the time a patient is released. Unfortunately, insurance companies rarely pay up that quickly, and sometimes not without disputing the costs. This can create an enormous amount of hassle for you, and may require you to fork out a substantial amount of personal money before everything is finally settled. That's life ... as I said this is not a seamless process. But the insurance is still a very good idea.

good luck!
the other Pete

#190831 - 12/14/09 11:35 PM Re: Medical/Emergency Insurance [Re: daisy7386]
philip Offline

Registered: 09/19/05
Posts: 639
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
I haven't updated this page in awhile, but see if any of the services linked to here are of any help:

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