We are healthy people. And, we’re Canadian. We enjoy our healthcare system. Still, we have money concerns relating to our health, especially now that we are traveling.
First, we have to pay out of pocket for daily medications. And, while we expect to pay for a routine trip to the dentist, we worry about how we might pay for catastrophic events like losing a leg to a propeller, or how we would pay for treatment for an acute illness like cancer.
Initially, we found it difficult to navigate the murky waters of insurance possibilities. We made lots of phone calls, and were torn with deductibles and prices, and the knowledge that we are likely covered for two years by our Ontario provincial plan (OHIP). Perhaps we could just return home to be treated?
Our options became a lot clearer after we connected with our boat insurance broker. (I recommend contacting an insurance broker as your first step to approaching global medical insurance.) Our insurance broker is Offshore Risk Management.
First off, we should have visited a ServiceOntario office before we left for our trip. A trip to ServiceOntario would have streamlined the process to apply for extended healthcare coverage. Instead, we had to fill in a form for all six of us from the USA, which was further complicated by the fact that we are anchored out with sketchy Internet access.
Because of the scope of our trip – island hopping in the Carribbean – we were limited as to who we could look at for medical insurance. And, again, we are Canadian. Possible insurance contenders were:
Our insurance broker offered us another alternative, called the LifeLine Emergency Expense Reimbursement, which will reimburse as much as $25K for any emergency, from being towed to being called home for a family emergency.
Our insurance broker said that some families operate on a shoestring and don’t buy any medical insurance at all. We are somewhat risk adverse and feel that we can’t afford to be that cavalier.
After going through the IMG application process, we opted for OffShore Risk Management’s Lifeline Emergency Expense Reimbursement plan. It provides a no fuss way to access funds if we need them. It is also cheaper than a comprehensive plan like IMG or Lloyd’s – plans may or may not payout for pre-existing medical conditions. I don’t get paid to tell you this, nor do you get a free juicer for considering these options. Just some information I thought I’d pass along to potential cruisers…