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Old 08-31-2012   #1 (permalink)
sandflea
 
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International health insurance, is it worth it?

I am thinking of getting Cigna international health insurance for my family while we are here in Playa. Is it worth it/ do hospitals and doctors actually accept these international insurances, or is it better just to pay for doctor costs directly?

We don't really have any health problems but occasionally need a checkup, xray (many sports), cast, etc.

thanks!
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Old 08-31-2012   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by maedafilha View Post
I am thinking of getting Cigna international health insurance for my family while we are here in Playa. Is it worth it/ do hospitals and doctors actually accept these international insurances, or is it better just to pay for doctor costs directly?

We don't really have any health problems but occasionally need a checkup, xray (many sports), cast, etc.

thanks!
How long are you going to be there?
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Old 08-31-2012   #3 (permalink)
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We will be here at least 3 months, maybe one year or more. the cost of the insurance would be about $250 dollars per month for two people, I'm not sure if it's worth it.
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Old 08-31-2012   #4 (permalink)
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We will be here at least 3 months, maybe one year or more. the cost of the insurance would be about $250 dollars per month for two people, I'm not sure if it's worth it.
Do you have other coverage?
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Old 08-31-2012   #5 (permalink)
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No, no other coverage. We had not very good public health insurance in the US but it wouldn't cover anything here.
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Old 08-31-2012   #6 (permalink)
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The price sounds good

I would get the coverage
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Old 08-31-2012   #7 (permalink)
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but do you know how it works? do the hospitals here even take international insurances?

or do you have to pay yourself and then put in a request for reimbursement?
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Old 08-31-2012   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by maedafilha View Post
but do you know how it works? do the hospitals here even take international insurances?

or do you have to pay yourself and then put in a request for reimbursement?


Mostly likely, this would be the case. You would pay the hospital bill and then your insurance company would try and figure out HOW NOT TO reimburse you.
You should probably check each individual hospital (in Playa try Hospiten) and check their policy on accepting Cigna or whatever company you use.
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Old 08-31-2012   #9 (permalink)
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Medical costs for minor problems and procedures are very low at farmacias and clinics. $25US for consultations/office calls, same for wound dressing, ect.
If you are in basically good health with no major problems, I wouldn't bother. You might want to consider a high-deductabile policy for major problems, air evacuation, etc.
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Old 08-31-2012   #10 (permalink)
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...hi folks!...just want to relate my insurance story really quickly...my niece has good health insurance--blue cross here in the U.S. but always get travel/health insurance too...serious jelly fish sting in playa in august 2011...resort doctor treated quickly and successfully, and she was fine (thank goodness, the tentacle welts were extensive)...$209US was paid to the doctor...at home, processed with travel/health insurance company and blue cross, with the travel/health insurance listed as secondary...travel/health insurance responded immediately, we were to update them when we heard back from blue cross...blue cross took a little longer, i had to translate the bill for them ...but, in the end, full reimbursement was made by primary insurance carrier--blue cross...happy ending...was overall impressed by the efficiency as it related to the travel/insurance company...will use them regularly for future trips..
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Old 08-31-2012   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maedafilha View Post
I am thinking of getting Cigna international health insurance for my family while we are here in Playa. Is it worth it/ do hospitals and doctors actually accept these international insurances, or is it better just to pay for doctor costs directly?

We don't really have any health problems but occasionally need a checkup, xray (many sports), cast, etc.

thanks!
This is a continuing question here, and my answer differs from most of the others. At $250 USD per month, it is unlikely that you would ever recoup your insurance payments (i.e., it wouldn't be worth the cost), for urgent and emergent everyday run-of-the-mill medical care in Playa and environs, so paying occasional out-of-pocket medical costs in this area will be far less than the $6,000 USD annual cost of your insurance (on the other hand, if you're here only 3 months, and can buy a 3-month policy at $250 each/month, it might be worthwhile - it would be unusual, but not impossible, to pay direct costs of more than the $1500 the 3-months of insurance would cost for medical care here). Here's why:

Health care in Mexico is (to be charitable) "spotty", with few exceptions - why pay your good hard-earned money to an insurance company for medical care by poorly-trained local doctors, most of who do not speak adequate English, and essentially none of whom (again, with few exceptions) practice up-to-date medicine at the level of US and European standards? In addition, few doctors/clinics/hospitals are able to accept and/or process US insurance.

The exception is Hospiten (in Playa and Cancun), which does accept US (and other) insurance, and generally offers good care - the internal medicine and radiology doctors are truly excellent; the two orthopedic docs are good; the Ob/Gyn and pediatrics doctors are good - and all are trained to US/European standards. None of them, however, makes house calls, and the Emergency Room doctors are not generally as well-trained as the other docs at Hospiten. If you are seen in the Emergency Room (possibly unnecessarily) you will be charged for an ER visit whether or not you actually need emergency care, after which the appropriate specialist(s) will be called in for a consult in the ER, for which you will be charged again at a higher rate.

The fees at Hospiten, however, are reasonable by US standards (except for sutures, which are charged at a highly-inflated by-the-centimeter fee - this in itself is not unusual, since in the US you are charged by the inch - but in Hospiten, ordinary sutures are done by the surgeons instead of the ER docs, which is unusual, wholly unnecessary, and pricy - any good intern could do as good a job for much much less, unless you require plastic surgery, of course).

If you need more than run-of-the-mill care, or if you have a pre-existing or chronic medical condition, the best choice is an air ambulance service (MASA, Medical Air Services Association, for example, which is $300 USD a year, and also has a family rate - Google them) - they fly you to the nearest US hospital to make sure you're stable (probably Houston, Galveston, New Orleans, Atlanta, Miami, all about 2+ hours away), and then to your home airport - and they pay for ambulance service to the airport here and from the airport to the hospital there.

Ambulance service here is a scam, usually in the $700-$1,000 USD range - if you need an ambulance to the hospital, call the Red Cross - "Cruz Roja" - by dialing 065 anywhere in Mexico - the service is free (but I strongly encourage you to pay them - the organization, not the personnel - $50-$100 USD, or more if you can afford it, and give big when the Cruz Roja roadside collection drives are on, usually twice a year - nurses with collection cans stand at the side of the road and ask you quietly for a donation - this is no scam, and their service is one of the real beauties of Mexico. Do not abuse this service - if you have a car and don't need an ambulance, don't call Cruz Roja unless it's necessary).

Suerte!
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Old 08-31-2012   #12 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by rainbow View Post
...hi folks!...just want to relate my insurance story really quickly...my niece has good health insurance--blue cross here in the U.S. but always get travel/health insurance too...serious jelly fish sting in playa in august 2011...resort doctor treated quickly and successfully, and she was fine (thank goodness, the tentacle welts were extensive)...$209US was paid to the doctor...at home, processed with travel/health insurance company and blue cross, with the travel/health insurance listed as secondary...travel/health insurance responded immediately, we were to update them when we heard back from blue cross...blue cross took a little longer, i had to translate the bill for them ...but, in the end, full reimbursement was made by primary insurance carrier--blue cross...happy ending...was overall impressed by the efficiency as it related to the travel/insurance company...will use them regularly for future trips..
Are you saying your US Blue Cross actually picked up your Mexican medical bill and not the travel insurance company? I was unaware Blue Cross would cover anything outside US borders.
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Old 09-01-2012   #13 (permalink)
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Even when one has excellent health, illness or accidents can happen. If you were to have a heart attack, you need immediate medical care, not a quick trip to Miami. No insurance can put you in the poor house. The same thing applies should you have or be in an accident. Insurance is for just in case and in my opinion a necessity when travelling and well worth the peace of mind.
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Old 09-01-2012   #14 (permalink)
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Are you saying your US Blue Cross actually picked up your Mexican medical bill and not the travel insurance company? I was unaware Blue Cross would cover anything outside US borders.
They will. It may depend on your plan, but ours will, and there's nothing special, unique or peculiar about our plan.
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Old 09-02-2012   #15 (permalink)
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I've got Blue Cross Select and they cover here. I hope we never need to use it.
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