Travel Health Insurance - don't ask, don't tell? - CycleBlaze

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Travel Health Insurance - don't ask, don't tell?

Steve Miller/Grampies

With the built in risks of cycle touring, and the life savings eating potential of a serious illness while in another country, travel medical insurance is generally a necessity. But as your age climbs above 55, costs begin to grow exponentially. The biggest hits come when you finally develop a "pre-existing condition". As soon as the companies learn of your high cholesterol, or whatever, they begin to ring up the fees, big time. And if there has been any change for better or worse  lately (in some cases, in the past year) they drag over canvas bags and demand you fill them with cash. These costs eventually can easily exceed the airfare to actually get to a distant trip.

Since even a hint or whiff of information that you may not be in perfect health sets the cash registers ringing (or the threats of non-coverage flying), a good defence could be "don't ask" and so "don't tell". So when your doctor suggests a routine blood test, or general check up, it's time to raise the red flags and dig your heels in and resist. Or is it?

On the one hand, it might be useful to know that you could keel over when you attempt to turn on the jets going up Stelvio Pass. But if you know that, maybe you won't go, or will not be able to afford to go. Then again, if you don't know, then you could die happy doing what you love, and still have some money left to leave to the grand kids.

What do you say - go for that checkup, or not?

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1 month ago
Mike AylingTo Steve Miller/Grampies

I would prefer to cark it attempting a mountain pass than spending a number of years with a terminal disease.

Consequently I go for all the tests that my phc suggests including regular colonoscopies so that  cancers etc can be diagnosed and treated at an early stage.

If this results in huge travel insurance premiums there are still plenty of places in my home country that we can still cycle tour.


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1 month ago
John PescatoreTo Mike Ayling

There was a medical/drama TV show on a few years ago, "House" where for the first 45 minutes they would try and fail to diagnose someone with an exotic disease. Since by then the patient was nearly dead, the young doctors would say "Let's do a full body MRI" and Dr. House would say "No! Everyone has something  that isn't going to kill them - finding out those things will just distract  you from what is wrong with this poor sucker."

I'm pretty much in the same camp with Mike - the dreaded yearly prostate check is about the only regular one. Biking keeps the blood pressure down!

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1 month ago
John SaxbyTo John Pescatore

We have a travel insurance plan linked to my wife's pension. The basic fee for that includes provision for 40 days away from Canada; any time above that is extra, and the longer you're away or the older you get, the more it costs. (These companies don't do seniors' discounts:  "Sorry, sir. Respect for elders doesn't really pay, y'know?")  The "pre-existing conditions"/medications/etc are baked into both levels, and I assume reflect general data and calculations by actuaries. I've often thought that I should just invite whomever it is that designs these things, to come with me on a 100-km ride through the Gatineau Hills, and then we'd talk...  But, that's not going to happen, so I look after my own health as best I can, and that includes taking meds for the duration to keep blood clots at bay. (These days, that's no big deal, thankfully -- it's manageable.) 

On a "don't ask, don't tell" strategy:  We've had some experience in making claims from the company involved, and I reckon that the company would like nothing better than an excuse not to pay a claim.  No point in making it easier for them, therefore.  If I'm going to travel internationally (that includes the U.S.) for long-ish periods, then I'll pay the premium involved. Given the risks (especially from traffic), there are some potentially catastrophic false economies. If I can't or don't want to pay the premium, then I'll stay home--there's lots of unexplored terrain here.

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1 month ago