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Keep USA Health Insurance?

Keep USA Health Insurance?

Old Oct 15th 2020, 5:44 am
  #16  
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Default Re: Keep USA Health Insurance?

Originally Posted by SanDiegogirl View Post
Medicare does NOT pay for overseas treatment by the way.........
Some Medigap and Medicare Advantage plans do for emergency care, though with a relatively small lifetime cap- $50k, iirc.
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Old Oct 15th 2020, 8:17 am
  #17  
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Default Re: Keep USA Health Insurance?

Originally Posted by Streetlegal View Post
On the surface, that seems quite a lot of money for not very much return. From what I've heard about taking out private insurance in the UK, it doesn't seem to yield that much of an advantage--mainly just shortening the wait time. Is that a fair assessment?

I am loath to lose the coverage I have here in the US when I return to the UK. I'm lucky with my employer. The coverage is superb and I need it with multiple chronic conditions.

Once I have seen a consultant, I can contact them directly thereafter, and they respond to email questions with two days. You never feel rushed and you get appointments usually within days. It's a doddle to contact anyone and arrange a phone consultation. I had emergency hearing loss during the summer, and in order to answer all my questions the ENT specialist arranged with me to have consultations with two other ENTs with different areas of expertise!! The level of professionalism with most of the consultants is superb--they know your record inside out, and all my test results are available for me online where I can look at and compare all previous tests.

The NHS will be a massive comedown. It's something I worry about a bit.
We were paying $956/month in the USA so it seems quite cheap to us, particularly since it covers us for our annual trips to the USA. It is horses for courses I suppose. It includes 5 video consultations per year which I did do once just to try it out, however we can always get a same day appointment with our NHS GP and have done so many times. The NHS is very post code dependent and we are fortunate to be in a town with good service.

Over a 2 year period I had an irregular heart beat, atrial fibrillation, and couldn’t fault the NHS. Regular appointments with the heart unit, lots of tests, and an outpatient procedure that has fixed me up, 2 years and counting, not a single instance.

My wife’s NHS eye consultant has been brilliant, I could go on for pages talking about him. One Sunday morning we were walking down to the Main Street for breakfast at 8:25am and he phoned her, saying that he had just got from a conference in the USA and has some new eye drops that he would like her to try out. Could she come to the hospital on Thursday afternoon, he was holding a children’s clinic and could fit her in, just turn up sometime after 2 and let reception know. 2 weeks later we were walking on the moors when he called to check up on her and when she said the drops were working great he said he would send through a repeat prescription. 2 days later while walking on the moors our GP surgery called to say they had received a new repeat prescription from Mr M the consultant and would she like them to set it up for her. We get our prescriptions delivered by mail and a few days later the first bottle arrived.

We love the NHS.
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Old Oct 15th 2020, 9:32 am
  #18  
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Default Re: Keep USA Health Insurance?

Why would you want to be paying out huge sums in private health insurance when you can register with a local NHS doctor and get your treatment for free provided that you are a permanent resident here You only need to show that you are resident If you want to supplement your NHS cover to circumvent long waits look at something like Beneden
https://www.benenden.co.uk/
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Old Oct 15th 2020, 2:23 pm
  #19  
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Default Re: Keep USA Health Insurance?

I agree with Streetlegal.. I have the same excellent coverage in USA and it is comforting knowing that I can get in to see a specialist within a few days if needed. From what I hear and read now, many NHS appointments are being canceled due to Covid , even appointments related to cancer, heart disease and other life threatening conditions. I'm not sure how dire the situation is , so was thinking it would be wise to try and keep USA coverage , at least till this pandemic is over.. I looked at Beneden and they also have a disclaimer stating that it might be difficult to get some appointments/treatment due to Covid.. Thanks for the information though. This site is so helpful ..
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Old Oct 15th 2020, 2:30 pm
  #20  
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Default Re: Keep USA Health Insurance?

Originally Posted by countrygirl33 View Post
I agree with Streetlegal.. I have the same excellent coverage in USA and it is comforting knowing that I can get in to see a specialist within a few days if needed. From what I hear and read now, many NHS appointments are being canceled due to Covid , even appointments related to cancer, heart disease and other life threatening conditions. I'm not sure how dire the situation is , so was thinking it would be wise to try and keep USA coverage , at least till this pandemic is over.. I looked at Beneden and they also have a disclaimer stating that it might be difficult to get some appointments/treatment due to Covid.. Thanks for the information though. This site is so helpful ..
Given the Covid situation why do you think US insurance will get you an appointment in the UK any easier than UK insurance?
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Old Oct 15th 2020, 2:34 pm
  #21  
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Default Re: Keep USA Health Insurance?

Well, I don't know really, I know that I once needed an appointment and paid at a private hospital in UK and got in within days to see a doctor. I was thinking that private doctors/hospitals would get you in if paying .. Maybe, I'm wrong ..
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Old Oct 15th 2020, 2:47 pm
  #22  
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Default Re: Keep USA Health Insurance?

Originally Posted by countrygirl33 View Post
Well, I don't know really, I know that I once needed an appointment and paid at a private hospital in UK and got in within days to see a doctor. I was thinking that private doctors/hospitals would get you in if paying .. Maybe, I'm wrong ..
That is exactly the way it normally works, with or without insurance, going private. I was responding to your post saying you thought it was different in Covid times and why you think US insurance will make it easier. No private hospital will accept US insurance​​​​​, you simply have to pay ahead of time and claim back from your US insurance policy. I have done it both ways at our local private hospital, (a Nuffield hospital) which actually advertises common things such as knee and hip replacements with a fixed price regardless of whether you are paying up front or through insurance.

It was a very pleasant experience when my wife had her first eye surgery through the Nuffield. Multiple appointments before and after the surgery, no payment required and then a single bill at the end which Aviva paid in full with the exception of our deductible. No deluge of EOB statements for the various charges and appointments that we were accustomed to when living in the USA​​​​​​. (We lived in the USA for 29 years)
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Old Oct 15th 2020, 3:18 pm
  #23  
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Default Re: Keep USA Health Insurance?

Thanks Durham Lad for the info
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Old Oct 15th 2020, 4:06 pm
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Default Re: Keep USA Health Insurance?

Just a comment about getting in to see specialists in a short time frame in the US.

Where I live (San Diego), I have noticed that waiting times have lengthened over the years. In the past couple of years, I have waited 6 weeks or more to see a specialist, and from doing some research lately, the wait time for getting hip/knee replacements is now a 3 to 6 month wait, after you have seen the specialist.

Too many elderly people in SoCal? ......
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Old Oct 16th 2020, 12:53 pm
  #25  
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Default Re: Keep USA Health Insurance?

We use a plan called Cigna Global or Cigna International. It's based in our home-base of Hong Kong though we've been in the USA for a couple of years straight now.

https://www.cignaglobal.com

The glitchy thing about it is that the account doesn't match the USA-standard insurance plan and account number format, such that when we go to a doctor in the USA they can rarely bill directly to the company and we have to pay out of pocket (then submit reimbursements).

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Old Oct 16th 2020, 1:31 pm
  #26  
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Default Re: Keep USA Health Insurance?

Originally Posted by durham_lad View Post
My wife and I decided to drop our USA PPO plan when we moved back a few years ago and took out private insurance here. We are both age 65 and it costs £93/month including vision and dental. It also covers health care costs for us on trips to the USA which we usually do each year for about 4 weeks. (Not had to try that bit of the insurance fortunately). The NHS is the gate keeper and the insurance only kicks in if the waiting list for a procedure is longer than 6 weeks. We did use it once when my wife needed cataract surgery and it worked extremely well. I needed a non urgent heart procedure (ablation for AFib) but didn’t need to use the insurance as the local hospital was quick and efficient.
That sounds like a great plan DL, the jury's still out for us on healthcare in the UK; we use Cigna here and have been very happy with them over the last 7 years but it's through employer, so that would disappear either way on retirement and the cost of a similar plan in the UK is expensive.

I remember being able to buy into private healthcare piecemeal over there, going private on individual procedures as and when, and often getting the same doctor you would have had 6-18 months later, had you used NHS. Is that still the case?
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Old Oct 16th 2020, 2:48 pm
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Default Re: Keep USA Health Insurance?

Originally Posted by Shezi59 View Post
That sounds like a great plan DL, the jury's still out for us on healthcare in the UK; we use Cigna here and have been very happy with them over the last 7 years but it's through employer, so that would disappear either way on retirement and the cost of a similar plan in the UK is expensive.

I remember being able to buy into private healthcare piecemeal over there, going private on individual procedures as and when, and often getting the same doctor you would have had 6-18 months later, had you used NHS. Is that still the case?
Once I retired I continued on my ex employer’s plan gaining the group discounts but without the employer subsidy. Wow, what a difference!

Yes it is still the case that you can go private and still see the same specialist as you would on the NHS. My wife has had an interesting experience this past couple of years. She had RK eye surgery over 30 years and when the optician told her that she needed cataract surgery he recommended a particular consultant. She chose him though our insurance told her that they would not reimburse his full cost as his charges were higher than the other eye surgeons. We wanted him regardless and she went to see him at our local private hospital. He is brilliant, really nice guy, explains in details what the situation is and what the options are. One eye is more complicated than the other and my wife had the easier surgery first. We received the bill from the hospital after it was all over and he waived his excess charge, accepting what Aviva paid.

For the second eye he said that the astigmatism was so bad that she was going to need a customized toric lens which the insurance would not cover, plus he may have to do 2 procedures if the lens did not align properly. He said that he knew were prepared and able to pay any extra but he himself would not feel comfortable with the extra costs if a second surgery was needed. Therefore, if it was alright with us he would do the more complicated eye under the NHS, which would cover the customized lens because the astigmatism was not going to be correctable by spectacles if a standard lens was used. There was no extra waiting involved, and the treatment at our local NHS hospital was excellent. She rarely had to wait longer than the appointment times and he invited me to a company her to all the appointments and tests. She is doing great and now on a 6 month review with him.

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Old Oct 16th 2020, 3:01 pm
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Default Re: Keep USA Health Insurance?

2 years ago my wife told me that she really didn’t like the look of a mole on my back, near a shoulder blade, and that I really should get it looked at. I decided that if there was a reluctance or delay getting it seen under the NHS that I would go private. (I checked with our local private hospital and they do have a skin cancer specialist on staff, who also works for the NHS). However, when my GP looked at it he agreed that it looked suspicious and said there were 2 other lesions that he didn’t like the look of. He printed off a form with a phone number and access code and told me to make an appointment immediately with the skin cancer unit at our local hospital. I called that day, appointment was the following week and the skin cancer guy told me that they were probably okay, but wanted them removing and testing. 6 weeks later I had them removed under local anesthetic at our local walk-in medical day centre. Talking with the plastic surgeon who did the op she said she normally worked in a private hospital about 40 miles away but traveled up to our area once or twice every couple of weeks to do these ops under the NHS)

So, absolutely no complaints there. (Tests came back negative as predicted).

Last edited by durham_lad; Oct 16th 2020 at 3:04 pm.
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Old Oct 16th 2020, 3:11 pm
  #29  
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Default Re: Keep USA Health Insurance?

Originally Posted by durham_lad View Post
2 years ago my wife told me that she really didn’t like the look of a mole on my back, near a shoulder blade, and that I really should get it looked at. I decided that if there was a reluctance or delay getting it seen under the NHS that I would go private. (I checked with our local private hospital and they do have a skin cancer specialist on staff, who also works for the NHS). However, when my GP looked at it he agreed that it looked suspicious and said there were 2 other lesions that he didn’t like the look of. He printed off a form with a phone number and access code and told me to make an appointment immediately with the skin cancer unit at our local hospital. I called that day, appointment was the following week and the skin cancer guy told me that they were probably okay, but wanted them removing and testing. 6 weeks later I had them removed under local anesthetic at our local walk-in medical day centre. Talking with the plastic surgeon who did the op she said she normally worked in a private hospital about 40 miles away but traveled up to our area once or twice every couple of weeks to do these ops under the NHS)

So, absolutely no complaints there. (Tests came back negative as predicted).
A consultant I knew said the NHS was his bread and butter, his private patients were the jam. I think most consultants work for the NHS and also have private patients.

Years age my husband had a 9.00am hospital appointment. When we arrived there was already dozens and dozens of patients, all had 9.00am appointments in the same department. After a while my husband went to reception and asked if he could be seen privately. A doctor appeared almost immediately!
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Old Oct 16th 2020, 3:27 pm
  #30  
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Default Re: Keep USA Health Insurance?

Originally Posted by Jerseygirl View Post
A consultant I knew said the NHS was his bread and butter, his private patients were the jam. I think most consultants work for the NHS and also have private patients.

Years age my husband had a 9.00am hospital appointment. When we arrived there was already dozens and dozens of patients, all had 9.00am appointments in the same department. After a while my husband went to reception and asked if he could be seen privately. A doctor appeared almost immediately!
That sounds right. The folks we knew back in the USA always had difficulty understanding that the UK has a thriving private healthcare system working alongside the NHS. Even in the 70s and 80s I had private insurance through the company I worked for, this is not a new development.
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