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Health Insurance

Old Apr 6th 2011, 11:42 am
  #1  
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Hi All,

I was looking for some advice on our situation. We are emmigrating to the US in May of this year. I am a British national with a British passport, my wife is American but has British citizenship, and she has both British and US passports.

My wife has a job offer which means that from October 1 of this year we will have full health insurance.

Between now and then, we have the following travel plans:

May - leave for US, short stay in New York and with family in Seattle
June and July - travelling in South America (yippee!)
August and September - getting to know Seattle, and short trips to Canada

We are looking to get 'international' or 'expat' health insurance (not travel insurance). My research so far has pointed me to only a handful of companies that offer short-term health insurance. The one that keeps cropping up is 'Patriot Platinum Insurance' which offers up to $8M of protection.

https://www.visitorsinsurance.com/Pa...ravelQuote.asp

We spoke to the company and their advice was to have my wife and I buy a policy based on our British citizenship. So we are covered internationally (including the US, Canada, and South America) but *not* in the UK, which is not a problem, since we are emigrating! As I say, we are just looking for 6 months of cover while living in the US and travelling in South America, and nothing longer than this.

My question is:

- does anyone have experience of this situation - being in a 'transition' situation between the UK and US and not starting a job (and hence, getting health insurance) until some time distant to arrival in the US; and, in particular

- does anyone have experience of the International Medical Group who provide this policy?

We have found another company based in Denmark called 'IHI Danmark':

http://global.ihi.com/health+insurance/ihhp.aspx

who provide a policy in collaboration with BUPA. However, its a good deal more expensive than the IMG policy.

I think that's all the info I have. Any help would be appreciated!

Best regards
Marzipan
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Old Apr 6th 2011, 2:58 pm
  #2  
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Default Re: Health Insurance

Citizenship makes bugger all difference, it really doesn't.

You just need travel insurance for the first wedge of your dates and once you set up residence, you can look over places like e-insurance for personal cover for a few months.
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Old Apr 6th 2011, 3:14 pm
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Default Re: Health Insurance

Thanks for the reply! When we spoke with the insurers in the US they seemed to think it made a difference in that they could offer both me and my wife health insurance based on us being UK citizens travelling to the US, and travelling around South America etc.

I have my immigrant visa so will convert this to permanent residence and my green card when we arrive in May, so I'll need something to cover me from then on.

Take the point about travel insurance - the problem is that as we have one-way tickets and no intention to return, and our trip is for longer than 30 days, the UK insurers we spoke to weren't interested in insuring us.

Anyway, that's what we were told. Admittedly the company we spoke to were trying to sell us their policy, but the policy did seem tailor-made to our situation.

Just wondered what other people's experience was, and would be interested to know if anyone else just used travel insurance to cover their situation, and which companies they used, given the above.

Thanks again!
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Old Apr 6th 2011, 3:35 pm
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Default Re: Health Insurance

May through July, you aren't setting up residence though, so you could just VWP holiday it.

A lot of travel policies limit 30 day stretches, but not all of them, plenty cater to the old snow birds.

Most people aren't in your situation, of coming here, then buggering off for long holidays before moving back, you're making this more complicated than you need to.
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Old Apr 6th 2011, 4:16 pm
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Default Re: Health Insurance

Bob, once he enters with his immigrant visa, he IS a PR, he can't enter on the VWP. I don't think they are making things more complicated than they need to be.. they just have a long trip planned.

marzipan71, I'm sorry I can't answer your question about actually using one of these products but I have seen the Patriot name come up favorably before and it does sound ideal for what you are doing.
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Old Apr 6th 2011, 4:43 pm
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Default Re: Health Insurance

You can have a visa in your passport and opt not to enter using it though.
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Old Apr 6th 2011, 5:10 pm
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Default Re: Health Insurance

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
You can have a visa in your passport and opt not to enter using it though.
I don't think so, with an immigrant visa.
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Old Apr 6th 2011, 7:40 pm
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Default Re: Health Insurance

Thanks for all your replies. I was told at the US Embassy that upon entry with my immigrant visa I will then be given PR. And I will want the green card situation sorted as soon as possible so that I can start applying for jobs, get my social security number as soon as possible etc.

Yes, I'm buggering off for a long holiday, but I've worked without many holidays in the UK for many years and will be using the opportunity of this switch to have a break from work before my wife and I settle down for good and start a family in the US, after which it will be highly unlikely we'll be able to spend such a long time travelling.

So bottom line is - I will enter the US and be given PR in May, have a few weeks of orientation, then off to South America, then be back for good in the US. Tickets are all booked so that's what's going to happen, hence I'm looking for advice on what the best route is for us getting some medical cover, given my PR status at that moment, for both the US and South America until my wife starts work in October and I'm included on her health insurance.

Good to hear the Patriot policy has a good reputation - if anybody has any experience, good or bad, it would be a big help in making our decision.

Thanks to all for your comments!
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Old Apr 12th 2011, 4:05 pm
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Default Re: Health Insurance

marzipan71,

The advice you received is completely wrong.

You said that you didn't want travel insurance, but Patriot Platinum is exactly that. When you click on that link, it clearly says in big bold 'Patriot Platinum Travel Medical Insurance'.

Also, if you are both U.S. citizen and U.K. citizen, you can not put U.K. citizenship in the application to get the coverage in the U.S. If you are U.S. citizen, you must use that, irrespective of what other citizenships you have. If you put your U.K. citizenship, the application may go through, but you are guaranteed that your claim will be rejected.

Patriot Platinum (or any Patriot plan) is meant to be a short term travel medical insurance when you are traveling outside the home country. They are not meant to be replacing your domestic health insurance from the U.S. company.

Last edited by britishdraft; Apr 12th 2011 at 4:11 pm.
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Old Apr 12th 2011, 4:48 pm
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Default Re: Health Insurance

Originally Posted by britishdraft View Post
You said that you didn't want travel insurance, but Patriot Platinum is exactly that. When you click on that link, it clearly says in big bold 'Patriot Platinum Travel Medical Insurance'.
The Patriot stuff does appear to be travel insurance, but that might meet your needs. After all, you are travelling.

Originally Posted by britishdraft View Post
Also, if you are both U.S. citizen and U.K. citizen, you can not put U.K. citizenship in the application to get the coverage in the U.S. If you are U.S. citizen, you must use that, irrespective of what other citizenships you have. If you put your U.K. citizenship, the application may go through, but you are guaranteed that your claim will be rejected.
I have no idea where all this comes from. Is there some secret hierarchy of citizenships? (Yes, each Government has its own up top, but for this topic...?)

However....

If you choose Patriot then I would look at the "home country" option carefully. If you try out the UK option, to get what you think is US coverage, what happens, heaven forbid, should you need to take up the repatriation option while in South America? Or worse, the 'minor child repatriation' option? Those options are back to the "home country". Insurance companies will hang you out to dry on the small print if they get the chance, so beware of trapping yourself in a position where you invalidate your insurance.

If you go with the US option as "home country" then you may not be covered for all the time you want back in the US.

I think more investigation and thought may be required...
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Old Apr 12th 2011, 5:13 pm
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Default Re: Health Insurance

Rules regarding US citizenship and insurance eligibility do not come from a secret but from insurance rules.

If the person is US citizen, he must be considered US citizen for insurance eligibility purposes, no matter how many other citizenships that person has from any other country.

Therefore, in Patriot Plans, for US citizens, home country is the US, irrespective of any other factors. And the plans will provide coverage only outside the US.
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Old Apr 12th 2011, 5:30 pm
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Default Re: Health Insurance

Originally Posted by britishdraft View Post
Rules regarding US citizenship and insurance eligibility do not come from a secret but from insurance rules.

If the person is US citizen, he must be considered US citizen for insurance eligibility purposes, no matter how many other citizenships that person has from any other country.
It would be really helpful if you put your statements into context, or provided some clarification. As it stands, the above is untrue.
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Old Apr 12th 2011, 5:34 pm
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Default Re: Health Insurance

I have clearly described the rule, exactly in the context.

If the person has U.S. citizenship, he can't be covered by Patriot Plans in the U.S.

If you still don't want to believe that, ask the insurance company to give you in writing (not the agent) that you are a U.S. citizen and you want the coverage while in the U.S., and see what they will say.
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Old Apr 12th 2011, 6:28 pm
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Default Re: Health Insurance

The critical thing here is residency and not citizenship. Once you leave the UK without the intent to return you will no longer be covered by NHS. So I suggest you take your extended holiday, but keep your UK home/apartment and buy a return ticket. Then return to the UK after your holiday and sort things out before flying back to the US to start work and become a US resident.
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Old Apr 12th 2011, 6:39 pm
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Default Re: Health Insurance

Originally Posted by britishdraft View Post
I have clearly described the rule, exactly in the context.
I think the point is post a link that backs up the claim because without some sort of official reference it is meaningless. I don't know if what you say is true or not, but I've never been asked if I am a US citizen or not when filling out health insurance paperwork for an actual policy or for bidding out on a policy.
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