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  1. #1
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    Default Health Insurance

    I've heard of people getting health insurance for thru hikes. My google searches have not been helpful yet, so I'm curious if people can share what they have done when thru hiking.

    - Wesley

  2. #2
    Registered User rmitchell's Avatar
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    09-13-2011
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    My health insurance is through the Marketplace, formerly known as Obama Care. There was a choice of providers and I chose one that is major provider. You may want to Google healthcare.gov. The open enrollment period is in the fall but if you circumstances have changed, such as leaving a job you might still be able to enroll.

    I'm not doing a thru hike this year but am planning to do a long AT section. When I checked with the provider they said I would be covered if out of my home state and I used someone in network that accepted their card.


    Some people have mention getting supplemental travel coverage. I'm not sure that is needed in my instance as long as I travel inside the U.S.

  3. #3
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Yep, good old Obama Care, the ACA. It seems like this is tailor made for thru hikers because thru hikers generally have lower incomes the year of their thru hike. You should check it out.

    I've had OC under the Colorado exchange program through Cigna for the last 4 years, a high-deductible policy that was completely covered by a subsidy.

  4. #4
    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WesleyCBruce View Post
    I've heard of people getting health insurance for thru hikes. My google searches have not been helpful yet, so I'm curious if people can share what they have done when thru hiking.

    - Wesley
    What do you have currently? If you have good insurance through an employer you could continue it through COBRA if you want to keep it. This is typically expensive as you pick up the employer's portion of the premium which is often 75% or more of the cost. But, it's usually very good coverage compared to other options. You could just get catastrophic coverage at a much lower cost. There are also adventure type policies. The AT isn't a particularly dangerous place. The worst accidents are typically falls and perhaps a broken limb or soft tissue injuries, the worst illnesses usually norovirus and Lyme. Don't dismiss the potential cost of contracting Lyme disease. It can cost $20K+ per year to treat. When it comes to insurance you get what you pay for (or less) but never more. Look closely at the deductibles and such. The cheaper the policy, the higher the deductible and out of pocket costs before the insurance kicks in. Also look at the portability of any plan as you'll be hiking through 14 different states plus the ones you travel through to get there and back. As mentioned by others, The Marketplace/ACA whatever is definitely a good option as it may be subsidized while you're unemployed.

  5. #5

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    Many folks can get ACA plans effectively for free if their income is low enough. Its likely a bronze plan that has high maximum out of pocket so make sure you have some reserve funds. Also make sure the plan covers out of network services. There is a variation called a High Deductible Health Care plan which is very similar to a Bronze plan. If single you can put $3,550 in health savings account (HSA). You can use the HSA to cover the deductibles tax free but if you dont need it it stays in the account for as many years as it takes to spend it.

    Be aware there are Health Sharing plans out there that intentionally try to con folks into thinking its legit insurance. These were set up for religious groups and are not insurance, you pay them money but they decide if they will contribute to your bills. Some of the websites are intentionally trying to convince folks its insurance.

    There are also short term plans out there, they do not cover pre-existing conditions but do cover current medical conditions.

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