Sticker Shock! Cost of medical insurance that will satisfy the requirements for visa

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Sticker Shock! Cost of medical insurance that will satisfy the requirements for visa


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Old 12th February 2020, 11:48 PM
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Default Sticker Shock! Cost of medical insurance that will satisfy the requirements for visa

Having just scoured the internet, including looking at several of the companies named on this site that folks have used to purchase the one-year health insurance coverage that meets the requirements for a long-stay visa (1 year), I am having sticker shock! Maybe I'm missing something and that's why I am posting this, asking for help and suggestions.

The requirements according to the French VFS portal as of today from Washington is:

"Travel health insurance certificate issued by the insurance company (covering any possible costs for medical repatriation, and emergency and/or hospital treatment, for a minimum amount of €30,000, valid in France for the whole stay. A copy of your American health insurance card is not an acceptable proof of adequate coverage)."

I have read elsewhere on threads here that folks get turned down for the visa if they don't have coverage with zero deductible, so I have been adding that to the quotes I am asked for from companies.

What I am seeing for a couple aged 61 and 65 are prices in the range of $3300 and up.

Is that what you all have experienced recently? Is there a company that you know of that is more reasonable (this is especially painful because we have the military retiree coverage Tricare but understand from posts that we really can't count on using this to present as our coverage --)

Any suggestions as to good company with better prices than what I am seeing? Or is this just the cost of doing business.
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Old 13th February 2020, 12:11 AM
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What I am seeing for a couple aged 61 and 65 are prices in the range of $3300 and up.
$275/month for health insurance? That's a great deal as far as US health insurance goes.

The wife and I paid about that (each) for AARO's top tier, no deductable, health insurance plan and that's far less than you'd pay for something in the US.

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Old 13th February 2020, 01:01 AM
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What Peasant said!!!! My 75 year old next door neighbor pays $300 ish/month for Part B Medicare Insurance plus $150 ish/month for medication copays, so in total $450 or so a month. The offer you're looking at is a deal if you are looking at it from a US viewpoint.

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Old 13th February 2020, 06:40 AM
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What I am seeing for a couple aged 61 and 65 are prices in the range of $3300 and up.

Any suggestions as to good company with better prices than what I am seeing? Or is this just the cost of doing business.
To clarify: you mean $3300 for the two of you? That is, an average of $1650 per person per year?

If so, that is an excellent price. I did a lot of research on health insurance before applying last summer for my long stay visa. Keep in mind that this is a $0 deductible policy.

Now, if you mean $3300 per person, that's different . . . .

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Old 13th February 2020, 07:01 AM
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A couple of points here on the insurance issue:

Any sort of health cover for people over 65 is going to be "expensive" given that nearly all insurance in the US simply "assumes" that the over 65 set has Medicare. Ask anyone who has tried immigrating to the US as a "retiree" over age 65 and finds they really can't get any sort of health cover.

Secondly, the health cover required for the visa is only really for the first year you're in France. You become eligible for the French sécu after 3 months of residence - though the registration process can take several months after that, hence the initial requirement of 1 full year of private cover. That one year transition period also gives you time to get used to how the system here works.

However, the French national system only covers about 70% of your health care costs and you will also require a mutuelle (top up cover) of some sort. You can use your Tricare for this, so hang onto this cover. But generally speaking, for a fairly comprehensive mutuelle, you'll be paying 100€ (plus or minus) per person. Mutuelle rates have just gone up - allegedly to cover new requirements for eyeglasses, dental and hearing aid cover, but also just to cover a general increase in health care costs and spending.

OTOH, comapre this to the so-called "co-pays" in the US system (and, I suspect, in the Tricare system) which will only get worse as you age. Years ago, when my parents were starting to require more and more medical care, I remember seeing signs at their clinic stating that the "co-pay" for a doctor appointment was $40. The going rate for a doctor visit here in France is currently 25€ (about $28) and all but 1€ of that is reimbursed if you have a mutuelle of any sort.

Think of the private insurance as a one-time moving to France cost - like plane tickets (one way tickets will run you pretty much the same) or the cost of shipping your household stuff over.
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Old 13th February 2020, 07:16 AM
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...My 75 year old next door neighbor pays $300 ish/month for Part B Medicare Insurance plus $150 ish/month for medication copays, so in total $450 or so a month. The offer you're looking at is a deal if you are looking at it from a US viewpoint.
I think that total, while not wrong, needs some clarification. For 2020 the cost of Medicare Part-B is around $145, which is deducted from the monthly social-security payment. Then a MediGap plan (supplemental or "top-up") can be anywhere from $70 to $300 an month, depending on the extent of the coverage - much like a French Mutuelle. Depending on the Medi-Gap plan chosen, there might also be co-pays for services.

The average drug coverage, Part-D, is around $35 per month. However, many Part-D plans have high deductibles and/or co-pays. If someone is taking a number of drugs, the total of the co-pays and deductible can get pretty high. But, that is really not part of the cost of the insurance.

On the other hand, if the costs your neighbor included did not include the monthly basic Part-B premium, and given the information they provided I'd guess they don't, their actual monthly healthcare costs would be more like $600.

Of course, YMMV
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Old 13th February 2020, 09:41 AM
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Perhaps my sticker shock is because I'm not used to confronting what healthcare costs!

My husband and I don't pay monthly premiums for our Tricare health coverage (I think of it as all those years of military service paid for that!). I do pay as of last year for Medicare - the $145/month for Part B. So relatively speaking, for us, the monthly premium we are looking at for this additional healthcare coverage is high - and for us a little painful since we don't really "need" it because of our Tricare coverage.

But so far from the responses I'm seeing, I am now thinking that the prices I saw must be the norm or better than the norm, so I will think of it as a cost of doing business. Thanks for the feedback.

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Old 13th February 2020, 10:04 AM
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My husband and I are both 71 and our health insurance for our long stay one year visa was $2500 each with 0 deductible with Insubuy. It does need to be 0 deductible. We just applied for CPAM after being here for 100 days. It was a pretty easy process and were told it will take about a month to get the temporary number. The hardest part is still getting the French bank account for the reimbursements!

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Old 13th February 2020, 10:29 AM
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I believe we have had members here who have purchased their insurance cover through Insubuy and have been able to cancel the policy once their CPAM cover kicks in. Irrespective, it might be worth determining whether the policies you are looking at allow you to cancel at any time, or say within the first 6 months of arrival, because that clearly could represent a significant saving.

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Old 13th February 2020, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by eastfalls54 View Post
Perhaps my sticker shock is because I'm not used to confronting what healthcare costs!

My husband and I don't pay monthly premiums for our Tricare health coverage (I think of it as all those years of military service paid for that!). I do pay as of last year for Medicare - the $145/month for Part B. So relatively speaking, for us, the monthly premium we are looking at for this additional healthcare coverage is high - and for us a little painful since we don't really "need" it because of our Tricare coverage.

But so far from the responses I'm seeing, I am now thinking that the prices I saw must be the norm or better than the norm, so I will think of it as a cost of doing business. Thanks for the feedback.
Don't forget, too, that once you're resident over here you can ditch the $145/month for Part B of Medicare. It won't do you any good here in France - though some folks hang onto it for coverage if you're visiting back in the US (but I think you could probably find travel cover cheaper than that to cover visits). Part A of Medicare is free and covers most hospitalization, which is the main risk if you're only in the US now and then. (OTOH, if you are keeping a move back to the US as a fallback "should things not work out" you want to think twice about cancelling Part B.)
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