Health Insurance for trip to US during COVID

We’re heading back to the US this summer to drop our daughter off to college. We’ll have to stay 6 weeks (two Pfizer shots 3 weeks apart + 2 week self-health management + 1 week college drop-off). As we all know, NHI reimburses for overseas medical, but only at the average service rate within Taiwan. Medical care in US is 10x the cost. We’re US citizens and our initial screen found:

  1. (most expensive, least coverage)
  2. Short-term health insurance like UnitedHealthOne (no pre-existing conditions or COVID coverage)
  3. Travel health insurance like Patriot Platinum America (cheapest, includes COVID coverage)
  4. Self-insure (not a rational option during the pandemic)

We haven’t checked the Taiwan insurance companies yet. Any suggestions or previous experiences are much appreciated!


I would also like to know what people find.

Especially since COVID vaccines in the US require insurance, even if you don’t need to pay out of pocket for them.

Last April when I looked, most travel insurance plans only covered up to US$150,000 in medical. There was no mention of COVID. But if you catch COVID and land in the ICU, you’re pretty much guaranteed the hospital will find out a way to make your bill cost more than that. Welcome to the richest nation on Earth!

You do not need insurance to get a COVID vaccine in the US.

COVID-19 vaccines are 100% free for every individual living in the United States - even if you do not have insurance.

Regardless of your insurance status, providers cannot charge you for the COVID-19 vaccine or administration of the COVID-19 vaccine. If you experience or witness any potential violations of this requirement you can report the matter to the Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, by calling 1-800-HHS-TIPS or the website TIPS.HHS.GOV.

You tell the place giving you the vaccine you don’t have insurance and they bill the government for it.

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Thanks. Given that the rationality of half of the US population is bounded, we’re concerned about the risk of infection from the time we board until we get home. It’s a serious risk these days - my brother ended up getting COVID on what we think was the day before he got vaccinated.

Not to mention getting back to taiwan is a problem if you are infected. Risky for sure.

And don’t expect any solutions for healthcare in the US. Maybe go in from canada? Meaning drop your daughter off in Canada and she would cross over herself.

Interesting idea, but I believe the Canadian border is closed to anyone but Canadian citizens.

Another thing is quarantine in taiwan, and I’m not sure if hotel quarantine is necessary. That is 30,000 minimum but the gov will reimburse 14,000 of that

Why not let her travel alone and visit her after you are vaccinated?

I assume she is on student health insurance now, so she would be OK?

Plus Covid is really taking off in Canada again. A number of provinces have gone into lockdown again and are restricting travel.

You can fly into Canada but you have to do a quarantine. I think you can cross the border into the States pretty easily after this–at least a lot of Canadians seem to be doing it.

When I went to university of texas student health insurance was over 250 a month. I have no idea how they could pay that. It was cheaper for me to work at walmart and get insurance through that. But walmart insurance had a 6000 dollar deductible though they gave about 500 dollars of HRA to help out. 500 dollars is peanuts in the states.

Your best hope is not get sick.

No idea why americans continue to put up with that. They rather put up with this than having the possibility of freeloaders mooching off of the system? I got news… There are already moochers. They are dressed in suit and tie.

My daughter spent the entire school year here in Taiwan studying remotely so we dropped her student health insurance last year. Her coverage won’t pick back up until Sep 1st, well after move-in.

We’re leaning toward getting the AZ shot here with my daughter before flying back, just to hedge against downside risk.

Hopefully Taiwan will loosen quarantine requirements for those vaccinated with a PCR negative 3-days prior, but who knows.

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Yea, but I have not heard any further rule change from cecc, and if you go back for vaccination you always risk infection prior to, or soon after vaccination. You will have to be extra extra vigilant during your time there to avoid infection.

should you get the shots there?

Moderna is coming to Taiwan… Moderna vaccine will arrive in Taiwan in May | Taiwan News | 2021/04/16

It shouldn’t be AZ?

I don’t know if normal folks will get it but even if az is all we get your chance of catching covid back home is much higher.

AZ available now for self-pay ($600 NT), but even two doses of AZ is ineffective against some of the new variants (source: AstraZeneca vaccine doesn't prevent B1351 COVID in early trial | CIDRAP)

Before we get merged with the other thread, Just want to go back to the health insurance question - is wierd that traveler insurance seems to be a better deal than short-term health insurance.

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Well, it only covers you outside of your home country. You might think “what difference does it make if I’m going to travel”, but these things do matter statistically speaking.

I think I’ve seen travel insurance that has health insurance for US citizens traveling to the US. In the past I’ve just prayed to all beings nothing happens to me when traveling back. I was hoping this thread would provide a list of such insurance companies…