15 January 2006

Health insurance

One of the common questions people ask is what will we do about health insurance when we are in Italy. Turns out, one of the requirements for our visa is proof of health coverage for our entire stay.

Italy has a national health system where all legal residents can obtain access to the system, but for us to first obtain our visa -which will allow us to move to Italy and then become legal residents -we have to show we already have health insurance. This is a bit of a "catch 22" but goes in line with most of the other visa requirements in that they do not want you to be a burden on the Italian social systems.

Since our current health insurance will cease when I leave Safeco in March (and that policy is rather limited on international coverage anyway), I have been researching international travelers health insurance options for us in Italy. These policies provide similar indemnity coverage to what most would experience in the US as well as unique items such as medical evacuation costs, return of remains and even limited checked luggage and trip interruption coverage.

In this search a couple things jumped out at me: first it wasn't as expensive as I had initially feared. Secondly that Valerie's cost for coverage is higher than mine even though I am older. This is because she is still on the cusp of child-bearing years. (Never mind that we are not "able" to have children.) Third, they don't ask what country you will be going to when quoting costs. I would think that the chances of major disease such as the bird flu is higher in Thailand than in Europe.

With the internet all of this searching and actually purchasing the policy can be done from the comfort of or own lap-top.

One more item is now marked off our visa checklist.

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