This is a continuation of yesterday’s article, discussion of some of the issues and challenges of moving to the Philippines as a single man with a low, fixed income. Part One is here.
Th4ese are questions from a reader,
marked off this way
Followed by my comments, clarifications and free, lay person’s advice. remember I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal, financial or medical advice. My opinion only.
… Now, in reference to medical issues, it appears that there is medical insurance that I get purchase from the U.S. that will cover me in the Philippines and it covers me entirely for almost exactly the same cost as my Medicare…
Well, first of all I’d be interested in knowing more, a lot more about this option. Since basic Medicare (Part A) is free to all Americans over age 65, I can only guess your “same cost as my Medicare” reference is to Medicare Part B, which is an option when you reach age 65, which you can, indeed ‘take or leave’.
But keep in mind that any US-based plan that I know of requires Medicare Part B as it’s “foundation”. Typically plans for Americans over 65 require Medicare to be the primary insurer and then the commercial plan ‘picks up’ what Medicare did not cover. This is so strongly written into the majority of plans that even my government-provided military health care plan requires I use Medicare first. They pay what Medicare does not.
Since Medicare does not pay in the Philippines,m this amounts to my “free” US military medical plan costing me 90-something dollars a month, because to have the “free” plan I have to have Medicare Part B, even though in the Philippines it’s completely worthless.
So I am not trying to beat a dead horse here, but I’d like to know more about any strategies that exclude Medicare after age 65. It does not seem to me to be and “either/or” type choice. It seems that to stay US-based you Have to opt for Medicare part B
… I am not paying for Medicare right now, .but only because I have no coverage outside of the U.S.. For whatever strange reason, medical insurance from the U.S. for Latin America is 3 or 4 times what I would have to pay for the Philippines. I could get cheaper insurance here, but I have to be a resident first (catch 22 so to speak). So medical insurance for the Philippines from the U.S. is cheaper….
Again, I’d appreciate learning more about who this insurance provider is. I can not see how a US provider can compete with. say, Philippine Blue Cross, whose Philippine only rates are about 1/5 of Blue Cross US rates for coverage that will pay outside the US. Once you include the US in any plan the costs seem to skyrocket.
In six year living here I have yet to see any Philippine-based plan that is not way, way cheaper. In fact if you buy a Philippine-only coverage Philippine Blue Cross and add in US coverage, the cost increases immensely … roughly four or five times the price.
To me it makes no sense to live in the Philippines and pay for medical coverage at US rates. The cost savings in going ‘Philippine only” can be huge.
… On the other hand, I have been in Honduras for almost 4 years (have to get out of here), and have not had to deal with anything other than basic sinus issues, headaches, and one time having mild Dengue. I am disabled, but functionally healthy. So I even question needing insurance, but I am 61 and anything can happen. As such, if need be I will get insurance and if all works out with the Filipina I will eventually marry here and perhaps then get even cheaper insurance in the Philippines…
I’m a little confused by7 the “here’s” and “there’s” in that statement, but it does seem as if you are creating and obstacle that doesn’t exist. You do not have to be a resident or the spouse of a Philippine citizen to avail of any health insurance in the Philippines. Even PhilHealth the national health care plan is specifically available to foreigners, since the foreigners are billed and pay in cask (a few hundred pesos per month). Trivial. But, then, so are the benefits.
… I am really looking for the best way to be somewhat comfortable and have a woman who will love and care for me. I do not have to live in an expensive high rise apartment or fancy house, but I do not want to be on a street or in a closet. So the Philippines seem like the place to go. I just want to do everything right, as I said, but I am confused. I am trying to not let a gorgeous Filipina and sex control my thinking. So I write to you. I hope you will forgive my stupidity…
First of all, you are not stupid. I won’t let anyone else on my site call another reader ‘stupid’, and I forbid you to also, even if it’s yourself. Asking, when you don’t know, is not stupid.
The stupid people I know are the ones who never investigate anything and then write in for help, bleating about how bad life has treated them when there was ample evidence they could have looked at that would have kept them out of trouble, had they only cared to.
But I’ll say this. My impression is you are worrying more than is necessary and you are almost looking for things that will trip you up … instead of proceeding more hopefully. I sense a lot of pent up anger, hurt and even a trace of hostility in your writings that make me wonder where on earth you would be happy. The Philippines won’t fix that, my friend.
I see so many people moving here thinking the Philippines is some cure-all that will make them happy. No country on earth can create happiness, and no move can effectively make you happy, because wherever you go, there you are.
From what you have said so far, it sounds like the Philippines could be a good solution for you. Your budget is tight, but it will be just as tight in any country and your money will go along way in the Philippines.
And unlike so many who have written in here, you have actually taken the initiative to already live outside the US … a huge step.
But one thing I think you need to worry about (which will cause you less worry overall), stop being worried about the details. You haven’t even made the move yet and you are worrying about buying an airline ticket 12 or 16 months down the road. Immigration regulations (or the way they are enforced, at least, change constantly.
Hell none of us knows if we’ll even live 18 months, That’s three rainy seasons and almost three Christmases away, Live for now.
This statement you made, “I just want to do everything right,”?
Well it ain’t going to happen. Between now and whenever, things will go wrong, they always do. You, like every other human on the planet, will make some mistakes (or decisions that appear to be mistakes but prove to be the right one after all … impossible to know until life as passed on for a bit). Don’t worry about them, live for the now, so that whenever that huge ‘whatever’ it is’ happens you will have at least had some joy before it comes.
There is virtually nothing you can do that is all THAT wrong, with, for example, your visa worries. There are a lot of people in this live in the Philippines “space” who seem to be perpetual worriers, even arguing about arcane aspects
of the Philippine Immigration laws.
They are arguing over what amounts to trivia. You don’t even need a visa to come here. Get on a plane and fly. The rest will all work out.
“I just want to do everything right” is not a good motto for living in the Philippines. It’s as if you were promising to drive here and follow all the traffic laws to the letter. Ain’t gonna happen, and why worry. As they say, “It’s more fun in the Philippines”.