My wife and I hope to spend some extended time in Italy & other European countries starting this fall, and we are concerned about health care insurance. We plan on staying for 3 months and then leaving the Schengen area for 3 month before we return. I've read some reviews on the company that advertises on this site Cigna, but I was hoping from some input from people on this forum. I was planning on paying out of pocket for any basic medical issues, but didn't want the exposure of anything major. We are both in good health, and not quite old enough for Medicare. Also is there an all around good bank that is in the US as well as in Europe to be able to access cash? Thank you in advance for your help!!
We found that a travelers insurance policy to be far cheaper than the expat policy people like Cigna. We went through Seven Corners and got a year long policy about $3000 for two people. It had a specific limit of I think maybe 500,000 EU but also included emergency evacuation back to the US. ------- Your ATM card should work throughout Europe. Credit Unions often offer the best deals on foreign currency transactions. Also, there are certain places, like unattended gas stations and the ticket machines for trains that only work with cash or a true chip and pin credit card or EU bancomat card. (I have never tried a US atm card at one of these) True Chip and Pin CC cards are very hard to get for Americans. You can use your US credit card all over, but it will always spit out the slip for you to sign.
I had a policy with Seven Corners for the initial period here. I found them completely unresponsive - my policy category was changed to a new category but 7 Corners refused to respond to any inquiries about the change or re identifying doctors under the plan. There are plenty of US cards with chip and pin: e.g., CitiBank, USAA, NFCU, and even AmEx cards have chip and pins. Whether you sign a receipt depends on the business more than the card.
I am returning to Italy at the end of the summer and instead of bothering with an Italian bank account I will be opening a transferwise account instead. My schwab debit card works pretty much everywhere and yes, I almost always have to sign a slip.
I have checked on usaa for chip and pin. The pin is for cash advance. I have tried my usaa card in Italy but every vendor treats it as chip and sign, and it will not work in gas station machines. Italy toll roads take it without a pin however
I have GeoBlue travel insurance. Way less expensive than regular expat insurance if you're not going to be gone for more than 6 months. They have been very responsive and helpful on the two occasions I've needed medical help. If you need a specialist, they will try to find one in their network. They'll make the appointment for you and pay the doctor/hospital directly. If there isn't someone available in their network, you can go to any doctor or hospital and get reimbursed.
They provide very comprehensive coverage at a variety of levels, which you can select. I highly recommend them. https://www.geobluetravelinsurance.com/