Fly without health insurance ?

Im a student pilot and thinking about getting back into flying
(about 100 hrs but never got PPL - but did solo couple times)
But I recently got layed off (like millions) and have no medical Health insurance now… but am in excellent health in my 50’s

Would you new or longtime pilots go out flying if like me have no health insurance ?
If got hurt or fell or maybe worse - I could not afford the medical bills myself at the hospital without some health insurance.

Is it stupid or careless to do a risky thing like flying without some
health insurance backup ?

That would depend, in my opinion, if you were married with children still living at home. If something should happen…would you want to risk financial ruin and burden your family with the costs associated with the injury. Of course, we both know, as all of us do…you could get injured on the way to the field.
Stupid? No…Careless?..maybe…selfish?..depends who you ask…yourself NO, your wife? YES. :laughing:

And as your definition of risky…I’ve been flying off and on for 25 yrs. Never had an incident. I’ve been driving for 35 years…I’ve had a few close calls, totalled a few vehicles, even ended up in the hospital once. So whose to say?

If you are lucky enough in times today and do have medical health insurance - Do pilots try to use their company subsidized medical insurance to help cover costs for the recurring pilot’s medical
3rd class or 2nd class ?
Must be nice to help defray the $100+ cost of it, right ?

BTW - Im single so … but my family might have to be burdened in $ way or other potentially… Id hate for that… it is selfish in ways if not have any insurance I guess

Is your medical current? That may answer your question.

As Beech said whether you drive or fly, things happen. I would put a lot of weight on Beech’s “depend” as the answer really is specific to how you feel with regards to the risk factor.

For my scenario, if I had no health insurance AND in good health, I would fly along with drive, boat, cross the road. If my health wasn’t so good (which you do say is not your case), then I would put that flying money toward some type of health insurance. Soooo…

As Beech already aluded to, it depends :slight_smile:

My medical insurance does not cover the FAA exam. (I’m 3rd class). I paid $60 for my exam in August.

:open_mouth: 60 DOLLARS??? Things are cheaper in MS!! Its 160.00 bucks here!!! Wow…I guess when he told me bend over and grab my ankles…he wasnt kidding!!!

Neither. Don’t let the lack of health care insurance stop you from what you want to do.

There’s risk in everything you do. You could lick an envelope to seal it and gt a paper cut on your tongue. The cut gets infected. You die. You could be crossing a street after looking both ways twice and still get hit by a car. You could get hit in the eye by a bird dropping its load and go blind.

In other words, don’t let the “coulds” stop you from doing what you enjoy or want to do.

Thanks all for ideas… no dont have a current medical. Will need to bendover and take it like man tho and get one if go back flying…
So the stinkin helath ins companies nitpick or know that it was a special FAA medical and won’t cover it like any other regular health checkup ?
That sucks

You could lick an envelope to seal it and gt a paper cut on your tongue. The cut gets infected. You die.
(Sounds like what happened to George’s fiancee Elaine)…

One thing with driving a car - here in Mass there is mandatory car insurance… so (I think) I might be covered under that (if in car accident) if got hurt and be covered under medical part there (never know tho)
Insurance companies are slimy and slicksters…
ohh forgot … we in Mass also (1st in US) have Mandatory Health insurance required if 18-65 yrs old … sucks … which Obama is modelling his US wide mandatory health plan on…
Dont want to get started on insurance tho…

Yehhh I am always thinking rethinking analzying every angle of every scenario prob way tooo much… and then freeezing

I need more of Tiger’s Just DO IT

Good question probably specific to the health insurance company. Mine does not cover a general physical exam at all so even not factoring the FAA, I won’t get coverage.

Oddly enough (typical insurance thought process), I go in with a “problem” to the very same doc and that exam is covered.

I will say that two of my medicals have caught very serious “symptomless conditions” that I didn’t know I had so I don’t mind one iota going every 2 years for a cursory exam.

Good insight into this. When I resume my lessons, I’ll need to get my exam - probably here in the next month or two. My current health insurance covers a yearly physical, so I was under the understanding that the FAA physical would count, and therefore be covered - maybe not huh? I’m already planning on switching my PCP to an FAA approved doc, hoping to streamline this process. Is part of the exam literally bending over? Sorry - that one stood out to me - something definitely to consider when I weigh the pro’s -v- con’s of getting licensed!

Ive heard also some pilots use 2 diff docs - their PCP and then their AME for flying and (try) keep the 2 seperate
( so in case of course your home doc finds something it won’t (maybe) get reported to FAA and ya lose your license)

But is this ok ? I heard also now the AME for flight medical they ask you
or fill out a form and sign with your life the name of your regular physician and prob when last visited or checkup.
Does the AME doctor call up and check with your regular PCP doctor and get your records or something ?
Can realy any doctors get/share this private info ?
I suppose the FAA form(s) must have somewhere you release/sign your privacy for this away with the wind - which allows them to do this.

Is this true ? Anybody had a recent FAA medical really know ?


The way Allen’s explained it - and the way that I’ve heard - the FAA exam is much more thorough, so anything found by your PCP is likely to also be found by the FAA medical examiner I’d think - no way to hide it from them. My thinking was, that if something came up and I was using the FAA doc as my PCP, that he’d be more understanding and see me as a person, rather than just someone trying to use him to pass my medical (if it was something temporary and minor, such as slightly high BP or something). I honestly don’t go to the doctor often at all - only when I’m really SICK and my PCP isn’t even in the town where I live - he’s in the town I used to live in 5 years ago (about 200 mi away), but because I go to the doctor so infrequently, if something happens, I schedule it for a Monday or Friday, take a day off of work and go back home for a long weekend. This is all stuff I was wanting to bring up on here, as I’ll be going through this soon myself. Allen, is there a list somewhere that you know of “disqualifiers” for the exam? (I remember you going recently and posting about it.) I hadn’t even thought about it until now, but I have what has been classified by previous doctors as a very slight medical condition. I’ve never thought much of it before, but with as picky as I’ve heard regarding these exams, I can see how it could potentially pose a problem for me. If anyone with any experience with this has some knowledge in this area, feel free to PM me and I’ll run it by them - know you guys have me curious…

Having come from a medical full of comedy of errors last year … 8903#88903 the answer to the above is no. You on the other hand are responsible for getting supporting medical information (if needed) on reportable conditions. I would highly recommend using the AOPA turbo medical form.

No. HIPPA regulations prohibit this.

No. If you do not have any reportable conditions, the form does not solicate doctor names.

See above link or … 7400#97400 for the outcome of my medical.

The following is from the AOPA website (URL is restricted to members). If member, go to medical search for disqualifying conditions and you will see this from the source.

Disqualifying conditions
These conditions disqualify a person from holding a medical certificate under FAR Part 67. A special issuance (authorization) can be granted in some cases, such as diabetes. A special issuance grants a medical certificate that allows the pilot to fly but may impose some conditions or limitations:
Diabetes mellitus requiring insulin or oral medication,
angina pectoris,
coronary heart disease,
myocardial infarction,
cardiac valve,
cardiac transplant,
substance dependence or abuse,
failed Department of Transportation drug test,
disturbance of consciousness or transient loss of nervous system function without satisfactory explanation,
personality disorder,
bipolar disorder (manic-depressive psychosis).

Cautionary conditions
The FAA has established specific procedures for medical certification of pilots who have the following conditions.
Cardiovascular: hypertension, angina, angioplasty, bypass, coronary artery disease, stent, arrhythmia, significant murmur, cardiomyopathy, pacemaker, valve replacement or repair.
Diabetes on oral medication, diet, or insulin
Drug or alcohol problems
Gastrointestinal: ulcers, GERD, inflammatory bowel disease, hepatitis.
Hearing impairment
Immunodeficiency disorders (HIV)
Malignancy (cancer)
Medication usage
Motion sickness
Amputations and paralysis
Neurologic: Loss of consciousness, seizures, paralysis, transient ischemic attacks, cerebrovascular conditions (stroke).
Psychiatric and psychological: attention deficit/hyperactive disorder (ADD/ADHD), psychiatric, psychological, or mental disorders, substance abuse.
Pulmonary/respiratory disease: asthma, pulmonary emboli, spontaneous pneumothorax, sleep apnea.
Kidney stones, renal transplant
Vision: color vision deficiency, glaucoma, monocular vision, intraocular lens implants, cataract surgery, vision acuity refractive procedures.

Thanks for the info Allen. Darn it - so psychosis is a disqualifier?? - guess I won’t be flying anytime soon. No - actually, I have a heart murmur. On the list, it shows “significant murmur” under the cautionary conditions - I’m not sure what the threshold is between a slight and significant murmur, but hopefully I should be in the clear. At every physical I’ve had, they’ve always asked me if I knew I had a minor heart murmur and told me to be aware, but it’s never limited me from anything. I’ll remain optimistic on that one and I guess I’ll find out soon enough. Thanks again for looking it up and posting that Allen.

Is the murmur a new condition or a “previously reported condition” on a previous medical?

Previously reported, no biggie for you, been there done that for my kidney stones I had 4578 years ago waaaay before I took up flying. I just put that and my high BP in previously reported and these are non events for the current medical. Potassium I have to have checked before medical with results in hand at exam since I am on an HCT (diuretic) for my BP

If the murmer is new, the AOPA turbo form should guide you to what documentation you need (it did for my DVT’s) before you go to the ME.

No - I was born with it. All growing up, they’d tell me that “no cause for concern - it should heal itself”, but anytime I go to a new doctor, they always ask me if I knew about it, so it’s not going anywhere I don’t think. It’s never given me any cause for alarm - I’ve played sports all growing up and still am very active and run nearly every day. But what I deem minor and what the FAA deem minor are two different things, I’m lead to believe… Hopefully, it’s nothing more than just a note in my file.

How does the AME verify/check/test for stuff when you get the physical ?
I understand for Class 3 - they only do a urine sample.
No blood or stool sample taken. No EKG done (unless for Class 1)
Then all tthe rest of eye, ear, throat normal routine check of stuff

Is this correct ?
Just wondering how does the doc verify or doublecheck whatever people happen to put down on the medical form.
Im sure doctors take what patients put down on form with grainofsalt -
either patients forget by mistake or on purpose - sometimes.

How does the AME verify/check/test for stuff when you get the physical ?
I understand for Class 3 - they only do a urine sample.
No blood or stool sample taken. No EKG done (unless for Class 1)
Then all tthe rest of eye, ear, throat normal routine check of stuff

Is this correct ?
Just wondering how does the doc verify or doublecheck whatever people happen to put down on the medical form.
Im sure doctors take what patients put down on form with grainofsalt -
either patients forget by mistake or on purpose - sometimes.

The AME does his/her own physical on you.

The form requires you to list pretty much your entire medical history. I can imagine that being complicated for someone who has more of a medical history than me.

I know the big things that often get picked up during the AME physical are hypertension, especially because maybe people may not be aware that they have it, vision issues like colorblindness, and heart issues. The AME and/or the FAA can order additional tests if they don’t like something and want more information, whether it is based on something in the physical or something you report. In my case, I took the requests from the FAA back to the treating physician (either a specialist or my PCP, depending on the issue) and have them order the tests so it would be covered by my insurance or had them forward existing test results. In all of these cases, the FAA wanted a letter from the treating physician describing EVERYTHING about the situation.

If you were to start having tests done and they start finding something else you failed to report, you could be in some trouble. I believe the questionnaire is filled out and signed that you have reported everything as correctly as you know it. Now, if they find something new that you didn’t know about, you’d be OK legally, but subject to a mess of new tests.

In your case with a heart murmur, they very likely will ask for a report from the treating physician that it is “no big deal.” I have no idea if they’ll accept that, but you can appeal a decision to deny a medical.