Who is on the medical team?

Dr. Brian Martin will be designing and piloting our resident health programs. From an operational standpoint, these programs will be managed and executed by a diverse, seasoned medical team comprised of registered medical doctors trained in emergency medicine, physician assistants, nurses, dental hygienists and other professionals and specialists. To ensure all regulations are exceeded and to further bolster the efforts of our onboard team, we have partnered with a third-party medical provider that specializes in marine certification, staffing, supply chain management, equipment calibration and other facets of our medical operations tailored to the cruise industry. 

If you are a medical or health care provider and have an interest in retiring while still participating in the field you love while living a sustainable, global luxury lifestyle traveling the world, we’d love to welcome you to the team.

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Will an emergency helicopter be covered by insurance?

Yes. An insurance product will be offered that covers evacuation by emergency helicopter to the nearest hospital listed within the insurance plan. If you have a different hospital in mind, you would need to organize that with a private insurance company. There may be cases that a resident/patient might be taken back home if they need long term care. Insurance often covers this. When the patient is well they can come back to the ship at their own expense.

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Storylines Medical Team & Responsibilities

Who will be part of the Storylines medical team?  

The Storylines medical team will include: one full time licensed MD general practitioner with ER training; one preventative medicine physician; nutritionist; acupuncturist; aesthetician; physical therapist; dental hygienist, and two to four physician assistants and nurses. PAs will help ensure every resident receives personal and proactive healthcare. Technicians will also be trained to assist with simple hearing, vision and dental checkup and screening. A dentist will be on board. A support staff of trainers for fitness and yoga will also be available. 

Will one of the Storyline doctors be available to be designated as my primary care physician?  

Yes

What qualifications will the medical team possess? 

Medical personnel working on the ship will meet or exceed American College of Emergency Physicians standards and will have proven proficiency in preventative care, general practice and emergency medicine. 

What are the main roles of the medical team? 

The Storylines medical team will not only work toward helping patients maintain wellness and quality of life, but will have expertise in stabilizing seriously ill patients, ability to perform advanced life support practices, emergency cardiovascular care and minor surgical procedures. 

What additional roles will be expected? 

The medical team will be able to perform regular health checks, diagnostic testing and proactive therapeutic interventions. They are also involved in the evacuation of seriously sick or injured patients. 

What is the Storylines medical team ultimately responsible for?  

The medical team is responsible for the care and well-being of all passengers and employees of the ship. They will have a dual reporting structure, reporting directly to the ship’s Captain and the resident’s primary care provider when appropriate. 

What kind of cases will the medical team be able to treat and care for? 

Non-urgent general care for heart disease, diabetes and other chronic conditions; emergency medicine for acute coronary syndromes; cardiac and respiratory failure; infection processes; anaphylaxis; trauma and orthopedic injuries. 
 
Will Storylines medical staff have access to my online medical history when making diagnoses or determining treatment plans? (MY CHART or LUCY for example) 
Yes. Each resident will need to give permission to Storylines to access any on-land EMR systems and should also submit any paper records and lab results which we will upload to our EMR system. All information will also be accessible to a resident’s land-based medical provider.  

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Storylines Medical Facilities & Equipment

What will the ship’s medical center be like? 

The facilities will be similar to most small, acute care clinics on land. 

What will these facilities include? 

They will include intensive care units (ICU), treatment & examination rooms and a dedicated isolation and infection control area. 

What type of accreditation will the medical area have? 
The medical areas will be accredited to international healthcare quality standards and certified to ISO standards to meet or exceed the American College of Emergency Physicians. You can review these guidelines at the ACEP website

What will the standard equipment be? 

This includes wheelchairs, a stretcher, back board for spine immobilization, lab capabilities for standard blood & urine tests, oxygen, EKG, defibrillators, cardiac monitors and other equipment to gauge vital signs. Mobile units will also allow the medical team to provide care and testing in the comfort of Storylines residences. 

Will there be an EKG machine on board? Can those EKG tests be checked periodically?

Preventing, stabilizing and in some cases reversing cardiovascular disease (heart attack and stroke) is a high priority for Storylines – the hospital is well equipped with one full time physician having advanced training in emergency medicine. Testing will include on site blood work, stress and resting EKG, new wearable tech to monitor heart arrythmias, falls, along with all emergency medications including medications to treat a heart attack including thrombolytics and antiplatelet agents to help dissolve a clot.

Those residents that opt-in for optimal aging/preventive care will also have available to them therapeutic hyperbaric oxygen, advanced testing, nutritional, hormonal, and intravenous therapies including chelation and immune treatments.

Results of TACT Overall: there was an 18% reduction in heart events (death, another heart attack, stroke, stenting or bypass, and hospitalization for heart pains) by EDTA infusions above and beyond that provided by our effective treatments including statins and aspirin2 . When the group that took the EDTA infusions plus oral vitamins was analyzed, the reduction was by 26% compared with placebo. The effect was even more striking in patients with diabetes, where there was a 41% reduction in clinical events, including a 43% reduction in deaths over 5 years. There is nothing comparable in diabetes therapies.”

What additional emergency equipment will be on board? 

Additional equipment includes a dialysis machine, ICUs for cardiac emergencies, CPAP machines, electronic infusion devices, and mechanical ventilators. There is also a well-stocked compounding pharmacy and a clinical laboratory that can give some results within hours. 

How extensive will the on-board lab tests be? 
The ship has all the required diagnostics tests, some of which will be included as part of the annual checks. The ship has the ability to test for red and white blood cells, blood sugar, liver and kidney function, electrolytes and lipids. The ship will also have innovative functional medicine testing and wearable monitoring available for markers such as hormones, heavy metals, and gastrointestinal disease. Common rapid tests are available for pregnancy, strep throat, h.pylori, and COVID-19 or equivalent.  

What additional advanced diagnostic equipment and treatments are available? 

Digital 3D X-rays (mobile and fixed) to quickly diagnose fractures; ultrasound, CT scan and/or MRI equipment; doppler ultrasound for soft tissue injury and clots; functional lab testing including hormone testing and stem cell; prolotherapy treatment equipment; and vitamin & nutritional intravenous treatments. 
 
What is the ‘wearable technology’ program? 

The Storylines experience includes technologically advanced solutions at the forefront of health tracking. This includes wearable technology and medical kiosks to monitor O2/CO2 levels, blood pressure, temperature, heart rate, fitness levels, personal nutrition record, dietary plan and even menu options. Our team takes a holistic approach to health on all levels.  

Will annual mammograms be available on the ship?

This is still being discussed, however we will have thermography, an emerging technology that gives extra early detection and monitoring.

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Medicare Coverage

Will the ship be registered as a Medicare approved facility? 

Cruise ship medical facilities must adhere to the standards set by the American College of Emergency Physicians. The ACEP guidelines dictate that the infirmary must contain the proper equipment to handle a range of treatments and diagnostics. Storylines will meet all required registrations related to any Medicare services covered on the ship. 
 
However, “The U.S. government does not provide medical insurance for U.S. citizens overseas. We do not pay medical bills. You should purchase insurance before you travel. Please review the country information page regarding the country you are visiting before you travel.” See Travel.State.gov for additional information about insurance providers for overseas coverage

Where does Medicare cover me?  

Medicare will cover you in the U.S. and U.S. territories including: 

  • The 48 contiguous states 
  • Alaska and Hawaii 
  • The District of Columbia 
  • Puerto Rico 
  • The U.S. Virgin Islands 
  • Guam 
  • American Samoa 
  • The Northern Mariana Islands 

Medicare may also cover you in Canada if you’re traveling between Alaska and another state when you have a medical emergency and the Canadian hospital is closer than the nearest U.S. hospital that can treat you. 

Does Medicare cover me on a cruise ship outside the U.S.?  
Medicare will generally cover you on a cruise ship under the following conditions: 

  • The doctor treating you is allowed to provide medical services on a cruise ship 
  • The cruise ship is in a U.S. port 
  • The cruise ship is no more than six hours away from a U.S. port when you receive the medical services, even if they are emergency services 

If you receive medical services more than six hours away from a U.S. port, Medicare will generally not cover you. 

How can I get medical coverage on a cruise ship?  
If you have Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) you can enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan to help you pay your Medicare out-of-pocket expenses. Medicare Supplement plans C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, M and N generally cover foreign travel emergency care during the first 60 days of your trip. Once you meet a $250 deductible for the year, the Medicare Supplement plan may pay up to 80% of the charges for medically necessary emergency care outside of the U.S., including care on a cruise ship.  
 
Some Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C for example) require that I have a U.S. address or I can be disenrolled after 6 months.  Will Storylines be considered a U.S. address? 
Storylines will maintain a physical address in Florida which our residents are welcome to use. We do not know if that will satisfy the Medicare requirement or not.  

What if I have additional questions about Medicare coverage when traveling? 
Please contact your Medicare representative and clarify the coverage you have and what is not covered. Please forward any questions or concerns to our office so we can help explore additional options. 

In general, Medicare and Medicaid do not cover medical costs overseas, please check this website

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Other Insurance 

How does the Storylines insurance policy compare to general medical insurance? 

Storylines is negotiating a medical insurance program based on resident feedback (comments welcome) to provide an expanded and enhanced program beyond travel insurance for core basic medical services more expansive coverage for pre-existing conditions.

Will medical staff file insurance claims on a resident’s behalf? 
Storylines will have an insurance department to assist in most insurance claims, including those involving Medicare when applicable.  

Some Medigap plans cover foreign travel emergencies that occur during the first 60 days of the cruise. What if an emergency arises after the 60 days?  
Should this occur, the Storylines insurance policy will be activated.  

What is the progress on medical insurance?

As of 10/21 there is not an exact fit – we are unique in our approach and conventional travel insurance has a lack of consistent coverage for passengers with pre-existing conditions. This is currently being looked at to include wording that will not disqualify residents that have to adjust their medication due to “improvement of health” for generic or equivalent prescription medication replacement by the attending physician.

Due to COVID, insurance companies have had to restructure their approaches. This in some ways has been a detriment, and in some ways a positive. From an underwriter perspective we have companies looking at our unique proactive health and wellness approach and the upgrades related to infection control that no other cruise line offers. Being safer at sea than on land is very attractive whereas most cruise ship passenger tend to be “less healthy and higher risk” the longer they stay on board. With Storylines the opposite will be true, “the longer you stay the more you can play”.

We encourage all residents especially those with higher risk that they investigate their own private insurance and report back to us their findings.

We are currently working with several insurance companies and brokers to optimally create a bespoke policy that combines three types of policies:

A. “Group expatriate insurance policy” designed to cover financial and other losses incurred by expatriates while living out of country.

B. “Self-funded policy’ with a stop-loss payout for any larger claim that could arise which gives residents automatic coverage for most conditions and routine testing

C. “Single under-written” policies for higher risk residents.

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Costs

What is included with the annual assessment fees? 
Check-ups with the doctor are included. Also dental cleaning, eye exams and hearing screenings that can be completed by a physician’s assistant, nurse or technician are included. Any abnormal findings that required treatment by a dentist or physician may have a surcharge. 
 

What is health care going to cost me when I’m living abroad if my current health insurance policy won’t cover me and Storylines health insurance policy doesn’t cover everything? 

While we do not have pricing determined at this point, we want our community to know that we are here to nurture and care for each individual. Health and wellness are paramount to the Storylines experience. Regarding medical costs on the ship, our goal is to provide the best possible care at the most affordable rates possible. Some of our medical services will be included but where we incur costs, those costs will be passed on to residents and guests.  
 
Regarding medical costs off the ship, it is important to know that medical care outside of the United States is much more affordable. Many ex-pats pay for health services out-of-pocket because they receive excellent care abroad at an excellent price. It is important to have a health insurance policy in the USA because of the extremely high costs of receiving medical care in that country. We urge you to research medical tourism and ex-pats and we think you will find that health insurance is mostly necessary for emergency situations when residing outside the US.  

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Assisted Living, Palliative & Hospice Care

Will the medical staff provide specialty services including assisted living services, palliative and/or hospice care? 
While the ship is not intended to be an assisted living facility, it does offer many of the same amenities such as prepared meals, room service, entertainment, ADA accessibility, housekeeping, laundry services and onboard physicians. However, it is most suitable for active people who enjoy travel and have good cognitive function.  

Long-term residents of Storylines who are still highly functional (meaning thinking, eating and walking) may have access to additional personal care (fees apply); to be determined on a case-by-case basis. Just as with land based assisted living, if residents become acutely ill or get to the point where they need a higher level of care and Storylines were unable to assist, then they will need to get a live-in caregiver or move to a more qualified facility. While Storylines is not a good option for people who require palliative or hospice care, individuals who wish for a peaceful end-of-life transition should speak with the onboard doctor to make a future plan. 

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