“How can you know for sure if your insurance will cover you abroad” can be a persistent, burning question in your mind when you are going out of the country. InsureMyTrip surveyed awareness of travelers visiting places outside the US. They found one in three people is not sure if their domestic health insurance may cover doctor or hospital visits during travel. Forewarned is forearmed. Check with your service providers before leaving to get needful coverage.
Call Your Health Insurance Company
Contact the customer service department for some answers:
- Does my policy cover me when I am sick or injured during travel outside the US?
- Is my policy sufficient for coverage regarding pre-existing conditions abroad?
- In case policy does give cover, will I have to bear expenses out-of-pocket before claim reimbursement?
Online service providers reaching out to employees across the country. The state wise consumers can pull data and information from vast digital database platforms to know more solutions and options open to them. Getting free online quotes is a just a click away here. Consumers can understand the basic terms, visit the market place as well as explore plans under standard levels of coverage. They can find out all about health insurance discount and subsidies, which help in getting individuals financial safety covers.
In her book,Healthcare, Insurance, and You: The Savvy Consumer’s Guideauthor Liza Zamosky informs consumers that most policies provide coverage for emergencies during travel. However, paying out-of-pocket is the norm and then return home to reimburse. According to Zamosky, understanding specifics of your particular health plan coverage, exclusions and definitions of emergency is critical. You don’t want to end up footing your medical bills because you have already paid for them out-of-pocket.
A medical emergency is often defined as a real danger to life: likely a heart attack or serious accidents. In addition to this, consider that even if your private insurer provides travel abroad coverage, coinsurance, deductibles and plan requirements apply too.
Original Medicare Won’t Help You
Lindsay Engle, a marketing specialist with Elite Insurance Partners, an insurance broker that specializes in Medicare has this to say about Medicare and travel abroad. Original Medicare does not cover outside the US. Customers need to buy additional coverage like Medigap Plan or Medicare Advantage Plan to cover for emergencies outside the country. Medigap plans C, D, F, G, M, and N cover only 80% of healthcare costs and that too during first two months of a trip.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is advisable to have emergency evacuation insurance. In case you need transport home or to another hospital for emergencies like heart attack, evacuations can be expensive, exceeding $100,000. As far as US healthcare insurers are concerned, very few will pay for your medical evacuation back to the United States.
Another thing, check your credit card before rushing to buy an evacuation policy. Some premium cards cover evacuation to the nearest hospital in emergencies and accident.
Benefits of Travel Insurance
Consider a health insurance plan whenever going abroad. It can act as primary or secondary coverage to fill in the gaps in your domestic insurance policy. A comprehensive plan covers:
- Trip Cancellation – cover specific reasons of canceling your tour. Sickness, injury, death in the family, natural disasters.
- Trip Interruption – for ending a trip midway. Reasons are many so take what may not work.
- Emergency Medical Coverage
- Emergency Medical Evacuation
- 24/7 Emergency Assistance – cover for doctor or hospital recommendations and translation services.
- Baggage Protection – get reimbursed for lost, stolen, damaged or delayed luggage.
Check credit card before deciding to buy a separate travel policy.
Cost of Travel Insurance
Be ready to bear 5-8% of your total trip cost towards travel insurance. If you want to cover pre-existing medical conditions abroad, ask for eligibility. Travel insurance is cheap – a $5000, 2-week Aruba vacation for a 50s couple would cost just $200 for a comprehensive plan. It covers $50,000 medical limit, $250,000 for medical evacuation plus trip cancellation coverage, according to InsureMyTrip.
“Travelers run a huge financial risk traveling uninsured,” said Martine G. Brousse with AdvimedPRO a service that helps patients with insurance claims. Buy easy and cheap travel insurance for peace of mind rather than dealing with consequences.
Finding Medical Help Abroad
Some primary information:
- Contact the local U.S. embassy or consulate (note: it will provide only a list of health resources, not recommendations)
- Visit the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers for a list of vetted English-speaking doctors and clinics worldwide
- Contact your medical insurance company for recommendations
Check out Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website before you travel abroad. You can beware of health risks and health care system including recommended vaccinations in your travel destination.