When planning an oversea trip, most of you may not consider the possibility of getting ill or injured during your trip. However, injury and sickness can and do happen. When either injury or illness unfortunately happens to you, you will know the importance of medical coverage.
Speaking of medical coverage, some of you may think of your primary medical insurance. I would like to say that you cannot assume your medical insurance will go with you when you travel, especially when you travel abroad. Instead, if you are traveling abroad, it is a good idea to purchase a separate policy for your trip – travel medical insurance.
Why you need travel medical insurance while traveling abroad?
In fact, for some counties, travelers are highly recommended to carry an accident or travel insurance policy. Take Brazil for instance. According to Brazilian police and media report, the crime rate remains high in most urban centers and is also growing in rural areas in Brazil. In addition, street crime is also a problem for both local residents and travelers. So, you should carry proof of your medical insurance with you while in Brazil.
Surely, getting sick or injured is possible anywhere. However, you are more likely to get involved in a serious car accident in industrializing countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia. According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, death and injury rates from traffic accidents in industrialized countries are 20 to 80 times higher.
However, you should be aware that most medical insurance plans actually don’t offer coverage overseas. For example, Social Security Medicare Program (a health insurance program in the United States) doesn’t offer coverage for hospital or medical costs outside the United States.
Even for policies that cover you in foreign countries, the coverage may be more limited than you think. Also, oftentimes, they don’t pay for your medical evacuation back to the United States. You know the evacuation sometimes could cost $10,000 and more based on your location and medical condition. Additionally, many foreign medical care facilities and providers require payment in cash before offering service.
That’s why travel medical insurance is offered and gets increasingly popular today. This type of insurance is designed to bridge the gaps between your regular medical insurance coverage. It can lessen your worries about the cost of any treatment you might need while traveling.
But, what does travel medical insurance cover?
Broadly speaking, the major types of travel medical insurance cover two basic aspects: medical expenses from accidents or illness and emergency transportation, including medical evacuation. Specifically, you can find the following coverage in a travel medical insurance plan.
• Coverage for unexpected medical costs because of emergency medical care
• Coverage for unexpected dental costs because of an accident
• Advance payments to medical facilities
• Assistance in getting emergency medical transportation when you are injured
• AD&D and travel accident benefits to help look after you or your family if you are seriously injured or killed while traveling
• Emergency travel assistance services to help you locate a local and appropriate medical facility for your medical needs and those of your family
• Coordination of and reimbursement for emergency medical evacuation services
Speaking of medical evacuation coverage, it usually covers many types of medical evacuation, from helicopter or ambulance evacuation to medical care providers to look after you until you get to an appropriate medical care facility.
As an incentive, some plans also offer death benefits and coverage for emergency return trips to your home town. Just like travel insurance policies, travel medical insurance policies also come in different types, including:
• Single trip policy – This plan is for a single trip usually up to 6 months. It usually covers the length of the trip and is paid for up front.
• Multi-travel policy – Specifically designed for multiple trips, this policy option is often bought in 3, 6 and 12-month segments.
• Long-term policy – This is a continuous medical plan that covers you usually for up to 18 months or above. These plans can often be renewed, with benefits paid on a monthly basis.
Anyway, travel medical insurance may be purchased through insurance companies and tourism agencies. Here are some tips that may help you in buying travel medical insurance.
1. Ask your existing insurance company
Before you purchase a travel medical insurance policy, it is important to check to see what your current medical insurance covers when you are traveling abroad. You should ask your insurance company two questions:
• Whether your policy apply when you are outside the United States
• Whether your policy will cover emergencies like a trip to foreign hospital or an evacuation
2. Figure out the details of your travel medical insurance
When purchasing a travel medical insurance policy, figure out the details of the policy. For instance, you should find out whether the policy:
• Covers emergency expenses abroad such as returning you to the United States for treatment
• Covers high-risk activities such as parasailing, mountain climbing and scuba diving
• Covers pre-existing conditions
• Pays foreign medical facilities directly
• 24-hour assistance service
• Guarantees medical payments abroad
3. Compare different plans from different companies
Don’t buy your insurance in a hurry – it is better to compare policies from several different insurance companies. Compare their premium, coverage and customer service. Then decide what type of travel medical insurance best suits your needs. Anyway, bear in mind that the cost varies greatly, based on your age, your health, the cost and length of your trip.
Note: In fact, if you get ill or seriously injured overseas, the U.S. government will assist you. There will be a U.S. consular officer who will help you with locating appropriate medical facility and informing your family or friends. If needed, the officer can also help you transfer funds from the United States. However, be noted that payment of hospital and other expenses is your responsibility.
6 Responses to “Travel Medical Insurance: Your Safeguard While You Are Traveling Abroad”
Leave a Reply
Insurance Resources & Articles
Before they were acclaimed as Medicare Advantage (MA) programs, they were knows as “Medicare+Choice” or “Part C” plans. They provide beneficiaries with the option to receive Medicare benefits through private health insurance plans rather than the original Medicare plans. Read more
One matter less known in the field of Medicare is Medicare Fraud. It is understandable that such a fund reserve as Medicare would become an easy target of fraud. We live in a world where putting profits before people is the law. And on the way to seek more profits, all means are justified. It is the same thing as there are philanthropists and villains. Read more
Classic cars refer to those with a long history of more than 20 years. No matter how you get a classic car legally, inheriting from your grandpa or collecting at great expense, you are willing to protect it safe and sound. Infinity is a safer place to go than your garage. Read more
- 21st Century Insurance
- Mercury Insurance
- American Family Insurance
- Knights of Columbus
- Northwestern Mutual
- Principal Financial Group
- Berkshire Hathaway
- Mutual of Omaha
- Bankers Life and Casualty
- GMAC Insurance
- AXA Equitable
- Health Net