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What is travel health insurance?

diverse group of people looking for travel health insuranceTravel health insurance is a specific insurance that is purchased when you and your family will be traveling. You would purchase it because either your personal health insurance coverage will not be honored or you do not have health insurance. Many individuals use travel health insurance to be sure that they are covered in the event that, while traveling, there is a medical emergency.

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Will my regular health insurance cover me while I am traveling?

It depends on your specific health insurance company as well as the type of coverage you have. Some health plans do not offer any medical coverage overseas. Others may offer coverage for emergency treatment, but this amount may not be enough to cover all the care you may need.

It is best to speak to your health insurance company and ask them what coverage you have if you are planning to travel abroad. The type of coverage you have, where you are planning to travel, and what your current medical conditions are all play a role in determining what kind of travel health insurance you may need.

Is it necessary to get travel insurance when going abroad?

While some health insurance plans offer some type of coverage, usually providing reasonable costs associated with your care, which still may not be enough. Depending on where you are travelling, some foreign physicians may require a cash payment before beginning or finishing any type of medical treatment.

Since laws may be different from the United States, an uninsured patient in a foreign country may simply be denied treatment. While hospitals in the United States will treat someone whether or not they have the ability to pay, foreign countries may not offer the same treatment.

Finally, some countries require that you carry some type of travel health insurance coverage before entering. Check with the American Embassy of the country that you are visiting to make sure you are properly covered.

Are there certain things that I should ask or tell my insurance company?

Staying in regular contact with your health insurance company before, during, and after your trip is the best way to help ensure that your health care needs will be taken care of.

  • Ask if your current policy covers you in the event of sickness or an injury.
  • Ask if there are any insurance riders that you can purchase that would cover you overseas.
  • Ask if you are covered if you return home and are hospitalized or become very ill because of something that you contracted in the foreign country.

It is also important to discuss with your insurance company whether certain activities are covered while abroad. For example, if you are traveling to take part in certain, dangerous activities such as scuba diving or bungee jumping, are you covered if you get hurt?

If you are covered by your plan, ask:

  • How the payment is authorized and made
  • Whether there is a financial limit
  • How the insurance company will make the payment
  • Find out if a liaison in the United States that will be available to assist you while abroad

If I get ill or seriously injured abroad, is there anyone who can assist me?

In most countries, a United States Consular Office can help:

  • American citizens get medical treatment
  • With changes in travel plans
  • Contact loved ones

Consular Offices can also manage the transfer of money to help pay for medical care in a foreign country.

Is there any way to find a list of doctors in the country that I am traveling to?

Yes, there are many resources available that will list doctors and other licensed healthcare professionals. The American Consulate in the country you are visiting is the best place to get detailed information on available doctors.

American Consulates will also have information on hospitals and medical clinics. However, it is important to remember that most foreign countries will probably not have the same technological advances in medicine that the United States has.

Is there anything specific that I should bring when travelling abroad?

Even if your health insurance company does not offer coverage abroad, it is still important that you bring your insurance identification along with your regular ID. In addition, if you do have coverage overseas, you should bring an insurance claim form.

Are there companies that provide specific travel health insurance?

Yes, there are many insurance companies that provide coverage at a cost if you are traveling overseas and do not have medical coverage. It is vital that you look at all the coverage options and speak to your health insurance company about any outside coverage you are looking to purchase.

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