Does your health insurance cover you abroad? | Traveling

Imagine this: you are traveling abroad and you develop a fever. You do not speak your mother tongue and are unsure whether your health insurance covers medical services such as doctor or hospital visits abroad.

While this is probably the last scenario to consider when planning your trip, medical emergencies do arise. But here’s the silver lining: Finding out what your insurance covers when traveling abroad is easy by asking your provider a few key questions. To determine what insurance coverage you have and what you need for trips abroad, first ask yourself these five questions.

1. What does my health insurance cover abroad?

The amount of health insurance available for international travel can vary widely depending on your domestic health care provider and plan. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs recommends that you contact your insurance company before traveling and inquire about the specific medical services abroad that are included in your insurance coverage.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also encourage travelers to inquire about what is excluded from their policy, such as risky activities. And depending on what is available to you, the CDC recommends considering an additional policy. The State Department also recommends that you inquire about details such as: B. Whether the plan includes emergency evacuations to the US and previous illnesses. You should also familiarize yourself with the expenses you may incur for medical procedures or services abroad.

2. What if I have Medicare?

Note that Medicare does not cover emergency medical services for travelers outside the country. There are some Medigap plans that may offer additional coverage, but keep in mind that there is a lifetime cap of $ 50,000 on emergency insurance for overseas travel.

3. What about emergency medical evacuations?

Few domestic health insurance companies pay to transport sick patients back to the United States. And an emergency evacuation can be expensive, costing more than $ 100,000, depending on your health and where you were at the time of the emergency. If you are visiting a remote location or if the quality of health care is below average, then you should conduct a cost-benefit analysis of investing in additional evacuation insurance.

4. Should I take out travel health insurance for my next vacation?

Investing in travel insurance is a smart idea. Before making a final decision, however, there are several factors you should consider, including what type of trip you are planning and whether you will be participating in risky activities such as diving or mountain climbing during your trip. According to the CDC, there are three types of insurance that travelers should consider when traveling: trip cancellation insurance, travel health insurance, and medical evacuation insurance.

And according to a report from InsureMyTrip, a travel insurance comparison and booking site, 75 percent of the site’s consumers choose comprehensive travel insurance plans, which typically include emergency medical insurance, emergency medical evacuation, travel cancellation insurance, travel interruption insurance, and baggage coverage.

Another important reason to get travel health insurance is that travel health insurance can help fill the gaps in domestic health insurance coverage. In addition, travel health insurance can provide 24/7 emergency assistance to help you in the event of a medical emergency. A licensed travel insurance agent can advise you on appropriate coverage limits and the right to insurance coverage for pre-existing medical conditions.

5. What if I need to make a claim?

A claim is usually required to apply for a reimbursement of medical bills. Most providers require all hospital records (usually translated if translated into a language other than English) and receipts to assess the validity of the claim.

Travelers are encouraged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) prior to international travel. This will notify the nearest US embassy or consulate of your travel plans. The local embassy can also help connect American travelers with a local medical facility.

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