Travel Medical Plans: Why Smart Travelers are Buying Them2 min read
Scores of Americans are traveling the globe for leisure, business, study and missionary travel. Because of the recent travel concerns raised by the H1N1 pandemic and terrorist threats like the Mumbai attacks, many of these smart travelers are better planning and preparing to avoid potential hazards.
Greater consumer awareness has led to an increase in the popularity of travel medical insurance. The simple fact is that existing health insurance plans are inadequate when taken across U.S. borders because they strictly limit overseas benefits. In addition, most health insurers will refuse to pay to get you to a higher standard of care should you need to be evacuated due to a medical emergency. Savvy travelers are aware of these limitations and are not leaving anything to chance.
Travel medical insurance policies are designed to pick up where your primary health plan leaves off. If you do not have health coverage, these plans act as primary insurance while abroad. The best designed plans offer more than emergency benefits. They cover big ticket items such hospitalization and surgeries but will also pick up the tab on physician office visits, ambulance services, prescription medications and more. The premier plans make it a point to cover sickness or injury due to a terrorist event or a pre-existing medical condition. Critically, some policies will pay medical providers overseas on a direct basis so you can avoid hassles and red tape.
Also, remember that there can be big differences in coverage rights when you buy travel medical insurance. Some plans are licensed and regulated in the U.S. while others sit offshore: beyond the reach of your local Department of Insurance. U.S. licensed and approved plans are called Admitted Insurance and should be given first consideration when choosing your plan.
Do your homework. Shop around. Compare the plans. Always ensure that you read the fine print rather than just scanning a benefit schedule. Ask your broker or insurance company to send you a sample policy so you can get a complete picture of what you’re buying.