Travel Medical Insurance 101

A record number of Americans traveled abroad in 2016 for leisure, business, study abroad and missionary work- to the tune of 67 million. Given recent epidemics, natural disasters and security threats around the world- coupled with run-of-the-mill medical issues- travelers have more reason than ever to ensure their health and safety are fully covered prior to embarking on any trip. Americans are dedicating more and more time to preparing for their trips and researching coverage options available, and with good reason because many plans sound good, but don’t really deliver when you need it. That’s why we recommend GeoBlue to our clients as one of the best.

Why Has Travel Medical Insurance Increased in Popularity?

Americans are discerning shoppers when it comes to travel medical insurance, because there are limitations on coverage by their existing plans and once they step outside of the U.S.A., savvy traveler realize that they need a plan that will protect them when traveling to even remote or underdeveloped areas for treating certain life or limb-threatening conditions or injuries. Suppose you need an evacuation to a higher standard of care; most primary domestic insurances will not cover these costs or even assist with arrangements. This is a big gap in your most primary policies, and shouldn’t be left to chance.

What Will a Good Travel Medical Policy Do for You?

A good travel medical policy is designed to pick up where your primary domestic health plan leaves off, and fill these gaps. The most comprehensive plans will include coverage for big-ticket items such as hospitalizations, surgeries as well as medically necessary evacuations and basic services like physician office visits, ambulance services, prescription medication and more. The premier plans will also include benefits for injury or sickness due to terrorist events and treatment related to preexisting conditions. You want a plan that provides seamless billing between the healthcare provider and insurer for peace of mind so you as a traveler don’t have to absorb high medical costs and then claim the expenses for reimbursement. In addition, if you are planning on relying on your credit cards in an emergency you must be aware that some providers overseas won’t be able to accept your card.

Global Provider Networks

You want a plan that gives you access and direct pay to the best providers and include resources to find primary and specialists that have been vetted and you can trust, regardless of how remote your location may be. You want a plan where providers are selected based on their medical credentials, language proficiency and more. What good is insurance if you can’t find a doctor you can trust? Always ask the insurer what their vetting process entails and the certifications necessary for induction into their physician network.

Richer Benefits

For broader and deeper coverage, with fewer surprises at the time of claim, make sure to inquire whether coverage includes:

  • Pre-existing conditions covered to policy limit
  • Terrorism covered with no excluded countries
  • Cashless access to profiled physicians and hospitals in 180 countries
  • Coverage for medical evacuation

Healthy, Safe Travel

You can have real peace of mind with a well-built travel medical insurance plan that allows you to keep your focus on your work, studies, missions or just having enjoying your travel destination. When reviewing coverage, price is important but should not be the main issue because you want coverage that will actually protect you. So make sure to read the fine print rather than jus scanning a benefit schedule and ask the important questions. It’s a good idea is to download a sample policy to review from the portal before you purchase so that you can get a complete picture of what you are purchasing.

Mike's Take

Founder & CEO
When traveling outside the United States you don't want to be left without medical and emergency coverage. We've researched and found a really robust plan that provides a full array of travel and international medical coverage and even includes options to help with cost of an emergency evacuation and / or confinement. This product is perfect whether you travel on a short term or long term vacation, or if you have global lifestyle and make multiple trips in a year for vacations, or even work or study abroad in foreign exchange studies. You can get coverage from a 2 week leisure trip, to a school semester, a full 4 year degree, or book coverage for a long term work assignment. This product is great because it also provides a downloadable mobile app that works with either Android or IPhone, and allows you to access in-depth profiles of carefully selected doctors, dentists, hospitals, and clinics around the world! The app allows you to search for services based upon your international GPS location. In addition, many of these plans include costs associated with trip interruptions and displacements caused by illness, medical emergency, or even a terrorist event or political unrest and can help cover costs related to trip delays, schedule changes, and emergency evacuations. Take time to review your options carefully and when you find what works, you can enroll on line. I do suggest you book extra days past your scheduled return date as this will insure coverage is in place should an unexpected delay occur while traveling because you cannot purchase additional days once you depart the country and won't want to be left without protection. If you have questions or need help, give us a call and we can walk you through it.