Travel Medical Insurance
Travel medical insurance coverage can cause an international traveler a lot of grief when an emergency medical situation happens outside the United States. Some policies provide for travel health coverage while others have very limited provisions and many have no payout provision for foreign healthcare at all. In general, travelers who receive medical care in other countries will be required to pay in cash or with a credit card when the services are rendered, even if they are covered under an insurance policy at home. If you do determine that you have adequate travel medical insurance coverage under an existing policy, be sure to obtain copies of all bills and receipts for medical services rendered overseas. Except in very limited situations, Medicare and Medicaid will not pay for healthcare services outside the United States.
As with other international travelers, Medicare beneficiaries should examine their present health care provisions carefully to know exactly what to expect when traveling abroad and supplement their existing benefits with additional travel medical insurance as needed. Some Medigap plans (from the original Medicare plan) provide limited coverage for payment of emergency care services. Travelers with underlying medical conditions should look for a travel medical assistance company that stores a traveler's medical history so their medical records can be accessed from any foreign healthcare facility. When possible, travelers with pre-existing conditions should also carry a letter from their physician that explains his or her condition and lists the generic names of all medications, preferably written in the language of the country or countries being visited.
Travel Health Insurance Coverage
If you are planning a trip to another country, it is important to evaluate your existing insurance policies to determine whether you adequate travel health insurance coverage. In most cases, you can fill any gap in coverage by purchasing a short-term supplemental travel medical policy. However, it is always advisable for any international traveler to check out any company's resources before making any purchase. Health care provisions to look for in a travel health insurance policy include:
- Pre-Authorization Requirements for Facility Admissions
- Policies Regarding Out-of-Network Medical Services
- Coverage for Complications Involving Pregnancy
- Exclusions for High-Risk Activities Like Scuba Diving
- Injuries Related to Terrorist Attacks or Acts of War
- Whether a Second Medical Opinion Is Required
- Exclusions for Pre-Existing Health or Medical Conditions
Medical evacuation coverage can often be purchased in conjunction with a specific travel health insurance policy but it may be necessary to buy evacuation coverage as a separate policy. Sometimes companies that specialize in overseas medical evacuations will offer travel medical assistance through their own travel health insurance program.
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