Most domestic health insurance policies do not provide coverage outside of your home country. All domestic health insurance plans limit their coverage to a certain geographic area to give the insurance company control over their costs within that area.
For example, a US resident policyholder who travels to Canada cannot expect their health insurance company to cover a simple doctor or physician visit in Canada.
Ask Your Health Insurance Company What You Can Expect Abroad
If you are planning to travel abroad and have a health insurance plan in your home country, you may want to verify the coverage for your trip by reviewing your insurance policy document or by contacting your insurance company and inquiring if your health insurance policy provides coverage while traveling abroad. If it does, be sure to ask them what kind of coverage they provide.
If I Have Health Insurance, Do I Need Travel Insurance
Yes, you do! Because your domestic health insurance will not cover for your medical expenses when you travel abroad, it is critical that you buy travel health insurance anytime you travel abroad – even to close, neighboring countries. Without a travel insurance plan, you will be paying out of pocket for all your medical care, including but not limited to:
- A doctor’s visit
- A trip to the emergency room or urgent care; or
- Prescriptions from the pharmacy
In fact, in most countries you’ll be paying cash up-front for your medical care because the medical providers are not set up to directly bill an insurance company.
Foreign Doctors, Hospitals, and Pharmacies May Demand Upfront Payment
When you are traveling, foreign doctors, hospitals and pharmacies cannot directly bill your health insurance provider at home for one important reason: they are not in your health insurance network. This means you may have to pay for your medical treatment costs upfront and file a insurance claim later to reimburse the expenses.
Health Insurance Does Not Cover Emergency Evacuations
Another reason you should have travel insurance when you travel abroad is this: domestic health insurance plans do not cover the cost of emergency evacuations. Emergency evacuation is one of the most important benefits, travel insurance provides; this is a must-have coverage when you travel outside your home country. An emergency medical evacuation can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
If you are on a cruise in the Bahamas, for example, and you have a stroke, the onboard medical facility may not be adequate to treat or care for your condition, which means you would have to be airlifted off the ship to the nearest hospital. If you don’t have travel insurance you will pay those costs out of your own pocket.
In contrast, the cost of travel health insurance is very affordable. To see what it will cost to get health insurance for your next trip abroad, type a few trip details into the get a quote tool and compare all major travel medical insurance plans. You can now estimate your benefits and find out how much the travel insurance company will pay you before you buy travel insurance with our patent tool: Benefits Estimator, if a medical situation arises.