How to Receive Medical Care in America
Once you purchase an insurance policy online, a confirmation notice and a virtual card will be e-mailed to you. You must take a print-out of the virtual card as proof of insurance and keep it with you at all times during your stay abroad. The confirmation email also includes information about the policy with links to further reference materials. Keep reading for information on how to use visitors insurance and what to do if you need medical attention in America.
How to Use Visitors Insurance
Seeking medical help
Medical attention in the U.S. is prioritized based on the illness and the physical condition of each patient. For immediate medical attention, call 9-1-1 or go to your nearest emergency room. Below is a list of some of the major symptoms you'll want to seek immediate medical attention for:
- Heavy bleeding
- Large open wounds
- Sudden change in vision
- Chest pain
- Sudden weakness or trouble talking
- Major burns
- Spinal injuries
- Severe head injury
- Difficulty breathing
- Major broken bones
Please note that pre-certification may be required for certain expenses. This means you need to get permission from your insurance company before you can receive coverage for certain medical treatments. Please see policy documents for exclusions and limitations.
Emergency & 9-1-1
Life-threatening health conditions such as cardiac arrest, respiratory problems, or major accidents require immediate medical attention. These situations are usually attended by paramedics and hospitals. You can call 9-1-1 in the U.S. to summon the paramedics and be transported to a hospital.
Once the call is made, an ambulance should arrive at your location very quickly. The paramedics will check your vitals and try to gather information for the doctors while transporting you to the nearest emergency facility.
Emergency facilities are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and service is given to any individual regardless of his or her insurance coverage. Unfortunately, this doesn't mean that all insurance plans will cover the needed medical care. There's a 48-hour cushion period to inform the insurance company about the event. If the insured person isn't in a position to do so, anybody can call and inform the company on his or her behalf.
As per the terms defined in the policy, all emergency medical services are paid for, even if the facility visited is not in the network.
When a patient needs urgent medical attention but does not face an immediate threat, urgent care facilities are often the best option. Environmental allergies, the flu and ankle sprains are some conditions that fall under urgent care. Visit the nearest medical center registered under your insurance company's network or covered under the support network.
Either call the phone number on your card or check the provider's online directory to select a facility in the insurance company's network. Seeking medical aid from a provider outside the network can leave with a high medical bill.
If your medical event isn't urgent and can wait until you return home, it's usually best to go to your primary care doctor. Your doctor knows you and your health history. He or she can access your medical records. Plus, your doctor can provide follow-up care and refer you to specialists. If you'd feel better seeking medical services in the U.S., you can also do that.
Keep a copy of all bills, receipts and any other documentation that may be important to your visitors insurance. Inform the insurance company about your visits and appointments. This will speed up your claim process.
When you visit the physician/hospital, show your insurance card to the reception/billing dept. They may make a photo-copy of your insurance card, and call the insurance company to verify your policy, and thereafter, bill the insurance company directly. In this case, you will just have to pay the deductible amount.
In the event you seek treatment outside of the network, you may be required to pay at the time of service. To find a provider in your area please visit here. If you are required to pay for services at the time they are provided, ask for detailed bills/receipts and file a claim with your insurance company.
Filing a claim
Claim forms can be obtained from the insurance company. File a claim within the specified period, generally within 90 days from the day the service was obtained. Follow up from time to time with the insurance company to make sure everything is going smoothly.
The time taken for evaluating a claim differs between each case. It may take a few weeks or months depending on several factors. The insured needs to be careful and must keep all the transcripts, bills and receipts to ensure that his or her end of the process goes as smoothly as possible.
Visitors insurance tips
- Keep a copy of the insurance card in your wallet at all times
- Read the fine print on your policy so that you understand the benefits and limitations
- Make a note of the important phone numbers and driving directions to local emergency facilities