Beginner’s Guide to Travel Medical Insurance

Beginner’s Guide to Travel Medical Insurance

What is Travel Medical Insurance?

There are two basic types of travel insurance, trip insurance, which covers costs related to trip disruptions and baggage issues, and travel medical, which helps you recoup financial losses from certain medical expenses which might occur during your travels. This could include anything from preventative care coverage to major medical emergencies like medical evacuations overseas. Travel insurance can also cover medical expenses due to COVID-19.

Why Do Travelers Need Medical Insurance?

Domestic medical insurance for U.S. citizens and permanent residents is not accepted outside the country and getting necessary treatment abroad can be costly. The price of a medical evacuation back to the U.S., for instance, can come with a bill of $50,000 or more. And the U.S. isn’t unique. Any regular health insurance acquired in a traveler’s home country likely won’t provide adequate medical coverage for your overseas travels.The COVID-19 pandemic has made travel insurance even more essential.

Fortunately, a good travel medical insurance policy can help cover the cost of medical and health services for travelers overseas.

What Does Travel Medical Insurance Cover?

 In general, travel insurance coverage helps travelers with medical costs like:

  • Services for any new sickness or illness that emerges during the trip
  • Healthcare for any accidents or injuries that affect policyholders
  • Necessary medical evacuations
  • The return of mortal remains, in the event of death

It’s less common for travel insurance to cover things like

  • Pre-existing conditions, or other problems related to existing medical situations
  • Preventive care like routine checkups, exams, immunization shots, etc.
  • Major dental issues
  • Vision treatments, checkups or eyeglasses
  • Maternity, pregnancy or childbirth

Comprehensive Vs. Limited Coverage

There are two main types of travel insurance, comprehensive and limited. Comprehensive, as you might imagine, gives you broader coverage options but is more expensive. Limited might be more appealing to younger, lower-risk travelers.  

How Does Travel Insurance Work?

Unlike trip insurance plans, which cover things like lost or delayed bags, trip interruption or cancellation, travel insurance plans can help pay or reimburse travelers for any medical expenses if an illness or injury occurs during their journey. But how does it work? 

Well before your departure date, you’ll want to search and compare your travel insurance options. When you find a plan that meets your needs, you’re ready to buy. Once you purchase a policy, you'll receive a virtual insurance card which you should print out and carry with you. This way, if you need to access medical care at an emergency room, urgent care facility or doctors office during your trip, you have physical proof of insurance.

During your trip

If you fall ill or become injured during your travels, seek medical help at a nearby facility. Depending on the type of policy you purchased, you might need to check your coverage network to ensure that the office or facility yoPayment process and claimsu visit is in your insurance provider’s network. Seeing a health provider outside the network could mean that services are not covered, and you could personally be liable for the cost without the benefit of your insurance coverage.

Payment process and claims

After receiving medical help, keep a copy of any bills, receipts or documentation the health care provider gives you, and show your travel medical insurance card to the reception or billing department. They will make a copy, verify your insurance policy, and bill the provider directly. In these instances, your only out-of-pocket expenses will be the deductible or co-pay amount.

In other instances, you may have to pay for services at the time, and then file a claim with your health insurance plan provider afterward. With this process, you'll fill out a claims form and submit it to the insurance company, which will then be evaluated. At the end of the process, the insurer will reimburse you for medical services according to the specifications of the travel medical insurance plan, its deductible and your level of coverage. 

COVID-19 Coverage

A lot of travel medical plans offer COVID-19 coverage options. This means that services like COVID-19 screenings, care and even quarantine accommodations may be covered. If you want to protect yourself and your travel companions against risks and losses associated with the virus, make sure COVID coverage is included in your travel insurance plan.

If you need help finding a plan that will work for your trip, our customer success team is ready to help.