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Understanding Travel Medical Insurance

Understanding Travel Medical Insurance

A few of the major frustrations people encounter while searching for travel insurance are coverage restrictions, going through the claims process and understanding the policy documentation. This is where VisitorsCoverage can help. Read on to discover how to navigate these complex issues.

What is Travel Medical Insurance?

Travel medical insurance (also known as just travel insurance or visitors insurance) is designed to protect people from unforeseen illnesses and injuries that may occur while traveling abroad. A travel medical insurance policy will cover eligible treatment and services as stated in the policy documents. This is especially useful for people traveling internationally. Travel medical policies include benefits for medical expenses such as doctor or hospital visits, medical evacuation and repatriation.

Restrictions on Travel Medical Coverage

When travelers look for travel medical insurance, they’re often confronted with coverage restrictions. For instance, they might find that policies don’t include preventative care, pre-existing condition coverage, dental or vision care.

Preventative Care: Most travel insurance policies don’t have coverage for preventative care and pre-existing conditions. Preventative care including general physical checkups and flu shots are not urgently necessary. Instead, this sort of care is taken as a precautionary measure. Since travel insurance is meant to be short-term medical insurance for emergency situations only, it doesn’t cover non-urgent medical services.

Pre-Existing Condition Coverage: Pre-existing conditions are medical conditions that the person has, and is on medication for and/or aware of before the insurance policy starts. Most of the time, these medical conditions are long term and require regular management, e.g., high blood pressure, diabetes, heart problems, etc. Most travel insurance policies offer very little or no coverage for pre-existing conditions, as insurance companies view pre-existing condition coverage as high risk. In general, insurance companies regard a medical condition as pre-existing if it’s occurred within the three years prior from the travel insurance policy date.

Dental & Vision Coverage: Most people who live in the U.S. already know that in the U.S., dental and vision insurances are separate from general medical health insurance. Even U.S. citizens and residents need to purchase separate plans for dental and vision coverage. Travel insurance policies are almost exclusively for emergency health coverage, so they have very little to no dental or vision coverage.

We hope this helps clear things up. If you have any questions or need more assistance, our Customer Success Team is happy to help.

The Travel Insurance Claims Process

Another source of frustration for people researching travel insurance options is understanding the claims filing process. In fact, filing claims is often cited as one of the most mystifying travel insurance processes. That’s completely understandable; there are a lot of moving parts and claims must be filed carefully.

Travel insurance requires you to file a claim, whether the provider directly bills the insurance company or asks you to pay upfront. This is how insurance companies can regulate reimbursement. Once you file a claim with the required supporting documentation, the insurance administrator will review your claim and accompanying materials. When an assessment is made you’ll be notified whether your claim is accepted or denied.

If the insurance company accepts your claim, you’ll be reimbursed. If, on the other hand, your claim is denied, you have the option of filing an appeal. If you have more questions about the claims filing process, you can find out how to file a claim or manage an existing claim here.

Understanding the Policy Documents

Finally, another area of concern for many people interested in travel insurance is simply understanding the policy documentation. Before purchasing any travel insurance policy, travelers should read the policy brochure to make sure they understand the coverage provided, the eligibility requirements, the benefits and the limits. Travelers need to know what is covered by the policy and how much is covered. This reduces the chance of unexpected surprises, should you face a medical emergency abroad.

As with all forms of insurance, travel insurance can be complicated. At VisitorsCoverage, our mission is to make sure every traveler has all the information they need to make informed decisions on their travel safety options. If you need any assistance, our Customer Success Team is here to help clear things up for you.