International Travel Medical Insurance
Whether you are a United States citizen traveling abroad or an international traveler in the United States, there are times when you may need medical attention which can be quite costly if you don’t have insurance to cover those services and procedures. International travel medical insurance can be written for both U.S. citizens when traveling outside the United States and for citizens traveling within this country or temporarily living or studying here. While many of the benefits are similar to domestic health insurance coverages, there are some broad distinctions as well.
Medical Maximums and Deductibles
If you are looking for affordable international travel medical insurance, be aware of the medical maximums and deductibles you choose when purchasing an insurance plan. Just like any domestic product, premiums will be largely affected by maximums that usually run anywhere from $50,000 to $1,000,000 USD. Of course carrying coverage up to a million dollars will be quite expensive, but remember, that just one medical evacuation in a foreign country could run as high as $90,000! Deductibles can be set from $0 to $5,000 (or more!) and remember that unlike maximum coverage, premiums go down with higher deductibles.
Co-Pays and Coinsurance with Medical Coverage
Some plans allow for a co-payment where the insured pays a specific amount and the insurance covers anything above that amount. This is very similar to how it is handled with domestic health insurance and the doctor or medical facility you use on foreign soil most likely will not accept co-pays. You would need to check with the insurance company you have a policy with to see if there are specific providers abroad, and which countries they are located in. There probably would be providers in the United States for foreign citizens holding international travel insurance in the U.S. that are on the co-pay system. Coinsurance would take on a couple different formats. The first type would be for U.S. citizens traveling abroad which would pay 100% of medical bills after the deductible was met. The second type would pay a percentage, usually 80%, after the deductible is met. This type of insurance, when referring to travel medical insurance is considered to be coinsurance.
Other Coverages Available
While it is classified as international travel medical insurance, you policy may have other coverages that aren’t typically thought of as ‘medical expenses.’ For example, some insurance companies offer coverage for lost luggage or trip cancellation. These coverages are added as endorsements to the policy and aren’t necessarily medical in nature, but can protect you against loss if for some reason the airline cancels a flight or loses your luggage. Optional coverages by endorsement might include such things as emergency evacuation in times of political unrest, repatriation of bodily remains in the event the insured dies abroad, accidental death and dismemberment, terrorism, unexpected recurrence of a preexisting condition, emergency reunion and even return of minor children.
There is an old saying that says something to the effect 'the only thing you can expect is to expect the unexpected.' This is never truer than when traveling outside the country of your domicile. Medical emergencies to crop up at the most inopportune times and other countries have no financial obligation to treat you under those circumstances. The only way to adequately protect yourself against unexpected illnesses or emergencies is to find an international travel medical insurance plan that has a broad range of coverages that will pay for those situations should they occur.