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Health Insurance While Traveling: What Do You Need to be Protected


Health Insurance While Traveling: What Do You Need to be Protected

Policy Scout
Policy Scout

When you're preparing to travel abroad you may focus your preparation on booking the perfect hotel, flight and rental car, making dinner reservations, and researching top attractions to visit. One thing you should definitely add to your list for travel preparation is travel health insurance. It is rare that your regular health insurance will cover the costs of health issues that happen while you are abroad, so it is especially poignant if you plan to go international.

Here is everything you need to know about getting health insurance while traveling.

How Travel Medical Insurance Covers You

When you get health insurance for traveling, it's important to note that it works somewhat differently from your normal health insurance. Most users apply for travel health insurance for a single trip, with coverage only for the dates you specify. These should be the dates of your trip plus one or two days at the end in case a flight gets delayed. Additionally, many plans include things that your usual everyday coverage does not include. There is a focus on evacuation in the case of a medical emergency. This means that the costs of getting you to a location to receive proper medical care will be covered. They also often include coverage for accidental death and dismemberment, meaning transportation costs for your body are covered by the plan. That may sound morbid, but it's an important consideration due to the high cost. Getting travel health insurance reduces the financial burden on your family should the absolute unthinkable happen and allows them to focus on what is important in the moment.

Travel medical insurance is not generally for long-term voyages during which you will need regular check-ups and well doctor visits. It focuses on treatment for medical emergencies. It often has coverage for dental problems as well, while in everyday health insurance, dental is separate. Health insurance companies that provide services to travelers often provide a list of suggested facilities for treatment, making it easy to find a trustworthy hospital or doctor in an unfamiliar place.

Travel health care coverage is different than trip cancellation or interruption insurance, lost baggage coverage, and delay insurance. It only covers your medical costs while abroad and doesn't reimburse you for any other loss due to your emergency. Some companies offer plans that combine travel health insurance and the other aforementioned types of travel insurance, so make sure to do your research to pick the plan that will work for you.

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Who Needs Travel Health Coverage?

There are several types of people who might need health coverage while traveling, but they all have one thing in common: they are traveling, typically internationally. Americans can get it when they go to another country, even one as close and familiar as Canada. Foreigners can also get it when they come to the US to work, visit family or see the sights. Other people who should consider health coverage for international trips are missionaries, those who go to foreign countries to volunteer for a good cause and students in study abroad programs. Most health insurance plans, even Medicare, the American health care system for people over age 65, don't cover medical costs while abroad. However, a few Medigap plans and some PPO plans do have some international coverage. Some credit cards also give you medical coverage while abroad, so make sure you are not already covered before you get travel medical insurance. 

What Types of Plans Are Available?

When it comes to travel health insurance, most people get a short-term plan that covers a single trip. These travelers only go abroad once or twice per year and that's enough for them. They don't need more coverage than that. Those who are a bit more travel-friendly use time-based travel health insurance plans available in 3, 6 or 12-month increments. If you plan on taking several trips, travel a lot for work or are going on one long trip abroad, this might be a great option. Long-term travelers like ex-pats, travel bloggers and anyone who lives on the road for more than a year should look into a more long-term solution. There are international plans for long-term travelers that are more like typical health insurance plans with a monthly premium and continuous coverage.

Travel Insurance Plan Pricing

When you are looking for a travel insurance plan, it's important to shop around to get the best price and to see what different types of coverage each plan offers. The pricing of different plans varies according to what the plan offers, especially the coverage limits, in addition to your trip's length and your own age. The higher the coverage limits, the longer the trip and, in general, the older you are, the more expensive the plan will be. Even so, it's possible to get a plan for under $100 for a short trip abroad for most applicants. Many plans also offer different options for deductibles, the amount you pay before the insurance company contributes towards your medical expenses. If you choose a plan with a higher deductible, you may save a few dollars on your travel health insurance expenses.

Now when you are planning your next trip, you'll have all the information you need to get the right travel health insurance plan for you. Add it to your travel preparation list and you'll have greater peace of mind while you are abroad.


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