5 Reasons to Have Travel Health Insurance When Abroad
Reason #1: Many domestic health insurance plans don't provide medical coverage overseas. For those health insurance plans that do, coverage is usually for emergency medical care only.
In addition, overseas medical claims are considered "out-of-network." This means that you pay a much higher deductible and your co-insurance is higher as well. In short, you could easily owe $10,000 or more before your insurance benefits take over completely.
Government health programs such as Medicare or VA provide no overseas coverage whatsoever. If you have a Medicare supplement, check to see what kind of overseas coverage it provides. A few Medicare supplements contain some emergency overseas coverage, but only for the first 30 or 45 days abroad.
Reason #2: Very few domestic health insurance plans contain coverage for emergency medical evacuation back to the United States.
Depending on your location and health condition, an emergency medical evacuation could easily cost $20,000 to $30,000 or more. Virtually all travel health insurance plans contain coverage for emergency medical evacuation.
However, not all evacuation coverage is the same. For example, some travel health insurance plans only cover you for evacuation to the nearest appropriate treatment facility. Other travel health insurance plans provide for medical evacuation to the nearest treatment facility, and once you have been stabilized, provide evacuation services back to the USA (or to your home country) for follow-up treatment and recuperation.
Some credit card companies provide emergency medical evacuation coverage to their card members. However, rarely does such coverage include evacuation back to the United States (or home country).
When shopping for travel health insurance, always check a policy's definition of "emergency medical evacuation.” Find out if "back to home country" appears in the policy wording.
Reason #3: The U.S. State Department warns that without proof of travel health insurance, some foreign doctors and hospitals will require payment in cash before providing needed medical services.
In some cases, without upfront payment, uninsured foreign travelers may be refused service entirely. In "First World" countries, this would be rare. However, countries with socialized healthcare may not provide full services, or all services needed for “best outcome” to uninsured foreign travelers.
Reason #4: Some countries now require foreign tourists to carry travel health insurance.
At one time, the U.S. State Department published a “Foreign Entry Requirements” brochure, but no longer. For information on entry requirements for a specific country, you are now directed to this U.S. State Department webpage: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1765.html.
You may also contact the United States embassy or consulate of the country or countries you plan to visit for further information.
Reason #5: Travel health insurance is relatively cheap.
For example, for a person age 40 to 49 traveling outside the USA ($100,000 coverage, $250 deductible); the cost would only be about $2.00 per day for a good travel health insurance plan.
Given the low cost, it would be foolish to travel abroad without proper international insurance coverage.
Travel Health Insurance Article.