Information on Travel Health Insurance
Travel health insurance may help to prevent financial devastation in the event of a medical emergency during travel. Many United States-based health insurance providers do not extend coverage outside the U.S.
For this reason, travelers should discover whether their health policy applies outside the country, and if it covers emergencies such as treatment in a foreign hospital and evacuation.
Knowing the facts about travel health insurance can help travelers find plans to match their needs.
Reputation and Stability
Obtain travel health insurance underwritten by a reputable provider. One way to learn about a company’s reputation and stability is through the international credit rating agency A.M. Best Company.
Another way to determine a provider’s stability is to learn how long they have been in operation, how many people they insure in other countries.
The time to purchase travel health insurance is before departure, after you solidify travel plans. Secure your passport, travel visas and airline tickets, and confirm your dates of departure and return. Purchasing early provides the maximum number of options.
Some companies are either reluctant or will refuse to issue insurance to customers already traveling outside their home countries. The safest approach is to begin the insurance coverage on the departure date.
Types of Plans
One option is a fixed plan. This plan usually covers a set dollar amount up to a maximum after you pay a deductible. For example, the plan may provide up $1,000 per day for three days of in-hospital care, with a $100 deductible. In this instance, that amounts to $2,900 the insurer would pay.
In general, hospitals often charge other services and amounts to the bill, so it is unlikely that a fixed plan would actually cover 100 percent of the hospital stay. Another type is a comprehensive plan, and many include coinsurance. With this type of plan, the deductible could also be $100.
The maximum coverage, instead of being an amount per service per day, is a dollar amount.
For example, the maximum could be $50,000. The policy might cover 80 percent of the first $5,000. After that, it could pay 100 percent all the way to the policy limit. In this scenario, the insured person pays the $100 deductible plus 20 percent of the first $5,000 for a total of $1,100.
The insurance company pays the remainder.
Factors in Pricing
Several factors contribute to the cost of travel health insurance. One is the age of the traveler. As with domestic health insurance premiums, healthy young adults cost less to insure than older travelers and adults with a history of illness. If there are dependents under age 18, their cost is likely to be lower.
Another factor is the choice of coverage limits. There are plans with a variety of maximum eligible medical expenses they will cover. Your choice of deductible amounts also contributes to pricing.
A deductible is the initial amount the policyholder pays before the insurance pays for any medical expenses. The dates of coverage, the policyholder’s country of origin, and the country you plan to visit can all have a bearing on the policy price.