When you are traveling overseas, purchasing travel medical insurance is highly recommended, but which international travel medical insurance plan is the best one? Deciding which is the best travel medical insurance plan to meet your needs can be difficult if you don’t know where to start. This article will help you understand so you can decide which plan is the best travel medical insurance plan for you.
What does travel medical insurance cover?
International travel medical insurance generally covers any medical conditions, injuries, or accidents that may occur after the effective date of the policy while you’re abroad. Additionally, some of the best travel medical insurance plans also cover acute onset of pre-existing conditions. You probably have health insurance at home, however domestic insurance companies provide no coverage or limited coverage when you are outside your home country.
Apart from the medical coverage, international travel medical insurance generally provides coverage for trip interruption, accident death & dismemberment, emergency medical evacuation, repatriation of remains, loss of checked luggage, emergency assistance services, and a lot more benefits that won’t be found in a domestic health insurance plan.
How much does the best travel medical insurance cost?
The factors that affect insurance premiums in travel medical insurance depends primarily on age, policy maximum, deductible, and the travel duration. Most travel medical insurance plans charge for the exact number of days.
Even though many travel medical insurance plans provide similar coverage, there are certain distinct differences between plans. Because there are differences, it is the best to get an instant quote on all of the various plans available for your situation, so you can compare the plans side by side to make sure you choose the best travel medical insurance for your needs. You can easily get quotes and compare plans on this web site.
Is travel medical insurance worth it?
Definitely. Many domestic health insurance companies don’t provide any coverage outside the home country. Even if they do provide the coverage, it may be very limited and be subject to much higher deductible, coinsurance, and out of pocket expenses. That is why travel medical insurance was created – to meet the insurance needs of international travelers. Additionally, the domestic health insurance plans would not provide the necessary and the very important coverages mentioned above, such as emergency medical evacuation and repatriation of remains, which are of immense help in case something major and unexpected occurs.
For U.S. residents traveling within the U.S., travel medical insurance is not necessary for domestic travel; therefore, most companies don’t even provide it in this situation. However, there are a few other types of insurance coverages for U.S. residents traveling within the U.S. that can be extremely beneficial in times of need:
- Travel Insurance provides trip protection coverages against unexpected incidents like that occur during a trip.
- Flight Insurance provides life insurance in case of a flight accident when traveling on a scheduled airline flight.
How much travel medical insurance should I purchase?
As healthcare expenses vary in different parts of the world, the maximum coverage you should purchase depends upon your destination. Travel medical insurance will provide the coverage up to the selected policy maximum. Keep in mind, that if you run into medical expenses exceeding the policy maximum you chose, you will have to pay out of your pocket for anything over it.
To be practical for any trip, choose a high policy maximum. If you are traveling to the U.S. where the healthcare expenses are the highest in the world, you should consider purchasing at least $100,000 and preferably a $500,000 policy maximum. Healthcare is also surprisingly quite expensive to some people when they travel to Europe, including the UK, as well as in many other countries such as, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Japan.
What is the best travel medical insurance plan?
The definition of the best is quite subjective and it will vary from person to person. Moreover, there is no travel medical insurance plan that is best for everyone, in any situation. See below for examples of a few travel medical insurance plans, each of these plans provides different coverages some are best for some people and their situations, but not for other people and their situations.
- Atlas International Insurance
Atlas International insurance is administered by Tokio Marine HCC - MIS Group and is underwritten by Lloyd’s, rated “A Excellent” by A.M. Best.
Atlas International can provide a policy maximum up to $2,000,000 for persons up to age 69. For 70-79 years, it provides the coverage up to $150,000 – this policy maximum is among the highest in the industry for this age group.
Atlas International insurance is Schengen visa insurance compliant.
While excluded in most other travel medical insurance plans, Atlas International insurance provides the coverage for many hazardous sports at no additional cost, as well coverage for the complications of pregnancy up to 26 weeks.
- Patriot International Insurance
Patriot International is administered by IMG and is underwritten by Sirius International, rated “A Excellent” by A.M. Best.
As Patriot International is available from 5 days to 2 years, it is the best travel medical insurance for persons going abroad on a longer trip.
Patriot International insurance is Schengen visa insurance compliant.
- Diplomat International Insurance
Diplomat International insurance plan provides optional coverage for many sports activities that are not included or even available optionally at a higher cost in most other travel medical insurance plans. These optional sports coverages offered is for several different levels of coverages for specific activities and it can be added at purchase.
- USAway Insurance
USAway insurance plan is worth considering as it offers generous sports activity coverage, war & terrorism coverage, as well as optional trip cancellation coverage. However, it is not extendable and is not refundable. This plan is the best travel medical insurance if you are sure of your exact trip length.
Instead of a single trip for a specific duration, if you are traveling abroad frequently on trips that last up to 30 days or less, you should consider purchasing annual multi trip travel insurance.
What is the best travel medical insurance for Schengen visa?
Many travelers going to the Schengen area require travel medical insurance, also called Schengen visa insurance. Insurance plans must meet the specific requirements of a Schengen visa, which is necessary for many people traveling to Schengen Countries in Europe.
Before the embassy or consulate grants a person a Schengen visa, the person is required to show proof of having valid Schengen visa insurance, which must include specific language in a visa letter. The only way to get a plan that provides the visa letter with the necessary language is to purchase Schengen visa insurance because only this type of insurance provides the required visa letter, which you can access instantly in MyAccount after you complete your purchase.
Only plans like Atlas International Insurance and Patriot International Insurance will have a visa letter available instantly. Go to Schengen visa insurance to get quotes, then compare the coverage in these plans with other available plans to decide which Schengen visa travel medical insurance plan best meets your needs.
What does travel medical insurance exclude?
All travel medical insurance plans have a list of exclusions and you should review them very carefully before making a decision. International travel plans generally do not cover routine maintenance of pre-existing conditions, wellness checkups, maternity, mental conditions and a lot more.
Review the certificate wording of each plan you are considering so that you can choose the best travel health insurance for your needs.
Can providers bill the travel medical insurance company directly?
Many health insurance plans available in the U.S. are PPO insurance plans where there are participating providers in a certain region, or all over the U.S., that are contracted with PPO networks to accept the insurance, bill the insurance company directly, and charge you only the network negotiated fees.
Naturally, many U.S. based customers familiar with the PPO network concept ask about the participating providers in a foreign country. Unfortunately, healthcare systems don’t work the same way all over the world.
For medical expenses outside of the U.S., the insurance company is still generally willing to work with the providers to settle the claims directly. And in many developed countries, the healthcare providers are familiar with the insurance network concept and cooperate with the insurance company by billing the foreign insurance company directly. If appropriate, the travel medical insurance company can also provide the payment guarantee to ease the concerns of the healthcare facility.
In any case, as the PPO network concept does not exist in most countries outside the U.S., there isn’t a readymade list of participating providers. It is not a deficiency of a given insurance company, but by design, as that is how the healthcare system in a given country works.
If you are sick or injured in a foreign country and if the hospital won’t treat you until you deposit a bundle of cash, it does not matter what travel medical insurance you have, if any. Their policy requires that cash be deposited and they are unwilling to listen or cooperate. Those are simply unfortunate situations that travelers may need to deal with in some parts of the world.
Perhaps after reading this, you’re still unsure what is the best travel medical insurance for you and these types of insurance don’t seem to fit your needs, there are other types of travel medical insurance for different situations. Read about how to choose the best type of travel insurance, to help you choose the appropriate type of international insurance for your travels.
Of course, we’re always available to assist if you have questions. Just contact us and we’ll be happy to help you.