Last Updated: Wednesday, July 15, 2020
Due to the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), many people traveling abroad, including visitors to the U.S.A. and their families, are concerned about whether medical treatment would be covered if they were to fall sick from coronavirus. As the disease continues to spread globally, they have many questions.
These FAQs aim to clarify some of the questions specific to travel medical insurance. As the situation is evolving rapidly every day, it is best to check with us for the latest information.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued Level 3 global travel warning on March 27, 2020. Prior to that, the CDC had issued warnings about several destination countries.
Q: Will I be covered if I get infected with coronavirus?
A: Exclusion varies based on the insurance plan:
Charges resulting from a disease outbreak in a country or location for which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Warning if a) the warning has been effect within the 6 months immediately prior to your date of arrival, or b) within 10 days following the date the warning is issued you have failed to depart the country or location.
As of Friday, May 15, 2020, coronavirus coverage will be available to customers who purchase the ExchangeGuard and StudentSecure plans on May 15 and afterwards.
As of Wednesday, July 15, 2020, coronavirus coverage will be available to customers who purchase the Atlas plans and VisitorSecure plans on July 15 and afterwards.
Anyone that has purchased the insurance up to 3/27/2020 can have the coronavirus coverage for a maximum of 10 days from 3/27/2020. If the CDC had already issued a travel warning for a given destination country prior to 3/27/2020, the coronavirus coverage would end within 10 days from the travel warning for a given country.
Any Illness or Injury incurred in the Destination Country as a result of epidemics, pandemics, public health emergencies, Natural Disasters, or other disease outbreak conditions that may affect a person’s health when, prior to the Insured Person’s entry into the Destination Country, any of the following were issued regarding the Destination Country
- The World Health Organization had issued an Emergency Travel Advisory
- The United States Centers for Disease Control & Prevention had issued a Warning Level 3 (avoid nonessential travel)
- A similar governmental agency of the Insured Person’s Country of Residence had published, communicated or issued a Travel Warning or Emergency Travel Advisory restriction or official declaration informing the public about such health issues before the Insured Person traveled to the Destination country.
People who traveled and purchased prior to 03/27/2020, and whose resident country didn’t issue a warning about their destination country prior to their travel and purchase, will continue to be covered for COVID-19.
People who have traveled and not purchased as of 03/27/2020 would not be covered for COVID-19 after the CDC level 3 warning. They must have traveled and become an insured person prior to the warning being issued.
As of Wednesday, July 1, 2020, coronavirus coverage will be available to existing and new customers who purchase Patriot Exchange Program, Student Health Advantage plans.
No specific exclusion about the epidemics, pandemics or CDC, WHO or other travel warning. It would be treated just like any other illness and subject to the general terms and conditions of the policy.
They specifically exclude coverage for the coronavirus for policies purchased on or after March 11, 2020.
As of the CDC Global Pandemic Warning Level 3 on 3/27/2020, any insured not already located in a destination under a CDC Warning Level 3 has 10 days of coverage for charges related to COVID-19. Those already in a country under a CDC Warning Level 3 would have 10 days of coverage based on the date that the warning for that country was first issued.
For policies purchased prior to 3/27/2020, where travelers not in Level 3 areas have “normal” coverage for all illnesses except COVID-19, they will have coverage through April 6 for COVID-19. This is the tenth day following the global warning on March 27. After this, COVID-19 will no longer be covered.
Insureds will continue to be covered for eligible non-COVID-19-related expenses after the 10 days have elapsed. This means that policies will continue to cover other illness and accidents, as per the policy wording. New coverage / plans may be considered in the future, but at this point, no policies will cover charges related to COVID-19.
Q: I don’t have any symptoms, but I want to get tested to confirm that I don’t have coronavirus. Will visitors insurance cover that?
A: It is not covered.
Q: Some insurance plans (such as the “Safe Travels” series) include a “Wellness Visit” benefit. Can it be used for Coronavirus testing?
A: Wellness visits are governed by ICD code, which does not include specific testing. Therefore, it will not cover the coronavirus test, even if the doctor advises that you should get tested within the course of the wellness exam. In any case, as $75 is the total payout, the benefit usually doesn’t cover 100% of the wellness exam, anyway.
Q: I noticed that the prices of toilet paper and hand sanitizer have gone up significantly. Have the visitors insurance companies similarly raised the prices due to high demand?
A: No. Fortunately, insurance prices are regulated by law, and no visitors insurance company has raised prices due to coronavirus.
Q: If I have the symptoms of coronavirus, go to the lab for tests, and the results are negative, would I be covered for that test?
A: Test expenses are not excluded simply because the results are negative.
Please note that the exclusion related to CDC Level 3 Travel Health Notices, where applicable, still applies.
If you have symptoms of a sickness, the insurance company would cover whatever is medically necessary, as long as it is not excluded due to other restrictions such as travel warnings, pre-existing conditions, etc. Medically necessary procedures are not considered preventive checkups.
Q: How does insurance decide if the medical condition I contracted is a new medical condition or coronavirus?
A: Only a medical professional can diagnose when a person acquired COVID-19. The insurance company would rely upon the professional opinion of the treating physician. Only a medical professional can diagnose when a person acquired COVID-19.
Q: I have read that coronavirus can cause pre-existing conditions, such as high blood pressure, to flare up again. Will insurance cover this? How should the claim be declared?
A: Different companies have provided different answers:
Tokio Marine HCCMIS:
The complications would be covered if the cause of the issues was a covered condition, i.e., coronavirus.
More details are required for more specific cases. It depends on the location of the insured, where they are traveling, etc. Coverage for pre-existing conditions depends on the condition. The location affects the pandemic exclusion due to travel advisories.
The virus is treated the same as any other illness, including how pre-existing conditions are applied to chronic conditions.
If you have a question that this FAQ doesn’t include, please contact our office at ofni or +1 (972) 985-4400 for help.