Claims Process

Emergency Room Visit FAQ for Visitors Insurance in USA

Emergency Room Visit FAQ for Visitors Insurance in USA

Though we all hope we never need to go to the emergency room while visiting the United States from overseas, it is always best to be prepared. Once crucial step of that preparedness is understanding how your visitors medical insurance works, and how to use it. These FAQs can help answer some common questions.

I took my mother to the hospital and she had multiple procedures done and ended up being admitted. Why was the x-ray and lab work that was done in the emergency room denied? I received "per injury/illness maximum has been reached", what does that mean?

You will need to refer to your policy's certificate wording to verify the maximum amount allowed for emergency room visits. Keep in mind that the amount listed is for all services that are provided, including but not limited to the room itself, lab work, diagnostic x-rays, the doctors bill etc. You are responsible for all charges that exceed the amount listed in the certificate wording.

My certificate wording has a different amount listed as the maximum amount payable for diagnostic x-rays and labs. Why are they not paying that amount?

If the x-rays and labs were performed as part of the rmergency room visit, the insurance payment will be based on the maximum amount allowed for emergency room visits. If you were to have lab work/diagnostic x-rays done at an independent facility, the maximum allowed payment would reflect the amount you are seeing in your certificate wording under "outpatient diagnostic x-rays and labs."

My mother had  a CT scan done because she fell and hit her head and now the insurance company is denying the claim. Wouldn't this be considered as diagnostic testing?

If the CT scan was performed before she was admitted it is likely the maximum benefit for the emergency room and all charges incurred therein was reached. The other possibility could be whether or not pre-certification was obtained for the CT scan. You will needto refer to your plan's certificate wording for details.

My mother was experiencing some chest pain. I called the doctor and they told me to take her to the emergency room. When we got to the hospital they said she was not having a heart attack and discharged her and now the insurance company is not paying her claims. I did what the doctor told me to do, so why is the insurance company not paying the claims?

Please refer to your policy's certificate wording to find out the rules related to the use of the emergency room. Most fixed coverage plans have penalties and or will not pay at all for the use of the emergency room if it is not followed by admission.

Will I still get network-negotiated fees if the insurance company does not pay the claim?

You will not. Network-negotiated fees are only applied to the eligible expenses that are payable by the insurance company.

My father ended up having a stroke and was later admitted into the hospital. The insurance company has denied the claim as a pre-existing condition but I purchased a plan that allows for the acute onset of a pre-existing condition, why is it still being denied?

The definition of an acute onset of a pre-existing condition states that treatment MUST be obtained within 24 hours, you stated that the symptoms were present 2 days prior to the hospital admission, therefore, the claims will be denied as a pre-existing condition and not allowed for payment as an acute onset.

Will ER visits be covered? If something happens to my mom I want assurance that I can take her to the Emergency Room and it will be covered. You never know what could happen, right?

Coverage for an emergency room visit may be different depending on the plan you purchase. Some fixed coverage plans state, "No coverage if the ER visit for an illness does not result in direct hospital admission" while others state, "No coverage if ER visit is not of an emergency nature". Keep in mind that it is not based on what you think is an emergency, it is based on the doctor's document. For example, a person may be having some chest discomfort and you may think it is a heart attack but if the doctors determine they are not having a heart attack but is suffering from say, indigestion or gas, this would result in a denied claim with no payment because it was not an emergency.

Emergency room visits are very expensive and should only be used in true emergency situations. While comprehensive plans typically pay for emergency room visits, a penalty may be given if the ER visit is not documented as being emergent in nature or does not result in direct hospital admission. For example, Atlas products will apply a $200 penalty, Patriot Products will apply a $250 penalty.

It is important that you understand how your plan works, especially for emergency room visits. We also advise utilizing a primary care physician or urgent care facility for non-emergency related illnesses and injuries to prevent denials and/or penalties being assessed. If an illness is severe enough to warrant hospital admission or if there is an injury that requires an emergency room visit, it may be covered based on the policy you purchased.

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Visiting USA?

Healthcare costs are very high in the U.S.

Buy U.S. based visitors insurance and enjoy your trip.

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Traveling abroad?

Did you know that your insurance may not cover you abroad or that it may only provide limited coverage?

Purchase travel medical insurance that includes emergency medical evacuation.

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New immigrant to USA?

You are not eligible to enroll in Medicare for the first 5 years.

Purchase new immigrant medical insurance to bridge the gap.

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Going on a vacation?

You could lose your non-refundable trip costs if you had to cancel your trip.

Buy a trip cancellation insurance package plan and be worry-free.

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Are you an exchange visitor to USA?

The U.S. Department of State requires all J visa holders to purchase compliant insurance.

Buy J visa medical insurance to meet your requirements.

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Traveling to Europe?

Schengen countries require most non-US citizens to purchase Schengen visa insurance.

Make an instant purchase online and get instant visa letter.

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Traveling frequently throughout the year?

You don't need to purchase travel insurance for every trip.

Purchase annual multi trip travel insurance for your travels.

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International student in the U.S.?

Most schools require international students to purchase health insurance.

Purchase international student health insurance that meets most school requirements.

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