This article has information specific for those with international medical insurance while traveling in the US.
Becoming sick in a foreign country can be troublesome. However, with international medical insurance you are covered for eligible medical expenses while in the US.
When you are sick, it is important to understand which provider you should visit.
For a minor illness, such as a cold, flu, fever, or a sore throat, you should visit a physician or an urgent care. Before you visit a doctor’s office, an appointment needs to be scheduled first. In many parts of the US, you just can’t walk into the doctor’s office and expect to be treated. You will have to schedule an appointment first. Urgent care facilities are walk in clinics, but there may be a short wait, it’s best to check before you go to shorten the time spent waiting.
The emergency room should be used only for emergencies.
Please follow these steps to schedule a doctor’s appointment:
You should first know what insurance you have. If you received an ID card in the mail, check that for details. If not, check the email confirmation received after purchase and download the ID card or the confirmation.
If your insurance participates in a PPO network, it is best to visit the providers in the network.
For plans that use a PPO network, you can search for the participating providers.
For indemnity plans, you just visit anywhere. You can ask your relatives, friends, or search on the internet.
Please note that international medical insurance plans are not HMO plans. Therefore, you don’t have to select a Primary Care Physician. You can just visit the general practitioner or the specialist directly.
Call the doctor’s office and schedule a time that is mutually convenient to you.
When calling the doctor’s office, make sure to tell the name of the PPO network, if your plan participates in a network.
The doctor’s office may ask you to go to their web site and complete some forms, or they may send those to you by email prior to your appointment. If not, then you will have to fill in the forms when you visit their office. Typically, you should arrive 15 minutes before your appointment to process any paperwork. The paperwork may ask questions about your medical history, current medications, and other health related details. Make sure to answer everything truthfully.
Depending upon the plan, some insurance plans may ask you to request pre-authorization or pre-certification for some procedures. Please read your certificate wording to make sure.
When visiting a doctor’s office, be sure to carry your insurance ID card and a photo ID, such as US driver’s license or passport.
The doctor’s office may ask you to pay your deductible and/or any portions that you are responsible. Some doctor’s offices may ask you to pay everything upfront.
Regardless of whether the doctor’s office bills directly or not, you must file a Claim Form.