Insurance Blog

Posted: 12/07/20223,182 Views

Millions of people come to the United States each year for vacations or business trips, to go to school, or to visit family. And while the USA offers a wealth of activities and attractions, it also has some of the highest healthcare prices in the world. For this reason, every visitor to the USA should purchase visitors medical insurance in case they become sick or injured.

But while visitors insurance can be immensely helpful when you need it, it does not cover everything that your domestic health insurance covers back home. Therefore, we highly recommend that you take the following steps before traveling to the USA in order to make the best of your trip. Similarly, if you have family coming to visit you in the USA, have them take these steps as well.

1. Get a Doctor’s Checkup

Make sure to meet with your doctor for a physical exam no more than a month or so before your trip to the USA. This will give you a better idea of your general health condition, and uncover any underlying health problems you were not aware of. It is far better to discover new diseases or conditions while you are at home with your domestic insurance and regular doctor than it is to suddenly suffer an unexpected medical issue in a foreign country that you could have caught beforehand.

2. Get All Necessary Immunizations

As of this writing, all nonresidents traveling to the United States are required to show proof that they are fully vaccinated for COVID-19. If you haven’t taken this step yet, now is the time. If you’re already vaccinated for COVID, now might be a good time to get any applicable booster shots that are available to you as well. Other vaccinations are not mandatory for international tourists in the USA, but it’s still a good idea to talk to your doctor and get the recommended ones you do not yet have. The last thing you want to do is come down with a disease halfway around the world. You can lessen this possibility significantly with the proper immunizations.

3. Get Prescriptions Filled for the Whole Trip

If you’re taking prescription medication, you will need to get those prescriptions filled with enough supply to last your entire trip duration, plus a buffer in case you decide to stay longer. If you run out of prescription medication in the US, a pharmacy will not refill it based on a prescription your doctor from your home country wrote. Instead, you’ll have to make an appointment with a US physician, have them examine you, and then prescribe the medication at their discretion. It is far easier to carry the medication you need for the full trip duration.

The same can be said for over-the-counter medication. The OTC medications you find at pharmacies in the US may be different than what’s available in your home country. Rather than take the chance, bring your preferred OTC pain reliever/antacid/etc. along with you.

4. Visit the Dentist

While it is true that some visitors medical insurance plans can cover acute, unexpected dental pain and dental injuries to sound, natural teeth in accordance with the policy’s terms and conditions, no visitors insurance plan will cover routine dental work such as cleanings, fillings, crowns, bridges, etc. If you need dental work or even a cleaning, be sure to get it done before you depart for the US. If you want routine dental care while in the US, you will have to pay for it yourself.

You can also look into dental discount plans that will allow you to receive dental care while in the USA for a discounted price. However, it is still best to get as much necessary dental care done as possible before leaving your home country.

5. Get an Eye Exam and Extra Eyewear

As eye exams, prescription glasses and contact lenses are not covered by international medical insurance plans, you will want to visit your eye doctor and get a thorough exam before coming to the USA. If you wear glasses or contacts, be sure to bring at least one extra pair in case they get lost or damaged. If you have to replace them or get any sort of routine vision care in the USA, you’ll be responsible for paying for it yourself.

But because unexpected things happen, you could also consider enrolling in a vision discount plan that can allow you to save significantly on eyewear and exams. However, it is still best to get all foreseeable vision care done in your home country.

6. Get Copies of Your Medical Records

If you have to visit a doctor or hospital in the USA, they will not have access to your medical history. Bringing copies of your medical records can greatly assist USA healthcare professionals in treating you, and may help your insurance claim get processed more quickly.

7. Buy USA Visitors Insurance

Despite the fact that visitors medical insurance cannot cover absolutely every health condition one may experience while visiting the USA (hence the reason for these suggested steps before you leave home), it can provide essential coverage for unexpected illnesses and injuries that occur after the effective date of the policy. It is not possible to predict getting sick or injured while you are abroad, and treatment in the USA is simply too expensive to afford without insurance coverage. Visitors medical insurance can help shield you from these high costs.

However, remember that visitors insurance is not for medical tourism. It is not meant to cover you if you are traveling to the USA for cancer treatment or a rhinoplasty. You can certainly still get those types of procedures done in the US; you will just be responsible for paying for them yourself. 

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