Millions of foreign visitors travel to the United States. Even though healthcare in the U.S. is among the best in the world, it is also the most expensive. There is no free or government healthcare in the U.S., at least for foreign visitors to the country.
If they were to get unexpectedly sick or injured while in the U.S., paying out of pocket would be impractical for most people. Even a simple visit to the emergency room may cost thousands of dollars. Anything more serious would cost tens of thousands of dollars—or even more than a hundred thousand dollars.
Therefore, it is very important to purchase short term medical insurance for visitors to the USA. This medical insurance for visitors to the USA is highly recommended, even though it is not required by law. Temporary U.S. health insurance would generally cover any new medical condition, injury, or accident that may occur after the effective date of the policy. Visitor health insurance plans are not typically designed to cover the chronic maintenance of pre-existing conditions, and are not designed to cover maternity, childbirth, preventive checkups, or vaccinations.
Some U.S. visitors insurance plans can cover incidents of acute onset of pre-existing conditions, which is usually an unexpected emergency arising out of a pre-existing condition that requires treatment within the next 24 hours.
Even though there are many different temporary medical insurance plans available for foreign visitors to the U.S., they primarily fall into two major categories:
- Fixed coverage plans: They are low cost, but they pay only a fixed amount for each and every procedure. You will be responsible for paying the difference out of your pocket, which could leave you facing a very large final sum. For this reason, fixed coverage plans are generally not recommended.
- Comprehensive coverage plans: They cost more but provide adequate coverage for eligible medical conditions. Most of them also participate in a PPO network, which is a directory of contracted healthcare providers that can bill the insurance company directly and also charge you the network-negotiated fees, providing you with cashless health insurance benefits.
Temporary health insurance for foreign visitors to the USA can be purchased either from your home country or from U.S.-based companies. It is highly recommended that you purchase only from the U.S.-based companies, as they are a lot more likely to be accepted by U.S. doctors and hospitals and significantly easier to deal with locally, both for you and for the healthcare providers.
If you are planning to travel to the U.S. for a few months, you may want to purchase temporary medical insurance that is extendable so that you can purchase for a shorter duration first and then extend the insurance if you decide to stay longer. If you were to purchase a new visitors insurance plan, any new medical conditions treated during the original coverage period would be considered pre-existing conditions in the new plan and thus be excluded from coverage.
Price Factors for Temporary Health Insurance
The price for temporary health insurance for foreigners to the U.S. depends upon several factors. A comprehensive coverage plan would cost more than fixed coverage plan.
Additionally, a higher policy maximum would cost more, while higher deductible would cost less. Premiums for older visitors would be higher compared to those for younger ones. The premium also depends upon the duration for which you get the insurance. Fortunately, most U.S.-based temporary visitors travel insurance plans charge only for the exact number of days specified at the time of purchase.
Many visitors insurance plans are refundable in case of early departure and no claims, with a small cancellation fee.
COVID-19 Travel Insurance for Foreign Visitors
With the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, absolutely anyone traveling internationally would be worried about medical coverage if they were to get infected with Coronavirus. Fortunately, there are many temporary health insurance plans for foreign visitors to the U.S. that provide COVID-19 coverage. You can simply enter the traveler's details, and it will display only the visitors insurance plans that can cover COVID-19 just like any other sickness that occurs after the effective date of the policy. You don't need to adjust the search filters or take any chances regarding whether your specific plan would cover Coronavirus or not.
Popular Temporary Health Insurance Plans
While there are many temporary health insurance plans for foreign visitors to the U.S., the following are the most popular:
- Atlas America Insurance: Available to purchase for any duration up to 364 days. Extendable any number of times up to 364 days. It participates in the well-known UnitedHealthcare PPO network, ensuring wide acceptance throughout the U.S. It also covers the complications of pregnancy up to 26 weeks of gestation. Acute onset of pre-existing conditions coverage is available for those up to age 79.
- Patriot America Plus Insurance: Just like Atlas America, Patriot America Plus is an excellent temporary health insurance for foreign visitors to the U.S., but it has slightly different features.
- Safe Travels USA Comprehensive Insurance: Another excellent visitors insurance and it participates in the First Health PPO network. It also covers one wellness visit up to $125 and provides the most coverage for those in the 80-89 age group.