When shopping for visitors insurance, many people ask, "How much travel medical insurance do I need?". They wonder what an adequate policy maximum would be. There is no one best answer, but the following information will help you make a better decision when deciding on health insurance while traveling in the USA.
Even before choosing the policy maximum, it is important to understand that there are primarily two types of visitors insurance plans, fixed and comprehensive. Fixed coverage plans provide limited coverage and are low-cost, while comprehensive plans provide better coverage and cost more. We always recommend everyone to purchase comprehensive coverage plans only.
The rest of this article relates to the policy maximum of comprehensive coverage plans.
What policy maximum do you recommend?
If you are over 80 years of age, the highest maximum available is $50,000. That is what we recommend.
If you are in the age group of 70-79 years, we recommend you purchase $100,000 as there are several excellent choices available in that policy maximum.
If you are under the age of 70 years, many policy maximums are available ranging from $50,000 to $8,000,000.
We recommend that you purchase at least $100,000 and preferably $500,000.
Comprehensive coverage plans are already expensive and $100,000 is quite expensive. Do I really need that?
Yes. The cost of healthcare is very high in the U.S., and people consistently exceed a $50,000 policy maximum for anything serious that requires a few days stay in the hospital. $100,000 is a more comfortable amount considering the high cost of healthcare.
In order to reduce the premium of overseas medical insurance, you can consider choosing a higher deductible such as $1,000 or $2,500. Of course, if you get sick or injured, you will generally have to pay that deductible before the insurance company starts covering anything. However, when you have such large expenses, paying $1,000 towards the deductible seems very small.
Even though prices vary by plan, many plans have comparable prices for $50,000 policy maximum with $250 deductible and $100,000 policy maximum with $1,000 deductible. In case of big expenses, you really would be relieved to have an additional $50,000 coverage when you need it.
Can I purchase $50,000 policy maximum now and upgrade to $100,000 if I see the need later?
No. You can't make a change to your policy maximum after the effective date of the policy. If that was indeed possible, no one would initially purchase higher policy maximum and an insurance company would simply lose money giving you extra money when you decide you want it to cover additional expenses.
Could you please give us some examples of scenarios where the treatment cost would exceed $50,000? Or how much would a heart surgery cost? Or what would it cost per day for hospitalization?
We really wish that we could answer such questions. Lack of transparency in medical billing is the root cause of most confusion in U.S. healthcare. This varies a lot by region and even medical facilities, and most prices are unknown until you get an actual bill. You can try calling your local hospitals and doctors to try to get an idea. We are sure that no one would give any straightforward answers.
But from your experience, what have you seen as the usual charges?
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as 'usual charges'. Simply, there is not.
Is there really no way you can give me any idea of what some common treatments would cost in the U.S.? Are you sure? Do you have any experience dealing with these matters?
Insubuy has been dedicated to offering visitors insurance for over 20 years. This is what we do every day. Even with all of our experience and knowledge, there is no way to estimate any charges or give you an idea, we can't do that. If such information was available, perhaps based on such database, we would have built the software tools to give you an accurate idea of what something would cost. We would not provide something to our customers simply based on guesswork.
Even if I choose $100,000, what if the treatment costs more than $100,000?
In that case, you would have to pay the difference beyond $100,000 out of your pocket. That is why you would choose $500,000. Of course, it is still possible that the treatment cost is beyond that. The higher the policy maximum you choose, the lower the possibility of covering the expenses from your own pocket. That is why the premium difference between $100,000 and $500,000 are not significant.
Are you simply recommending a higher policy maximum to make more money?
No. We, as a broker, work in the best interest of our customers. Our recommendations are purely based on our observations. You can also check with your friends, research online and make an educated decision yourself. Of course, if you need any further help, you can contact us at any time.
But $100,000 is a lot of money. Why would the treatment cost so much in the U.S.?
We would like to leave that question for the politicians to discuss and debate.