Over two million South Koreans visit the United States each year on average. Many come for tourism. Others travel to the USA to visit family or friends who are already living here. Still more visit the US for professional reasons related to business. But whatever your reason for visiting the USA from South Korea, you should absolutely have visitors medical insurance.
What is visitors medical insurance?
Visitors medical insurance is travel health insurance for people who are traveling internationally outside their home country when travel includes the United States. Sometimes you may hear it referred to as travel insurance (which is technically a different kind of coverage) or travel medical insurance. But in the end, visitors medical insurance is simply insurance coverage designed for foreign visitors to help them pay for necessary medical costs while in the United States or during travel.
Why do I need to buy visitors medical insurance?
As you are likely aware, there is no such thing as socialized healthcare available to most people in the USA. Residents are expected to purchase their own health insurance, which is usually partially subsidized by their employer to help cover the significant cost.
Health insurance is absolutely essential in the United States because medical care is very expensive. To put it simply, a doctor’s visit in the US can cost more than you earn in a month. And a stay in the hospital can cost more than you earn in a year if you don’t have medical insurance coverage. It is a very different system than the NHI in South Korea.
Due to the extreme cost, it is very unwise to go without health insurance coverage in the USA. Visitors medical insurance is the best option for this coverage if you are temporarily visiting the US from South Korea.
Is visitors medical insurance legally required to enter the US?
Visitors medical insurance is only required for exchange visitors and international students in the USA on a J visa, as mandated by the US Department of State. As most visitors from South Korea are eligible for the Visa Waiver Program and thus do not need a visa to enter the US, visitors medical insurance is not legally required. Though for the reasons outlined above, all South Koreans visiting the United States should have insurance coverage.
Can’t I just use my private health insurance from South Korea in the USA?
Though the exact answer will depend on your insurance coverage, the answer is most likely no. There is no guarantee that any provider in the USA will accept international health insurance coverage. And even if it does, the cost for care in the US is much higher, so the limits of your domestic health insurance may be insufficient to cover costs here.
I have family living in the USA. Can they just put me on their insurance coverage?
They cannot. In the US, only spouses or minor children aged 26 and under can be covered as dependents on a primary health insurance plan. A visiting parent, aunt, uncle, brother, sister, or other family member cannot be covered. You will want to purchase visitors medical insurance to get the coverage you need.
I rarely get sick and I’ve never been injured. Is it really worth the cost and hassle to buy USA visitor insurance?
OK, but you likely know someone who has been sick or injured, right? Did they have advanced warning that they would get hurt or get a sudden illness? Probably not.
Visitors medical insurance is not for people who plan to get sick or injured. In fact, it will not cover you for any planned medical care. It is exactly for visitors to the US who suffer unplanned medical issues. After all, even the most careful, healthy person can easily break a bone or catch a virus, especially when traveling to a foreign country.
Besides, buying visitors insurance is not a hassle. You can easily compare numerous plans right on this website and purchase coverage in minutes. No paperwork or medical exam is required.
I have a pre-existing condition. Will visitors insurance cover that?
A word of advice: Please do make sure you read the policy certificate wording thoroughly prior to purchasing a plan. Not all visitors insurance plans offer the same coverage, so you want to make sure that you understand what you are buying. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.