while hiking through the rain forest in costa rica, he catches his foot in a vine and crashes to the ground. as his ankle swells to alarming proportions, he manages to limp back to the jeep and to a nearby private hospital. but when you take out your u.s. medical insurance card, the hospital staff shakes their heads. it’s cash up front or nothing.
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This happens more often than you think. Travelers assume their health insurance works abroad, but not all insurance plans will cover you for all destinations and situations. If you are planning a trip abroad and are wondering: “do I need travel insurance if I have health insurance?” here’s how to find out.
Do I need travel insurance if my insurer offers health insurance abroad?
When planning a trip abroad, you should call your insurance company ahead of time to ask if your plan includes overseas health insurance. some do, some don’t, and some will cover it only in certain situations. the United States. The state department suggests some questions to ask your insurer, including:
- Does my plan cover emergency expenses while abroad, such as returning me to the United States for treatment if I become seriously ill?
- do you need prior authorizations or second opinions before you can start emergency treatment?
- Do you guarantee medical payments abroad?
- Travel insurance is not the same as health insurance.Travel insurance with emergency medical benefits offers exactly that: benefits for losses due to covered medical and dental emergencies . it does not cover preventive, routine or elective medical care. appendicitis in amsterdam? probably covered. rhinoplasty in rio? not covered.
- travel insurance includes some important benefits that health insurance plans don’t offer.when you buy international travel insurance from allianz global assistance, you not only get benefits to cover the medical expenses of emergency. You also get emergency medical transportation benefits, up to $1 million (depending on the plan you choose) to travel to the nearest appropriate medical facility or to return home. This is huge if you need to be flown to a hospital, or need a nurse to walk you home, the costs will be exorbitant without travel insurance. You have to cancel your trip due to a covered illness, injury, or other covered reason.
- travel insurance includes personal and individual help in case of emergency.call the 24-hour support hotline from anywhere in the world, and our call center experts will help you, even serving as interpreters and even arranging to bring a family member to your bedside, if needed.
While we can’t speak to what your specific overseas insurance policy will cover, these are general policies from some of the major insurers.
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anthem blue cross and blue shield offers travel coverage, but draws a line between “urgent care” and “emergency care.” Emergency care, Anthem says, is required for an injury or condition serious enough to “seriously jeopardize the member’s physical or mental health, serious impairment of bodily functions, or serious dysfunction of any organ or part of the body.” body”.
“Urgently needed care,” on the other hand, “may not be covered to the same extent as emergency care.” For example, the Anthem says, a fever below 104° is considered urgent care, not an emergency.
aetna states that “emergency care is covered 24 hours a day, seven days a week, anywhere in the world.” An emergency, says Aetna, “is a situation in which you could reasonably expect that the absence of immediate medical attention could result in serious danger to your health or, if you are a pregnant woman, to the health of your unborn child.” Cigna advises members to check their policies: “outside the US, coverage is limited to emergency services as defined in the policy.”
In short, your definition of an “emergency” may differ from your insurer’s definition, and you may have to pay for medical expenses you thought were covered. That’s why it’s so important to buy travel insurance, u.s. news reports, because “it can help fill the gaps in national health insurance coverage.”
do i need travel insurance if i have medicare?
The short answer: yes. According to medicare.gov, the medical care you receive while traveling outside the us. uu. is not covered. there are some rare exceptions. If, for example, you’re traveling through Canada to get to Alaska when a medical emergency occurs, and the closest facility is a Canadian hospital, Medicare may cover your treatment.
You can buy a medigap policy to cover emergency care received outside of the united states. this policy pays 80 percent of billed charges for certain medically necessary emergency care outside the us. uu. after meeting a $250 annual deductible. Medigap coverage has a lifetime limit of $50,000.
the allianz global assistance onetrip prime plan, on the other hand, has no deductible and offers benefits for 100 percent of losses due to covered medical emergencies, up to $50,000 per trip.
three things to know about travel insurance vs health insurance abroad
We know this gets confusing and we’re here to help. Call our travel insurance advisors anytime at 1-866-884-3556, and they can explain your travel insurance options and coverage needs. travel happy!