“Does my medical insurance cover me when I am abroad?”
You might assume that your regular medical insurance covers you abroad, and you do not need travel medical insurance. This is a common misconception. If you’re lucky, your regular medical insurance may cover some medical services abroad. Chances are, it covers only emergencies, or offers no overseas coverage at all.
However, even if your insurance will cover your medical care, the amount and quality of care you may receive will vary widely. In some cases, you may have to wait much longer to receive medical care, or the medical care will be below the standard you’re accustomed to, or, at the very least, you’ll have a bureaucratic paperwork nightmare on your hands.
Furthermore, even if your regular medical insurance covers you overseas, it is almost always guaranteed that you will have to pay out of pocket and then wait for reimbursement. As you can imagine, this can be financially difficult or even impossible for the average vacationer. Should you encounter a medical emergency abroad, you may wish to be evacuated; this can cost over $50,000 and is not generally covered by regular health insurance.
Good travel medical insurance can save you worry and financial difficulty in the face of a health emergency, and can also make your life easier in the event of more minor issues such as needing treatment for a sprained ankle or stitches for a cut. Read your policy carefully to ensure that it meets your needs, and choose travel insurance that will pay medical costs directly rather than reimbursing you when you pay out of pocket.
A good travel medical insurance policy has several coverages
Travel insurance coverage can include not only medical evacuation, treatment, and hospital stays, but also lost luggage or trip cancellation insurance. You should be able to find cost-effective coverage no matter what the length of your trip. Be sure to take into account special circumstances such as preexisting conditions, pregnancy, vulnerability to regional diseases or natural hazards, and risky outdoor activities. At the very least, be certain to have coverage for emergency situations that includes medical evacuation if necessary.