Travelling Abroad? Here Are Some Tips on Securing Health Insurance
Although when you are within the US, there are multiple ways through which you can assure you have access to the right healthcare coverage plan, such as Medicare. But, have you ever wondered if the same health insurance plan covers you outside US borders? The answer may not be in the affirmative; hence it is best that you go prepared by adhering to a few guidelines.
Contact Your Insurer
The most obvious step you can take to assess whether your healthcare plan covers international trips is to contact your insurance provider. Usually, plans do cover some, if not all, of the damages you may encounter while on these trips however this is entirely up to the conditions stipulated in the insurance contract.
This is true especially if your insurance comes from your employer or from some private insurance seller. What you need to ask is not only whether the plan covers international trips, but also the specifics, for example if emergency evacuations back to US are covered or not. You must also inquire about the amount which you will have to spend out of your pocket when in a foreign country if and when you seek medical care.
Does Original Medicare Cover International Trips?
Regardless of who among your husband and yourself has the Original Medicare coverage, the answer to this question is in the negative. However, there are certain exemptions which will be made if your circumstances fulfill the stated criteria.
For example, if you are aboard a cruise, and you are not farther than six hours from US borders, then you do qualify for coverage. Also, having subscription to some of the supplemental plans of Medigap can pay off big time, as over 80% of the total medical bill (accumulated in cases of emergency care) may be covered under them, provided the need has arisen within 60 days since you left US soil.
However, these plans require a special deductible amounting to $250 per year, and during your lifetime you can only avail insurance amount of up to $50,000 for emergency care received during foreign travel. Some Medicare Advantage plans also cover medical bills incurred during international travels in emergency cases, however this is only for a select few plans and you need to assess whether your plan offers the same.
What to Do When your Insurance Plan Does Not Cover Travel
It is highly likely that your current insurance plan does not offer insurance for any medical treatment you may receive abroad, in which case you must not hesitate spending some money out of your pocket on securing adequate travel insurance or saving up enough money to ensure you are able to afford treatment if a medical emergency does arise.
And getting insurance for your trip is not very expensive. For example, if you are a couple who is planning a trip to Europe for two whole weeks, and you have also crossed into the 60s age bracket, then a plan covering medical costs up to $50,000 and also an additional $100,000 for a possible evacuation scenario will cost you only around $100, or maybe a bit higher.
While Buying Insurance
It is important to understand what you are purchasing in order to assess whether it fulfills all of your requirements. In the case of travel insurance, there are many plans which don’t provide coverage for medical conditions which are pre-existing in a person.
If this is absolutely required, then a travel policy which comprehensively covers all of the components pertaining to travelling needs to be inquired.
Help From the Insurer
If you are going to a place which is completely new to you, and you have no idea how far the nearest doctor or hospital is located, then all you have to do is make a call to your insurer and inquire about nearby health centers which you can use. They will offer recommendations on which local doctor to select.
In case you have medical insurance for travelling purposes, and you use medical services in a foreign country, to claim that amount back you will not only have to file a claim but also show the receipts which you received.
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