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Ready to take that long-awaiting vacation? Whether it’s a quick flight to Florida or a couple weeks in Thailand sun and sand, there are important considerations for travel protection.
Even if you’re fully vaccinated, if you’re planning international travel it’s important to purchase travel insurance. One of the key benefits of a travel insurance policy is travel medical insurance.
“If you’re traveling outside the U.S., it is absolutely essential that you purchase travel insurance that includes emergency medical and transportation benefits, says Daniel Durazo, a spokesperson with travel insurance company Allianz Partners. “Overseas medical bills and costly evacuations can be financially devastating for uninsured travelers.”
What Does Travel Medical Insurance Cover?
Whether your trip is domestic or abroad, cutting short, altering or canceling travel plans due to injury or illness can be costly. “There are more than memories at stake; your money and health are on the line, too,” says Durazo.
Travel medical insurance can help with medical emergencies during a trip and includes important benefits like emergency medical and dental treatment, doctors’ fees, hospital bills, emergency transportation and travel assistance services depending on your coverage.
You can find plans with up to $500,000 per person for medical expenses coverage.
The best travel insurance plans will include other benefits that will be valuable if an illness or injury interrupts your trip. Benefits can include travel delay, emergency medical transportation, travel accident coverage, coverage for pre-existing medical conditions coverage and more, says Durazo.
“Look for a travel insurance plan that offers not only emergency medical benefits but also includes trip cancellation and trip interruption benefits,” he advises. “That means that if you’re forced to cancel or cut your trip short for a covered reason, the plan can provide reimbursement for non-refundable travel expenses.”
For example, if you have put down large non-refundable deposits and you cancel a trip, you’ll lose all that money if you get sick or injured and cancel the trip without travel insurance.
“If you do have travel insurance with trip cancellation and trip interruption benefits, and you follow a few required steps such as seeing a physician and completing necessary paperwork, then you may be eligible for reimbursement of these costs,” says Durazo.
Medical Insurance for Trips Abroad
You may not realize that U.S. health care plans are usually not accepted outside the U.S., including Medicare plans. Even if your U.S. health plan has coverage outside the U.S., most overseas providers are out-of-network, meaning you could be on the hook for a majority of the expense, says Carol Mueller, a spokesperson with Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection.
“A medical emergency when you’re traveling internationally can easily cost you tens of thousands of dollars,” says Mueller.
If you end up in a situation outside the U.S. that requires medical care, you may have to pay before care is given or before you can leave the hospital.
For example, an insurance plan like Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection’s ExactCare Lite includes access to Berkshire Hathaway’s emergency medical assistance. This provides assistance such as coordinating with your doctors back home, locating an adequate doctor or medical facility, coordinating payment, locating a pharmacy, and even finding and making appointments with a medical provider.
Durazo notes that “if you’re visiting more remote areas, there’s a greater chance you’ll require more costly emergency medical assistance.”
If you’re not prepared to pay all your medical bills on the spot, it’s very important to have a travel medical plan that can.