Travel health insurance
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Travel health insurance: ‘Make sure you’re covered while away’ – policy analysts

“Trips take lots of planning and preparation; unfortunately, many travellers overlook travel health insurance,” said Louise Norris, health policy analyst for healthinsurance.org.

“Getting sick or injured on vacation is always unfortunate. What’s worse is when that results in colossal health bills because someone didn’t understand the limits of their health insurance coverage.”

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Travel health insurance

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Policy analysts for medicareresources.org and healthinsurance.org are reminding consumers to know the limits of their health coverage in case of an illness or accident while travelling. 

“Of all of the things you want to take with you and make sure you bring back, good health and financial security top the list,” said Jenny Chumbley Hogue, an analyst for medicareresources.org.

“Taking the time to make sure you’re covered can help you avoid large medical bills if you experience a health issue while you’re away.”  

Health plans vary in terms of how they cover medical care and prescription medications when you travel out of state or to another country. Here’s what consumers need to know.

wn ti card repatriation

Medical Evacuation and Repatriation Insurance

Travel insurance can cover repatriation if you encounter a medical emergency abroad and need to be evacuated.

Emergency evacuation and repatriation typically takes place through a commercial flight, though other modes of transportation could include:

  • Air ambulance or Medevac flights
  • Sea level aircraft
  • Helicopter
  • Ground ambulance 

Know the specifics of your plan 

Whether people have a Marketplace plan, employer coverage or Medicare, it’s a good idea not to assume you are covered while travelling. Consumers should:

  1. Contact their health plan and ask specific questions about their coverage while travelling.
  2. Request the specifics of their coverage in writing. Ask the plan to send or refer them to specific documents so they have those details.
  3. Consider purchasing travel health insurance to make sure they’re covered.
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Travel Insurance for Pregnancy

Travel insurance for soon to be mums.

  • Emergency medical care, including evacuation back home if deemed necessary.
  • Hospitalization.
  • Ambulances.
  • Pregnancy complications such as ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, pre-eclampsia, and other medical and surgical conditions of similar severity.
  • Trip cancellation due to complications of pregnancy or pregnancy that requires hospitalization.

What you need to know if you have Medicare

Medicare coverage while travelling depends on the plan.

  • Original Medicare. Original Medicare generally doesn’t cover treatment outside the United States and its territories (Guam, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Northern Mariana Islands). However, Original Medicare will provide coverage anywhere in the United States. And if you add a Medigap plan, it may provide some coverage for emergency care abroad.
  • Medicare Advantage. Medicare Advantage plans cover emergency care anywhere in the United States or its territories. But plans typically require enrollees to use a local provider network for routine care. Some Medicare Advantage plans cover medical emergencies that arise during foreign travel, but you’ll want to check with your plan to see how this would work.
  • Medigap. Some Medigap policies cover medical emergencies abroad. However, Medigap does not include medevac – medical evacuation –  return to the United States. Beneficiaries with Original Medicare plus Medigap coverage might want to consider purchasing medevac coverage prior to a trip abroad.

Consider travel health insurance

A separate travel health insurance policy can help ensure you’re covered in the event of an accident or illness while you’re travelling.

Consider the following:

  1. Whether the policy offers coverage in your travel destination.
  2. If the benefits include medical care, extended hospital stays and prescription medications.
  3. If the plan will cover you for your entire trip, and beyond, if you end up in the hospital.
  4. Whether the policy includes medevac coverage, or if a separate policy is needed in the event you need to be transported for care.

“Travel health insurance is specifically designed to ensure you’re covered in the event of an accident or illness when you are not in your covered area,” said Chumbley Hogue.

“Just like with any insurance policy, though, it’s important to understand what you’re getting. Travel health plans vary from plan to plan just like traditional health insurance plans.”

wn ti card terrorism 1

Travel Insurance and Terrorism

If the event is unforeseen – which by their very nature terrorist attacks almost all are, you could be covered for:

  • Hospitalization
  • Emergency out-patient treatment
  • Medical transportation to bring you home
  • Trip interruption and cancellation if the incident takes place within 30 days of the time you were planning to be there

Medicareresources.org has been providing in-depth information about Medicare since 2011. The site provides an overview of the basics of Medicare coverage options, enrollment and eligibility; coverage FAQs; state-specific Medicare information; and a glossary of Medicare terms. It is not, however, an insurance agency. The medicareresources.org website is owned and operated by Healthinsurance.org, LLC.

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