What is international health insurance?
You may have never thought of getting international health insurance. If you’re planning your next overseas trip, you will probably need one more than ever. Otherwise, you might not be allowed into that foreign destination!
Let’s start with why you need to get insurance for worldwide medical care. Then, we’ll get deeper into more details, such as the types of plans and their coverages. More importantly, we’ll show you how to choose the best health insurance plan for your next trip.
You could encounter a sudden medical expense anytime. Having an international medical plan makes sure you’re prepared even when outside your home country. Learn more about it so you can choose the best one.
Why do you need international health insurance?
Imagine this scenario. You’re sightseeing around a foreign country. While taking a selfie, you accidentally trip on something and hurt yourself. You needed to get to the hospital!
If you don’t have insurance, you’ll have to shoulder all the health care costs. You might have to pay for a special return flight which costs $50,000. There’s another issue you have to handle.
You probably don’t know how to speak the language in that country. If the people living there don’t know how to speak English, you might have trouble getting help!
Now, let’s explore this scenario again, but you have a travel medical insurance plan. The first thing you’ll do is call its 24/7 assistance line. Then, an agent will help you find a hospital.
Even better, they’ll speak with the locals for you. They could guarantee payment too, which means you won’t have to think about payment while getting patched up.
That’s why it’s a good idea to have international health insurance when traveling abroad, and it provides medical coverage for emergencies you may experience there.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is also a reason why you need this kind of health plan. Some countries are starting to accept tourists again, and however, this is one of their new requirements.
Look to Costa Rica as an example. This country demands arriving passengers to prove they have this kind of coverage, and it must cover at least $2,000 for quarantine if you test positive.
If you’re planning to take a break outside your country, check for this requirement. Of course, you have to know how this type of medical insurance works.
What does international health insurance cover?
You have several types of travel health insurance plans, and they offer different medical coverage features. For example, here’s what you get from a basic plan:
- Reimbursement for costs – This covers medical expenses. Some may even pay for dental if needed.
- Travel assistance – As we said, your insurance can help you find a hospital while you’re in another country.
- Advance payments for medical facilities – In other words, your policy may forward medical payments on your behalf.
- Access to medical transport – This often means getting an ambulance when you need it. Depending on your plan, you may gain access to other modes of medical transport.
- Emergency evac services – that will help you safely reach a proper medical facility
- Accident benefits – If you get injured, you may find it hard to take care of your family. This feature could deal with this problem while you recover.
You may also get comprehensive travel insurance, and it offers the same features save for one: trip insurance. This is also called cancellation coverage.
You may have to cut your trip short because of an emergency. This goes beyond just medical ones, though, and it may cover natural disasters, job loss, and other kinds of unexpected situations.
The plan covers flight delays too. After all, you can’t control how your chosen airline will react to certain situations. What’s more, coverage includes baggage delays.
However, it works differently from how insurance does in your local area. International health insurance won’t cover your costs on your behalf. Instead, you pay first then get claims later.
We said earlier that it could help you forward your payments. The funds will come from you first, and then you may file for claims at the insurance company.
Other types of global health insurance policies
You may divide the types of insurance further. For example, you have primary and secondary coverage. Read more about their details below:
- Primary – This pays first no matter what other insurance plan you may have.
- Secondary – As the name suggests, this starts paying after the other coverages. If there are still some expenses left after the first plans, this will take care of those.
You may get them separately or together. If you only have secondary coverage, that will serve as your primary by default. Both types will cover your expenses no matter what.
Next, you may choose between single-trip and multi-trip coverage. The best pick will depend on how often you go in and out of your country. Let’s take a close look at each one:
- Single-trip – This covers all the places you’ve been when you return home. Once you get back, this coverage ends. You’ll have to pay each time you go to another country, and this applies no matter how long you’ll be out of your country.
- Multi-trip – As the name suggests, this is active no matter how many trips you take, and the plans usually last a year.
Most of these policies limit how long your trip can last, and it’s usually more than 30 days or 31 to 45 days. Choose one depending on how often you go to other countries.
If you only go once or twice, the single-trip coverage might be a good choice. You’ll spend less, and you’ll get the most out of your international health insurance.
On the other hand, frequent travelers may want the multi-trip instead, which saves you the hassle of purchasing a plan yourself for every trip.
How do I buy the best travel health insurance policy?
Before you buy your first insurance plan, you have to know certain terms first. This is important in finding the right one. Learn more about them below:
- Exclusions – These are situations that the plan won’t cover. This may include risky activities such as skydiving, and some pre-existing conditions may also count.
- Limits – These are limits to how much money can cover certain situations. Let’s say your plan covers dental costs up to $500. If your treatment reaches $600, you’ll have to pay for the remaining $100 yourself. Or you could use secondary coverage for it.
- Deductible – This is the amount you have to pay before your insurance plan reimburses you. Let’s say yours has a $250 deductible, and you racked up $400 in expenses. The insurance company will only give you $150.
Next, it’s time to look for your first international health insurance plan. You may find and purchase one by following the steps below:
- Check your current plan – If you have private health insurance, its company may have travel options. If you’re from the US, don’t expect this type of coverage from your government, and it does not offer health insurance for US citizens in other countries.
- Check the exclusions – As we said, some plans do not cover certain health problems. Make sure your plan covers your specific condition.
- Look for the right companies – Get your plan from an agency specializing in this type of insurance. For example, there’s QuoteWright (800-821-4940), InsureMyTrip (800-487-4722), and Squaremouth (800-240-0369). Call these toll-free numbers to get proper assistance from a call center agent.
- Bring emergency money – As we said, you will have to pay the bills yourself first. Then, you may file claims from your insurance company. That’s why you should bring cash or credit cards for this type of situation.
- Make sure you have evac services – Every insurance company is different. It may not include this feature outright, and if it isn’t, you’ll have to add it yourself. The company may have it as an add-on feature.
- Call the right people for help – Sometimes, you may get into a situation where even the insurance isn’t enough. You may have to call your country’s embassy for help.
These were the basics of international health insurance. Some companies may offer services that we weren’t able to talk about. Call them for more details about their insurance options.
While you’re at it, perhaps you might want to check your mortgage insurance. With rising home prices, you might want to cancel yours, which could help you save on payments.
What’s more, you may want to check the newer types of insurance. For example, cyber insurance is trending nowadays because of the rise in cyberattacks worldwide.
Perhaps purchasing insurance is a hassle. That’s just in the short term, though, and the right plan can provide peace of mind in the long term.
Learn more about international health insurance
What is international medical insurance?
If you get a medical emergency, this type of insurance can cover the costs. This includes the ambulance bills, hospital fees, and other related costs. What’s more, it can help you get medical assistance quickly. The company will deal with all the steps for you.
Does health insurance work in other countries?
Your health insurance may only work inside your country. If you’re from the United States, you can’t use your Medicare or Medicaid outside the US. Instead, you’ll have to buy a plan from an insurance firm. Check all the options you may get in your country.
What is not covered in travel insurance?
Your insurance plan may not include certain conditions. For example, some plans may not cover your specific health issues. Some may have limits to how much they’ll pay. You may either pay for this yourself or get a secondary plan to take care of these issues.