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Does Your Health Insurance Cover You When You Travel?

By on March 12, 2014 in Health Insurance, Insurance

Does Your Health Insurance Cover You When You Travel?Traveling is one of the best parts of living in this world. Whether you are staying within the United States or traveling far and wide to foreign lands, being able to see and interact with other cultures is an amazing thing.

When you are making your packing list you have items like a camera, your clothes, and enough money in the local currency to get by.

But have you considered checking off health insurance for that trip?

You might be thinking, “I have health insurance through my employer. I’m covered.”

But is that always true?

Does Health Insurance Cover Domestic Travel?

Whether or not your health insurance policy will provide medical coverage to you when you are traveling domestically is dependent upon where you are traveling and what your policy says.

Your health insurance policy likely as an “in-network” care cost structure and an “out of network” cost structure. Depending on how large your employer is in-network could be as big as the whole country or as small as your state or region.

From there it will depend on what exact care you need when you are traveling away from home. Your policy will dictate what percentage of cost is covered, what co-pays are required, and what deductible you have to meet. For most people traveling domestically is not a huge risk from a health insurance standpoint.

Does Health Insurance Cover Foreign Travel?

Foreign travel is obviously significantly different than domestic travel since you are outside of the United States. You should expect your travel to fall under the “out of network” section of your policy. For specific answers on whether or not your policy will cover your costs overseas it is best to talk to the insurance company directly and get confirmation of the details in writing.

Risks of Being Underinsured When Traveling

Going without insurance while traveling is extremely risky, especially if you are traveling outside of the United States. Here are some risks to consider:

Food Poisoning

When you are visiting a foreign country with a food industry you don’t understand (and your stomach isn’t used to) it is easy to get food poisoning. While mild food poisoning isn’t any fun, a serious case can leave you hospitalized with high medical bills.

Broken Bones

You are enjoying a jungle excursion or a rock climb in a foreign land when something happens. You slip, you trip, a line snaps… whatever the reason, you end up with a broken arm, ankle, or worse. You need medical treatment and pain relief which means a hospital trip or trying to get to another city or country with better equipment.

Medical Evacuation

The most expensive way to fly back from overseas is not in first class.

It’s in an emergency medical flight.

The costs of medical evacuation from a country runs into the tens of thousands of dollars. One moment you are walking the steps of Rome, the next you have a broken hip and are in excruciating pain. You need to be flown home to have surgery immediately, and the only way to do it is with a medical flight.

If your insurance doesn’t cover the above health issues you need to get traveler’s health insurance. If you think your insurance covers you but you aren’t sure, you need to check. Finding out you don’t have coverage at your moment of need will be a costly financial shock.

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