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Traveling? Don’t Forget To Pack Your Health Insurance

If you happen to be abroad for a short space of time either for work or on holiday, it is good to have a safety net in the form of a good health insurance plan. Having a plan to cover healthcare costs can come in handy should you fall ill or have an accident of some kind, especially if you are attempting a few risky items off of your bucket list!

Here we give you some basic information about health insurance plans and their coverage beyond the American borders. We also offer you some good questions to ask when you are shopping around for a health insurance product!

Paying For Health Services Abroad

Should you find yourself in an accident when in another country, the ordeal can turn into a very expensive and serious situation. Medical expenses that are charged after a very simple accident like slipping and falling when hiking can actually include prescription drugs, lab tests or x-rays, ambulance costs, dressings and casts costs, and surgical costs. Let’s not forget hospital and board or physical therapy, should it be required. That’s a lot to pay for! Don’t be tricked into believing you can use the same services that citizens of the country you are visiting use, because you may not qualify as a visitor. This leaves the medical bill up to you to pay.

Using Your US Health Insurance Abroad

If you are a member of a health insurance plan in the US, you may forget completely about health insurance when traveling abroad, or you may be mistaken into thinking that you are covered in other countries as well. All health insurance policies vary. This means that there are some plans that don’t cover any medical expenses beyond the primary coverage area specified, and there are some that do cover you in other countries. However, often if you are covered abroad, it is on the condition that it is for emergencies only or that you obtain preauthorization from your insurer before seeking medical attention. In the event of terrorist attacks or natural disasters, you also might not enjoy coverage for your expenses. However, COBRA or employer-offered plans could possibly offer coverage abroad. Medicare will not cover medical expenses if you are abroad, unless in seriously limited circumstances. A few Medigap policies do cover emergency services. The bottom line is that you will have to check with your insurer as plans vary considerably.

Health Insurance For Travellers

There are supplemental health insurance plans or even travel insurance plans available to cover your medical costs, depending on the length of time you will be traveling. These options have to be considered with your destination in mind, the length of time you will be there and also the risks involved. There are also various insurances for travelers to enjoy. One of these is trip cancellation insurance in case you or a family member falls ill and you have to cancel a non-refundable ticket or booking. There is also medical evacuation insurance, which is applicable in the case that you suddenly fall il and require evacuation, perhaps from a remote destination.

Long-Term Travellers and Expats

If you are a frequent traveler, or perhaps if you are traveling for a lengthy period of time, you may find a comprehensive plan suitable for your needs. This offers routine care and emergency care for a year and offers trip cancellation and interruption benefits. Each policy comes with a maximum length for each trip, which you will have to do research and check-up on. Some plans even state that you have to spend at least three months away from your home country annually. For those who are living and working abroad, expat insurance plans are available. These cover mental health, cancer treatment, dental care, and even chronic medical cases. These may require that the member spends at least six months each year outside their home country.

While traveling for a vacation or for work may have you ticking a number of other items off of your to-do list, make sure that seeing to your healthcare needs is seen to as well. Don’t forget that in addition to having health insurance in place, you have to look up on the nearest available medical facilities in your destination, preferably a close as possible to your place of residence for that time. Stay safe and live well!

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