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Primary vs. Secondary Travel Medical Coverage

As you explore different coverage options before embarking on your trip, you may hear the terms primary coverage and secondary coverage to describe your protection choices. But what is the difference between these two terms, and which one is best for your travel needs?

What Is the Difference Between Primary and Secondary Insurance?

If you purchase primary medical travel insurance, your plan will pay for any medical expenses when you file a claim. Primary travel coverage allows you to file one claim and receive one conclusion.

Secondary medical coverage means your provider will pay a medical claim after exhausting collectible benefits such as primary health insurance. You can use secondary coverage to pay deductibles, co-payments and other out-of-pocket expenses up to the coverage maximum.

When Primary Coverage Becomes Secondary Coverage

There are certain instances in which secondary coverage becomes your primary coverage. For example, if you have exhausted your collectible benefits, or your medical provider’s service area does not extend to your travel destination, your secondary coverage will become your primary coverage.

Even if you do not have primary medical coverage and purchase a secondary medical insurance plan for travel, there may be instances when another payee will act as the primary payee. Some situations in which this may occur are:

  • You are a passenger in a car and the driver causes an accident that results in injury. Both individuals’ car insurance will process the medical bill before sending the invoice to your medical insurance provider as a secondary payer for any remaining balance.

  • While visiting a store, you slip and fall on a wet floor due to a lack of a warning sign. You will first file a claim with the store’s liability insurance company and submit any remaining balance to your insurance for secondary payment.

Before filing a claim, review the benefits found under your insurance plan document to determine if you have primary or secondary medical coverage. You can also call your insurance company to answer any questions.

Why You Need Secondary Insurance When Traveling

Events such as hospitalizations make a secondary coverage travel health insurance plan necessary to ensure you can receive medical attention without financial hardship. For example, if you are in a car crash while traveling abroad and need to go to the hospital for care, you may have to pay high out-of-network and co-insurance costs.

Even if your primary insurance covers a percentage of your medical costs, it’s important to explore your coverage options with a secondary insurance plan. Purchasing travel health insurance can cover the remainder of your expenses up to your plan’s limits after your primary insurance makes a payment, offering greater financial flexibility.

Additionally, when you leave your country of residency, you are no longer in a coverage region of most United States-based health insurance plans, thus requiring you to purchase additional protection for your travels. Your travel medical insurance plan or secondary coverage will automatically become primary coverage because your current health insurance plan will not be in effect. Secondary insurance provides greater peace of mind while traveling abroad so you can receive care without worrying about your finances.

Enjoy Medical Coverage as an ARREVA Advantage Member Today

At REVA, we offer comprehensive primary travel medical coverage to ensure all travelers are safe regardless of where they go. All members have access to our 24/7 medical assistance hotline and real-time medical data about their destination via our online portal and app. To learn more about the confidence and assurance that becoming an ARREVA member provides, contact our team for additional information today!

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