If you’re planning a trip abroad, you may have wondered, “Will my medical insurance cover me in another country?” You might also wonder, “What should I look for when buying traveler’s insurance with medical coverage?” This comprehensive guide will help you answer that question and give you useful tips for finding the appropriate health care coverage to protect you and your loved ones while traveling.
You’ve finally made it to Amsterdam. You are walking to the legendary Rijksmuseum from your hotel to see Van Gough’s self-portrait. In your excitement you step off the curb to cross the street without looking and one of the millions of Dutch bikers runs into you. You are injured and need to see a doctor. No worries. You have medical insurance, right? Wrong.
Travelers often falsely believe their medical insurance will help them when they are traveling abroad. Unfortunately this is most often not the case. Most medical insurance policies in the United States do not cover you when you are out of the country; some, like Medicare, Medicaid and some Open Marketplace plans don’t even cover you when you cross state lines, much less international borders.
If you carry medical insurance privately or through your employer, it is also quite likely your medical expenses will not be covered abroad. Some better health insurance policies do extend coverage for “emergency medical” care abroad, but they most often define that term very strictly to include only eminent or fatal threats. And the costs they reimburse you related to those medical emergencies are often very limited to specific emergency treatments, not any other associated travel costs.
Even common non-emergencies–for example forgetting your prescription medication in your rush to pack, or getting a stomach virus that requires seeing a doctor–can also become a huge and costly headache when traveling abroad uncovered by medical insurance. If you happen to be in a country where English is not a common language, finding care you can understand, or a translator to help, can also be difficult.
To add to travel stresses, today’s barely post-Pandemic environment presents additional medical risks. For example, a traveler who is forced to quarantine when they get Covid might incur enormous costs for unexpected accommodation, transportation or care.
With financially overburdened healthcare systems, some countries have even started requiring travelers prove they have medical coverage before entering their territory in order to avoid footing the bill for tourists that might fall ill while traveling. Aruba, Costa Rica, French Polynesia, St. Maarten, Turks and Caicos, and United Arab Emirates all instituted some version of this requirement.
So how can you best prepare and ensure you’ll be protected physically and financially when traveling? What are the steps you should take?
Step One | Check Your Current Health Insurance Coverage
The first step you’ll want to take is to call your medical insurance company. The U.S. Department of State suggests some specific questions to ask, including:
Does my plan cover emergency expenses abroad such as returning me to the United States for treatment if I become seriously ill?
Do you require pre-authorizations or second opinions before emergency treatment can begin? These can slow down your medical care.
Do you guarantee medical payments abroad?
If your insurance policy says they do cover emergency medical expenses, also make sure you understand the difference between what is considered an emergency need, versus an “urgent” medical care need. Most policies make a strict differentiation.
If, after making this call, you realize–as so many travelers have–that you are not well protected by your health insurance company, the next step is to find an insurance policy that is adequate.
What to Look For in Travel Insurance Policies with Medical Coverage?
When shopping for travelers or out-of-country medical insurance coverage to protect you and your pocketbook, here are some key questions to ask:
How much is the maximum coverage if I become injured or sick when out of the country?
If I have to evacuate because of a pandemic or epidemic when I am traveling, what travel costs will be covered?
If I have to evacuate because of a security or safety concern when I am traveling, will my costs be covered?
If I have to be evacuated to receive medical care, what costs will be covered?
If I have to be evacuated because of weather or a natural disaster will my costs be covered?
If I am forced to quarantine on my trip because I, or my family member, contracts Covid, will any of my travel expenses be reimbursed?
Do you help me with repatriation (meaning getting back into the country)?
If one of my family members has to be relocated for medical care, will you cover the cost for me to go with them?
If I am injured, will you cover the costs for my family member to visit me in the hospital?
If the worst happens, and I die on my trip, will you cover the costs my family will have to pay to bring my remains back home? Will you pay any additional sum in the case of my death?
Will you cover routine medical care, care for pre-existing conditions and my medications? Or will you only cover emergency or urgent care needs?
If you want to shop around policies and read the fine print, the above questions should help you sift through your options. However, if you want to buy a policy that guarantees coverage for all of the above scenarios, ARREVA Advantage may be a great fit for you.
How Does ARREVA Advantage Compare?
ARREVA Advantage was born when three leaders in the travel industry combined forces. We are the birth child of REVA air evacuation, which has been a leader in medical and emergency air evacuation services; Star Indemnity, which provides comprehensive medical coverage to travelers abroad; and World Travel Protection, which specializes in travel concierge, trip coordination, translation services and baggage support.
Combined, ARREVA Advantage provides one of the most comprehensive travel insurance products on the market. Our members can rest easy knowing they have a 24/7 advocate on their side should they come across any kind of hurdle while traveling.
Whether you stumble into a medical issue, have an emergency, suffer a trip delay, require a translator, or just need some general travel assistance, ARREVA Advantage is standing by to help you as you explore the globe.
Benefits Included in your ARREVA Advantage Membership
ARREVA Advantage Members are covered across the board. Here are a list of benefits our members are entitled to:
Out-of-Country Medical Benefit
Primary coverage for injuries or emergency sicknesses when traveling outside home country or country of permanent residence up to a maximum of $500,000 per person per trip. ARREVA Advantage's international medical benefit covers treatment for emergency and routine health care needs. With a flexible medical coverage plan, members can choose their doctor and treatment facility within their coverage region.
The primary benefit of international medical coverage from an ARREVA Advantage travel membership plan is that you can receive health care almost anywhere in the world. Whether you plan on visiting multiple countries or staying in one location for an extended time, having travel and medical protection from ARREVA Advantage will allow you to enjoy your trip with greater peace of mind.
Pandemic or Epidemic Non-Hospital Evacuation
If you have to evacuate the place you're staying while traveling, you can have up to $250,000 covered when you're 300 miles from your permanent residence.
Quarantine Mid-Trip Confinement Benefit
You can have up to $750 per day covered for 10 days if you have to quarantine while on your trip.
Emergency Medical Evacuation Benefit
You can get up to $250,000 covered while traveling more than 300 miles away from your permanent residence if you need an emergency medical evacuation.
Repatriation of Remains
Sometimes, unfortunate circumstances happen while traveling and an untimely death occurs. When you want to return the remains to the deceased's family back home, we'll cover up to $250,000 if you're traveling more than 300 miles from home.
When you have to evacuate from the country you're traveling in for your safety, you can have up to $250,000 of your insurance covered.
Arrangements for Last Minute Flight and Hotel Changes
If any of your flights or hotel reservations get canceled last minute, we'll work with you to arrange new flights and lodgings.
Natural Disaster Evacuation
Whether you're traveling domestically or internationally, if you're 300 miles away from your home and need natural disaster evacuation, we can help. We'll provide coverage for up to $250,000.
Accidental Death Benefit
If an accidental death occurs, we'll cover a principal sum of $500,000 within a year of the date of the covered accident.
Accidental Dismemberment Benefits
When an accidental dismemberment incident occurs, we'll cover a percentage of a principal sum of $500,000. You have a year from the date of the incidents to claim the accidents that resulted in a covered dismemberment or paralysis.
If you don't receive your bags while traveling after more than 24 hours, you can get up to $750 per day for up to seven days to compensate for your lost luggage.
Trip Interruption Benefit
You can receive reimbursement for your trip if it began but you must return home early due to an unforeseen incident. You can get up to $10,000 for trips that last less than 90 days.
Personal Property (Stolen Goods)
If you have personal property stolen while traveling, you can obtain a reimbursement for the property. You must file a report to the local authorities about the incident within 48 hours to claim up to $3,000.
Emergency Reunion Benefit
We can cover the expenses of one family member that needs to travel to the insured ill or injured person before or after an emergency medical evacuation. We'll cover up to $5,000 for the chaperone.
Family Reunion Benefit
If a medical emergency occurs for the insured person, we can cover the expenses of a family member's travels to visit the insured person in the hospital. We'll cover up to seven days and a maximum benefit of $5,000.