By Jeremy Miville
American health insurance is a hot topic right now, and with good reason! Our systems and networks are expensive, complicated and uniquely our own. But no matter your stance, we all have to remember one thing…
Finding a doctor in your network is important!
It’s a challenge to find a network provider as you move state-to-state, never mind for those of us who travel internationally. If you’re a Medicare participant, your options are even more restricted, and generally non-existent. So what can you do?
Call your current domestic health provider. They may cover your international needs, but make sure you truly understand their terms and conditions. Also, please know that “customary and reasonable” in insurance terms and conditions may not be the same as your personal definition.
For example, very few domestic health insurance providers will pay for a medical evacuation back to the United States, as a Medical evacuation can cost $60,000 or more, depending on your location. Just like using an “out of network” provider, guess who is on the hook for that $60K.
Three big questions to ask your insurance company about international coverage
Does the company guarantee payments abroad?
Will the insurance company pay foreign hospitals and doctors directly?
Does the policy cover emergency expenses such as returning to the United States if seriously ill?
How travel medical insurance can help?
Travel medical insurance steps in where domestic health insurance leaves you exposed. But you must be aware, some travel insurance plans will not give travel medical coverage unless you have health insurance here in the States. Also, there are different types of travel medical options, often labeled as “Primary” and “Secondary.” You should know that Secondary coverage means is that the travel insurance company expects the traveler to first place a claim with their health insurance, and if and when it is denied, your travel medical coverage limits may then be applied. Because of this, having secondary coverage does mean a claims process may take longer than having primary coverage on a travel insurance plan.
Medicare is also considered Primary health insurance whether they cover your claim or not. If you purchase a plan labeled as Secondary and need to file a claim, the travel insurance provider will still require you to submit a claim through Medicare first. Since they will not cover, Medicare will provide a denial letter, showing that they are not paying the medical claim. You would then be able to file a claim with the travel insurance company.
To cut through the delays and red-tape, consider a travel insurance plan with Primary medical coverage, which will save you the time and hassle of filing through Medicare or your domestic health insurance company first. You can go straight to the claim process with your travel insurance company.
One last point, deductibles. Most single trip travel medical plans automatically include a $250 deductible. However, most of these plans offer the option to increase, decrease, or remove the deductible altogether. Please know, this change will most likely affect the premium.
When in doubt, call the licensed travel insurance representatives at InsureMyTrip (1-800-487-4722). They insure thousands of travelers a year and can answer all your questions as well as help you find a plan that is a perfect fit for your travel needs.