You’re going on the trip of a lifetime. Congratulations on your upcoming travel! Don’t forget to pack your passport, bathing suit, and health insurance!
Short Term Travel
First, let’s talk about short-term travel. This is for your average vacationer, not an ex-pat or nomad looking to backpack across Europe for the better part of a year. This type of insurance is really only going to cover medical emergencies. For example:
- Emergency Medical Expenses i.e. a broken bone needing x-rays
- Emergency Dental i.e. a chipped tooth
- Medical Evacuation i.e. airlifting after a major event
- Accidental death or dismemberment
You can choose between comprehensive travel insurance or a travel medical plan.
Many plans also offer coverage for trip interruption or baggage loss and even will provide aid in helping you find a doctor if you don’t speak the local language. However, some benefits are only offered by more comprehensive travel insurance as opposed to traveling medical plans. So, you’re best advised to contact your current insurance carrier to see if your plan already offers any international benefits.
You can even get multi-trip coverage. So, if you’re planning on taking multiple trips in a given year, this is a great way to save money as opposed to a single trip plan. Just remember, you do have to return home in between travels.
Additionally, you should check to see whether your travel plan is considered primary or secondary. If it’s a primary plan, you’ll treat it as your main form of insurance while abroad. You’ll submit claims directly to the insurance carrier.
Secondary insurance will require that you have some type of primary insurance domestically. First, you’ll have to submit your claim to your primary domestic insurance plan and then if and when it’s denied you’ll submit the claim to your travel plan.
Long Term Travel
If you’re going to be away from home long term, you’ll need a different type of plan. Obviously, you’ll need coverage for more than just medical emergencies. These types of plans are known as travel major medical plans and are intended for people who will be traveling for more than six months.
These types of plans are much more similar to traditional health insurance plans. Some will offer those travel-specific perks like lost baggage, others will not. BUT, you may already have some of those benefits through a credit card so check in advance. You don’t need to pay for a fringe benefit if you’re already covered elsewhere.
Because these are like traditional plans, they’ll be a little more expensive and offer more coverage. You’ll need to be aware of things like:
Deductible & Premiums:
Because you’ll be utilizing these plans for a longer period of time, you’ll need to be more aware of your monthly premium. Usually, plans with higher monthly premiums have lower deductibles and vice versa.
If you’ll be traveling to multiple locations, make sure your coverage will work wherever you travel. You may not be covered in certain areas or your benefits may be diminished in certain countries.
Benefits & Exclusions:
Travel plans are much more variable than domestic health insurance. Read the terms of your plan carefully to make sure that the benefits that you need are covered. Additionally, you may find that your medical needs as a result of certain activities are excluded. Usually, these are high-risk activities such as skydiving or rock climbing.
Because these plans are so customizable, you may be able to add additional benefits such as
- Outpatient care
- Health screenings
BUT usually adding benefits will increase your premiums so weigh your needs and budget carefully. You may be able to afford quality care locally and pay without insurance depending upon where you travel.
Health insurance is already complicated and a little confusing, even more so when travel is concerned. So, if you’d like our help, you can reach us here at iHealthBrokers at 888-918-0518 or schedule a call today. Our services are 100% FREE.
Jesse Smedley is the Principal Broker for iHealthBrokers and the founder, president, and CEO of Smedley Insurance Group, Inc. and iHealthBrokers.com. Since the inception of SIG in 2007, Jesse has been dedicated to helping people save money on their health insurance by providing them with resources to educate themselves on all their health insurance options, both under age 65 and Medicare beneficiaries. He is featured in many publications as well as writes regularly for expert columns regarding health insurance and Medicare.