Why you may need to get medical insurance when traveling abroad
When you’re planning a trip, especially an international one, you may only want to worry about packing your passport, sunblock and other essentials – but you may be missing something vital: travel insurance.
While trip cancellation coverage may be the main reason many travelers get insurance, there are other perks, like travel medical benefits, that can come with a comprehensive plan. Emergency medical and medical evacuation coverage, in particular, can potentially save you thousands.
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Why you need travel medical insurance
Travel medical insurance can help cover the cost of an unforeseen event or emergency that results in an injury or illness during a trip. It covers things like an ambulance, X-rays and tests, doctor bills and more.
Squaremouth suggests getting a policy with $50,000 in emergency medical coverage and $100,000 in medical evacuation coverage for international trips.
There are a lot of factors to consider when determining if you need travel insurance. But here are some of the primary reasons.
1. Your current health insurance may not cover you
Americans traveling overseas are often urged to buy travel insurance because Medicare and Medicaid generally don’t cover medical costs outside of the country, the U.S. State Department says. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention echoes this on its website, warning Americans could be forced to pay out-of-pocket for medical costs incurred overseas.
“Even if a country has nationalized health care, it may not cover people who are not citizens. Before you go, consider your insurance options in case you need care while traveling. Travel health insurance is especially important if you have an existing health condition, are traveling for more than 6 months, or doing adventure activities such as scuba diving or hang gliding,” the agency writes.
If you have private health care, you should also double-check to see if that continues to cover you in different countries. Some areas may even require it or at least want proof of health insurance.
You should take this into account if you depend on these types of medical coverage. If you have any concerns about health care coverage, consider getting a comprehensive travel insurance plan to cover all of your bases. It’s an added way to protect yourself and your wallet.
2. You want to protect your health and finances
Your health comes first. So, if an emergency occurs and you need to visit a physician or hospital abroad then you should do so. The concern of potential medical costs should not prevent a necessary medical visit – and that’s why travel insurance that includes medical benefits is vital.
“The medical benefits of travel insurance are perhaps the most worth it due to the high financial ramifications that can come with a medical claim while traveling,” SquareMouth highlights.
CBS News senior travel adviser Peter Greenberg previously explained on “CBS Mornings” that travel insurance is “worth it” as long as you have a full understanding of what you’re covered for and what you’re not covered for. He recommends speaking with a travel adviser to ensure you know the details of your coverage plan, which, he says, should include medical evacuation and repatriation insurance.
“If you get sick or injured overseas, in the best policies they’ll pay to get you stabilized over there,” Greenberg explained. “They will consult with your own doctor who knows your medical history, and then, if needed, they will fly you back on a medically equipped jet to the doctor and medical facility of your choice.”
3. You’re planning to travel for an extended period of time
Finally, the length of your stay abroad should sway your decision. The longer you’re there, the higher the risk that you’ll require medical care of some sort.
The CDC recommends adding travel insurance with medical benefits if you’re traveling for more than six months or participating in extreme sports or activities.
If you’re planning for long-term travel or typically take multiple trips over the course of a year, then you should consider getting annual travel insurance policies, which may be more cost-effective than buying separate plans for every vacation.