Supplemental Travel Insurance Policies
Travel insurance is not one of the things on your list of "To Pack" or "To Do", but if you are considering traveling abroad, you should contact your insurance carrier to see if your plan provides coverage outside the country. Most medical policies do not provide coverage once you step outside the country.
Even if you are only planning a weekend trip across the border, you should consider purchasing a supplemental travel policy. The policy should include, at the very least, evacuation coverage/ air ambulance coverage.
Make sure the policy includes transportation directly to the hospital of your choice and does not include a medical necessity clause. Many insurance policies, including your own medical policy, will only provide emergency transportation to the nearest medical facility that is able to provide you with adequate care. This may still leave you hundreds of miles away from your home.
Here's an example:
Before leaving on your vacation abroad, you checked with your insurance carrier and discovered that it did not provide medical coverage outside the country. You purchase supplemental travel insurance, making sure that it includes emergency evacuation services.
While vacationing in the Caribbean, you are in a horrible car accident. You will require surgery to repair some of the fractures you sustained in the accident. You are taken to the local Caribbean medical facility.
You inform the staff that you have traveler's insurance and would like to be flown back to your home state of Minnesota for the surgeries. While making arrangements for your air ambulance, the staff is informed that your traveler's insurance will only fly you to the nearest hospital. In this case, the nearest hospital is in Florida.
Having very little choice, you agree to be evacuated to Florida. You hope that, once you land, your regular policy will be able to provide you with transportation from Florida back to Minnesota.
Once you are admitted to the medical center in Florida, you are informed by the case worker that air transport back to your home state would not be covered by your insurance policy. Transportation back to Minnesota does not meet your insurance provider's criteria for medical necessity because the current hospital is able to care for your needs.
In addition to making sure your traveler’s policy provides coverage for evacuation to the hospital of your choice, you should also confirm it will provide basic medical care including hospitalization, and prescription coverage. You may also wish to purchase a policy that includes dental benefits.
When purchasing a travel insurance policy, be aware of the deductible and read the fine print! Supplemental travel policies can be purchased through a travel agent or online. This could be a very valuable investment!
No matter how old you are or what type of medical insurance coverage you have, you should always have travel insurance if you are planning to go out of country!!!! Be sure your policy includes medical transportation from wherever you are to the facility of your own choosing and not the nearest medical facility. Be sure you can afford the deductible and any co-payments associated with this policy!
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