Scores of senior travelers are reaching all corners of the globe on leisure, business and educational trips. Health and safety are now major concerns as international travel expands. Given the heightened risks, savvy senior travelers are preparing more than ever to avoid potential hazards.
What Will a Good Travel Health Policy Do for You?
Travel health insurance policies are designed to pick up your medical expenses when traveling abroad. If you are covered under Medicare, these plans act as your primary insurance while abroad. Travel health insurance also fills critical gaps when taking Medicare supplemental plans overseas. For example, Medicare supplements typically cover emergencies up to $50,000 and are subject to a $250 deductible and 20% coinsurance.
The best plans cover everything from hospitalization, surgery, physician office visits, ambulance services, prescription medications, and emergencies. The premier plans make it a point to cover sickness or injury resulting from a pre-existing medical condition or terrorist event without limitations. Some policies even pay medical providers overseas on a direct basis so you can avoid the paperwork hassles that come with filing a claim.
Admitted Coverage versus Non-Admitted Coverage
There are big differences in your rights when you buy travel health insurance. Some plans are licensed and regulated in the U.S. while others are issued offshore beyond the reach of your state’s Department of Insurance. In fact, most evacuation membership plans are not regulated or even backed by a rated insurance carrier. U.S. Licensed and approved plans are called “admitted insurance” and afford members the strongest consumer protections. Your personal health and financial security hang in the balance.
Admitted Health Insurance Advantages Include:
- Consumer Protection
The strict U.S. insurance laws are strict and protect health care consumers. Policy language must be fair and meet the plan English definition. Policy wording, plan definitions, exclusions, claims turnaround times, formal appeals process must meet regulatory guidelines.
- Global Provide Networks
What good is insurance if you can’t find a doctor you trust? The best plans give you access to the best providers who are able to bill the insurance company directly. In addition, providers are selected based on their medical credentials, language proficiency and more. ALWAYS ask the insurer what their credentialing process entails.
- Richer Benefits
Admitted benefits tend to be broader and deeper with fewer surprises at time of claim. The table below illustrates major differences between and admitted policy and a popular non admitted policy.
|Coverage Considerations||Sample Provisions
|Conforms to U.S. health insurance laws||Yes||No|
|Pre-Existing conditions covered to policy limit*||Yes||No|
|Terrorism covered with no excluded countries||Yes||No|
|Pre-certification not required for hospitalization||Yes||No|
|Cashless access to profiled physicians and hospitals in 180 countries||Yes||No|
*Pre-existing conditions may be subject to current enrollment in Medicare.
Healthy, Safe Travel
Enjoy peace of mind with a well-built travel health plan. As with everything in life, it is a good idea to do your homework. Always ensure that you read the fine print rather than just scanning a benefit schedule. Ask your broker or insurance company to send you a sample policy so you can get a complete picture of what you’re buying.