Have you picked out a dreamy destination? Grabbed your passport? Oh, and did you get travel health insurance, too? Travel health insurance (also known as international health insurance) might be important when you take your next trip. Here’s what you need to know and where to get it.
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The Best Travel Health Insurance:
What is Travel Health Insurance?
Domestic health insurance covers things like wellness check-ups, vaccinations, illnesses and injuries while you’re at home — or at least in your home country. However, not all health insurance covers you when you leave the country. That’s why you need to scour the fine print on your health plan. You need travel medical insurance if you’re only covered for domestic insurance. That goes for Medicare, too. Medicare typically covers its enrollees only when they’re in the United States.
Travel health insurance is different than travel insurance. Travel insurance protects things like your financial investment in your travels, lost baggage and canceled flights. But travel insurance won’t help you with medical expenses while you’re abroad. International health insurance protects if you run into illness or injury when you travel outside of the U.S.
Who Needs Travel Health Insurance?
Anyone traveling abroad should consider travel health insurance. You never know when and where injuries or illnesses will pop up and you want the best health insurance possible. No matter where you go (whether you hit Machu Picchu, an all-inclusive cruise around the Mediterranean or take in the sights and culture of the Swiss Alps) travel medical insurance is a good idea.
Average Cost of Travel Health Insurance
Travel health insurance typically costs about $40 – $80 for a short trip. The factors that affect the cost include:
- Your age
- Trip length
- Medical and evacuation coverage
There are also 3 types of travel health insurance you can get:
- Single trip travel medical: As the name suggests, this is coverage for a single trip.
- Multi-trip travel medical: This covers you if you plan to take multiple overseas trips over a period of 3 months to 12 months.
- Long-term major medical: If you plan to be abroad for a long time — 12 months or more — this type of travel health insurance can cover you.
What Does Travel Health Insurance Cover?
No one makes plans to suffer an injury or illness when you’re traveling but that doesn’t mean you can’t plan for coverage just in case. Travel medical insurance helps you with minor emergencies like spraining an ankle, chipping a tooth and food poisoning. It also helps you with transportation, evacuation and in extreme cases, death. Here’s what you can expect travel health insurance to cover:
- Medical/dental costs
- Advance payments to medical facilities and emergency transport
- Emergency medical evacuation services
- Accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) and travel accident benefits
- Emergency travel assistance
What Does Travel Health Insurance not Cover?
Travel health insurance is meant to cover your medical expenses when you visit another country. It doesn’t cover expenses related to your trip like:
- Trip cancellation: Let’s say your trip is canceled due to weather, social unrest or another reason. Travel health insurance won’t cover the costs.
- Trip interruption: Travel health insurance doesn’t cover expenses you might incur if your trip is interrupted due to a strike or some other reason.
- Lost baggage
- Travel delays
Best Travel Health Insurance Providers
When the unexpected includes an accident or illness, travel health insurance comes to the rescue. You just need to sign up for it. Here are some of the best choices for travel health insurance.
1. Best Overall: Allianz Global Assistance
Allianz Global Assistance insures around 40 million customers yearly. Allianz touts affordable plans, straightforward benefits and easy claims processing. More than 80% of user reviews on Trustpilot give Allianz a 5-star rating.
The OneTrip Emergency Medical plan from Allianz includes emergency medical, emergency medical transportation, travel accident coverage and 24-hour hotline assistance. Preexisting medical condition coverage is also available. Unlike typical travel health insurance, this plan also covers non-medical expenses, too, like travel delays, missed connections and lost/stolen/damaged baggage.
Additional benefits include a concierge service that helps you with personalized destination information and secures restaurant reservations, event tickets and even tee times.
2. Least Expensive: Seven Corners
Not all domestic health insurance plans follow you as you wander the globe, but Seven Corners helps you if you’re in a car or boat accident, injured, sick or even contract a contagious disease like malaria, yellow fever, typhoid or Zika. Seven Corners reminds travelers that even if a country they’re traveling to has nationalized health care, the nationalized health care doesn’t apply to non-residents.
That means that if you’re just visiting a country with nationalized health care, you’re still responsible for your health care needs. Nationalized health care only applies to citizens of that country. Seven Corners offers multiple plans for all types of travelers and trips. The company even offers a “follow-me-home” feature that continues your medical care after your trip ends.
Seven Corners caters to students studying abroad so it offers some of the lowest rates for travelers.
3. Best for Travelers with Purpose: IMG
IMG understands that people travel for many reasons. It offers multiple plans with varying coverage if you’re traveling abroad briefly or long term. If your travel plans extend beyond traditional sight-seeing and veer into studying abroad or the mission-oriented, IMG offers many plans tailored to the purpose and the length of your trip.
Helpful to those 65 years and older, IMG has plans specially tailored to the senior traveler. Many travel health plans do not cover preexisting conditions. However, IMG makes coverage for the “sudden recurrence” of preexisting conditions available.
4. Best for the Tech-Savvy Traveler: RoamRight
You’ll enjoy every aspect of your travels much more with a little peace of mind and financial protection. RoamRight offers many options for coverage so you can focus on what you’re doing rather than worry about the what-ifs. Additional benefits from RoamRight include AD&D, dental, emergency accident and sickness, emergency medical evacuation and repatriation of remains.
RoamRight can also help you locate doctors, hospitals or other medical care. Policy enrollment also includes full access to the RoamRight app that can help you with travel-related information, seek medical help and purchase medication.
5. Best for the Adventurer: World Nomads
World Nomads offers coverage for about 200 activities, including 40 extreme activities. You’ll find coverage beyond a standard illness or errant stumble. But even World Nomads has its limits. Policies cover adventurous, not risky, behavior. Coverage isn’t provided for things like if you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol or if you get on a motorbike without a helmet or a license.
A conscientious adventurer can expect coverage for hospitalization, outpatient treatment for medical emergencies, prescribed medicines, X-rays and transport home (if medically necessary).
The World is Your Oyster, Protect the Shell
Whether your trip is the culmination of patient planning or a spur-of-the-moment impulse, travel medical insurance helps protect you if you’re injured or ill. It’s as important as finding the right place to stay. Travel health insurance is one of those things that you may not need but could be indispensable if you need it.
Consider this: if you forget to pack a swimsuit for the beach or shoes for the walking tour, plenty of shops can help you out. But if you fail to purchase travel medical insurance before you leave, then you’re on the hook for some major expenses.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) Q: Is health insurance required?
The federal mandate that required health insurance has been lifted but some states have enacted state-level mandates that require residents to have health insurance. Even where not required, health insurance can protect your family against catastrophic healthcare costs and help make routine medical expenses more predictable. Get your most affordable quote through our top providers today.
2) Q: What does health insurance cover?
Most health insurance plans provide the 10 essential health benefits that were part of Obamacare requirements. Coverages include preventative and wellness services, prescription drug coverage, emergency services, ambulatory services, lab services, pediatric services, and more. Many plans cover a wider range of healthcare expenses but may cost more than basic plans or may have higher out-of-pocket costs for some services.Get a custom health insurance quote to cover you and your family today.
3) Q: How can I save money on health insurance?
For healthcare plans that comply with the Affordable Care Act, only a handful of rating factors affect your premium. These include age and location, at least one of which can’t be changed. Smokers will pay more in most cases and your choice of plan level can affect premiums as well. Choosing a high deductible health insurance plan can reduce the cost of premiums. These plans can be combined with a health savings account to take advantage of tax-free savings for healthcare expenses. Get the cheapest health insurance premium from top providers.