Top Summer Travel Destinations for 2014 and Medical Coverage Outside the U.S.

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Top Summer Travel Destinations for 2014 and Medical Coverage Outside the U.S.

Published on June 03, 2014


Top Summer Travel DestinationsTripAdvisor recently published its list of the 25 most well reviewed global travel destinations for 2014. (Source)
Istanbul topped this year’s list, followed by Rome, London, Beijing and Prague. Among the top five, there were no real surprises, considering the rich history and orientation toward tourism of the winning cities.
I was surprised to see Marrakech, Morocco jump way up the list from nineteenth in 2012 to sixth in 2014. By the same token, I was surprised to see tourism down in Paris, of all places, which tumbled from the number two spot to the number seven spot in just one year.
What about the good old United States, you ask? New York City was first on the list at twelve (12), followed by Chicago at eighteen (18). San Francisco fell out of the top 10 this year, dropping eighteen spots to bring up the rear at twenty-five (25).
What does it all mean?
If you’re asking an existential question (what does it all mean?), we think the fact that you’re asking that question is a sign that you need to take a vacation.
If you’re asking what the survey results mean, it seems pretty obvious that you should leave the country on your next vacation and visit a place like Marrakech. After all, people seem to like it!

Does my health insurance cover medical emergencies outside the US?

That’s the type of question we can answer. The short answer is, there are no short answers when it comes to health insurance…

  • You may “sort of” be covered: As a general rule, some insurance companies will cover emergency care when you’re out of the country. Some will not. If you’re traveling outside of the United States, contact your insurance provider before you board the plane.
  • Why “sort of?”: Even if you’re covered by health insurance out of the country, you may:
    • Have to pay upfront when you receive care and get reimbursed by your insurer when you get home.
    • Have forms to fill out afterwards to get reimbursed. Many complicated forms…
    • Need to connect your insurer’s international contact with the doctor/care provider at the time you receive care.

So what should you do before you travel?

  1. 1. Over-prepare: Call your insurer or your licensed agent (that’s us here at eHealth) and find out:
    1. a. If your current plan covers you when you’re out of the country,
    2. b. What your current plan covers if you’re injured out of the country (for example, is it emergency only?)
    3. c. How to get reimbursed for a claim if you have to file one.
  2. 2. Consider travel insurance: Depending on the level of benefits and your age, for about $25 per month, you can purchase a travel insurance plan before you fly out of the country. Here is what the plans typically provide:
  • Medical Translation – Travel insurers typically have a host of translators available to help you bridge language and culture gaps so you get the care you need fast, and in accordance with your insurance company’s policies.
  • Up-Front Out-of-Pocket Costs – Most plans pay medical costs for emergency services up-front. For smaller, non-emergency claims you would have to negotiate reimbursement with your insurer when you complete treatment or return home.
  • Long-Term Hospitalization – Plans usually cover immediate medical costs, if you’re hospitalized, and negotiate your bills with your U.S. insurer in order to minimize your out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Family Extraction – If you or someone in your family is too sick or injured to head back to the U.S., travel insurance plans typically pay to have the rest of the family fly.
  • Travel Delay – If your trip is delayed, some travel insurance plans will actually reimburse you for unused accommodations and even the extra meals and telephone calls you had to make when trying to get back to your scheduled destination.
  • Dental – Fillings fall out, and teeth crack when you’re on vacation too. Most travel insurance policies usually include some sort of reimbursement for emergency dental treatment.

Traveling the world can be an amazing experience for individuals and families, but you want to make sure you create long lasting memories of the scenery, not your medical bills.
Happy travels, bon voyage!

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