Affordable Care Act
With the Zika virus in the news and many experts warning against travel overseas to places like the Olympic Games in Brazil, now might be a good time to review what your health insurance can do for you when you’re away from home – and what it can’t.
Health insurance coverage away from home
Most health insurance plans only provide you with full coverage for your medical care within a limited geographical area where the insurance company has a network of doctors and hospitals. When you travel outside this area, even in the United States, your coverage may be severely reduced. In fact, depending on your plan and the kind of care you receive, you may have no coverage at all.
Even when you do have some coverage outside your network, your health insurance plan may require you to pay your medical bills up front and then submit a claim for reimbursement after the fact. Depending on the cost of the care you received, paying up front can be a real burden.
When it comes to medical care rendered overseas, most health insurance plans work the same way. You may have limited coverage, or no coverage at all, and you’ll probably be required to pay for your care up front and then submit a claim after you return.
The value of travel insurance
This is where travel insurance can help. A good travel insurance plan can help you fill the gaps in your medical coverage overseas – and provide you with assistance outside the bounds of what we typically think of when we think about health insurance. What’s more, it’s pretty darn affordable.
Here are a few key things every traveler should know about travel insurance:
Understand what you’re buying – and what you’re not
It’s important to note that travel insurance isn’t going to cover a lot of your standard medical care. It may not, for example, cover a regular checkup or preventive medical tests while you’re overseas. It’s mostly designed to help you in emergencies, and there are dollar limits placed on your coverage – so be sure to pay attention to a policy’s “maximum coverage limit.”
You should also educate yourself on any specific exclusions under your travel insurance plan. The rates you pay for travel insurance are typically not based on which country you’re traveling to, but certain restrictions may apply. Coverage may be limited if you’re traveling to a war zone or if you’re engaging in risky athletic activities while overseas.
Whether you’re traveling to an area where Zika is prevalent or anywhere else overseas, you owe it to yourself to consider travel insurance. With its affordability and the special assistance it can provide, travel insurance can make a great companion for your next global adventure.