No one wants to have a medical emergency, and particularly not in a country that is unfamiliar territory- or when there is a language barrier. It is safe to say that merely thinking about this kind of situation is exhausting, let alone having to go through it. Situations like these give you the answer to your question of how important is international health insurance, since it allows you to travel with ease and rest assured knowing that you will be taken care of, should the unforeseen occur.
Whether you will be traveling for weeks, studying for a few months or living abroad for years, contemplating your international health insurance is essential to a great trip. Of course international health insurance varies depending on the type of trip you are taking, however, it’s an important consideration to make prior to flying across the world.
Why International Health Insurance is a Good Idea
While it may be a tedious process to research what type of insurance plan would be best for you, and it’s not pleasant to think about having an accident abroad, there are a few reasons why it’s necessary to think about it.
- International health insurance covers you away from home- Whether you are marveling at the Taj Mahal in India, eating baguettes on the street in Paris or scaling Macchu Picchu in Peru, international health insurance can follow. You can think of it as protection and an investment in your health during your journey.
- It makes sense financially- Not many people are excited to pay for medical bills out of their own pocket and we are sure you’re included in this group. Medical bills can be hefty, but international health insurance can assist with these costs. If you are severely injured, you are not going to want any additional stress.
- US Insurance does not always cover you outside of the US- Because you have health insurance inside the US, this does not mean it will automatically cover you overseas. You will want to check with your US plan as to where it will cover you and what benefits are included in that coverage. If it doesn’t cover everything you need when traveling, or provide any international coverage any at all, you may want to explore your international options.
What Should Your International Insurance Cover?
There are multiple items you will want to review when researching international health insurance. Therefore, it is important to understand exactly what each individual insurance plan is offering you, and if it does or does not meet your needs.
It is crucial to make sure that your insurance plan covers the following:
- Accidents and Injuries– Make sure both of these are covered and you know what exclusions are on the plan.
- Emergency Evacuation– In the event that the health facility is unable to provide you with the treatment needed, this coverage transports you to a nearby location that can.
- Hospital Services– If you need to have surgery or undergo emergency care, hospital services are necessary. Find out how much coverage there is for hospitalization and if it includes a shared or private room.
- Mental Health– Mental health is just as crucial as physical health. Not every health insurance plan will automatically include mental health, if you would like coverage for this make sure your plan will include it.
- Pre-existing Conditions– A pre-existing condition is a condition that you had prior to purchasing your plan. If you will need coverage for a pre-existing condition, research if the plan under consideration will have a waiting period that needs to me bet before it is covered, if it will be at all.
- Return of Remains– Although a benefit that many forget to consider when buying a plan, it’s a very important one to remember to avoid leaving a large medical bill behind. In the event that you or the insured dies due to a covered illness or injury- this will make sure they return home.
Remember, this list is a guide of items you will want to look for when you begin the international insurance hunt. While the aforementioned points are all of significance, there are others that may pertain to you.
Individual, Group and Student Plans
- Group vs. Individual Insurance Plans– If you will be traveling with a group of individuals, you might want to consider a group plan! This not only allows each traveler in the group to purchase the plan at the same time but you might even receive a slight discount.
- Student Insurance Plans– If you are a student, international insurance is imperative and many times mandatory. If your university does not have a mandatory plan for you to purchase, research companies and compare to find the best option for you.
Although planning international travel is exciting when it comes to thinking about the travels that are to come and not the potential dangers, it is important to prepare for those as well. The best way to do this is to not only purchase health insurance, but to purchase a plan that includes the major benefits you need. Bon voyage!