June 23, 2018

Trip Insurance Cover Medical Expenses?

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Your trip policy covers canceled flights, but does it cover a visit to the doctor? Read on to learn about the medical benefits offered by trip insurance plans.

Travelers have their choice of many different insurance policies. Trip insurance, travel medical insurance, and evacuation insurance are just a few. Each of these plans have their own set of unique benefits, some of which include medical coverage.

Let's take a closer look at the medical benefits available with a standard trip insurance plan.

What kind of medical coverage is available?

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Medical coverage through your trip insurance is for new and unexpected accidents or illnesses—things that happen while you're on your actual trip.

The coverage is not like your normal health insurance. It's not for routine visits or check-ups. It won't cover for a condition you already have.

Here are some practical examples.

  • I was walking on the sidewalk in Barcelona and fell. I went to the hospital with a broken ankle.
    Covered: The accident happened during your trip.

  • We were surfing in Australia. I got some water in my ear and it hurt the next day. I went to a clinic for some ear drops.
    Covered: The cause of your ear pain happened during your trip.

  • I had a sore throat before we left for our trip, but I thought it would get better. Now we're in the Alps and the altitude is making it worse. I need to see a doctor.
    Not Covered: The condition may be worse because of your location, but the throat pain started before your trip. Your condition is pre-existing.

  • I'm diabetic and I forgot my insulin at home. I need to see a doctor to get a quick prescription.
    Not Covered: Your diabetes is a pre-existing condition.

What's included in this coverage?

Medical benefits on your trip plan will cover most services needed to stabilize and treat an illness or accident.

This includes:

  • Emergency room visits
  • Hospital treatment
  • Clinic or doctor visit
  • Ambulance transport
  • Prescriptions

Medical necessity plays a big part in this coverage. As the policy holder, you're expected to seek out the most appropriate treatment for your condition. In short, this means you shouldn't go to the emergency room for a minor illness.

An otherwise valid claim could be denied if your treatment is not considered medically necessary.

Most travel policies offer concierge services. If you need medical treatment, call your insurance for help finding a doctor or clinic in your location.

How it works

When you visit the doctor at home, his office probably bills your insurance directly. But that's not how trip insurance works.

Medical treatment overseas usually means paying the bill at the time of the visit. Your trip insurance is there to reimburse you for the eligible expenses you paid.

Sometimes there's an exception to this rule. If you're looking at a really high medical bill, like a hospital stay, contact your insurance company. They may work directly with the hospital on payment arrangements. Don't rely on this though, because it may not always be possible.

Serious injury or illness

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What if you're seriously sick or hurt? There's a good chance your trip insurance includes a medical evacuation benefit. If the local hospital can't treat you, this benefit covers your transport to a better facility.

If you're in a situation like this, contact your insurance company right away. They'll work on travel arrangements and help you through the process.

Looking for more medical coverage?

Trip insurance plans often have a low medical coverage limits. If you're looking for better medical coverage with higher limits, consider a travel medical policy. These plans are built with medical coverage as the top priority.

Travel medical policies only offer limited trip benefits though. Be sure to compare coverage and benefits on both plans before deciding.

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