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Medical insurance for U.S. citizens traveling abroad.

If you open your passport to page two, you will see a warning that says that anyone who is considering foreign travel should find out what travel medical health insurance coverage, they will require while they are outside the United States. For any US citizen going abroad, Medicare does not cover the medical care costs outside the US and US territories, except in rare cases in Canada and Mexico.

In fact, it might surprise you to learn that many international travelers travel without appropriate and adequate insurance protection. US Government sponsored health insurance programs, like Medicare, are highly unlikely to cover any emergency medical care that you may have to receive in a foreign country.

Even employer sponsored plans usually have limited overseas coverage, for emergency care only, provided you can prove the emergency.

Whether you are traveling on business or for pleasure, you probably have gaps in your travel medical coverage that you are not even aware of.

Always remember that adequate travel medical insurance is critical for any international travel. Getting good healthcare may be a tricky business in itself in some parts of the world.

Some hospitals, the world over do not provide treatment or allow a discharge until they receive a guarantee of payment. In most cases, such a guarantee can most easily be provided by your travel medical insurer.

So, if you donít have adequate cover, you may have to pay in thousands of dollars advance, with your credit card, provided the hospital accepts a foreign credit card, which many donít.

In addition, in that pinch situation, your card must also have a large enough credit limit to cover the estimated cost of medical care.

Also, getting sudden medical evacuation, to return to the US, where the healthcare is of a known level and your regular insurance is good enough, can be even trickier.

Local authorities usually have tie-ups with certain evacuation companies, which may not recognize either your credit card or your domestic insurance.

Most of the travel medical insurance plans, however, include medical assistance benefit giving you 24/7 access to a creditable evacuation company or will actually arrange for an evacuation through their own medical personnel.

If you have medical insurance cover in the US, assess the plan that you have. Check with your insurance provider and determine exactly what kind of coverage you have, under the existing policy.

If you feel that the provided cover is not enough, have your travel medical insurance cover increased before you ever leave home.

If you don't already have insurance, you know how difficult things can sometimes get. Think about how much worse it can be in a foreign and unfamiliar country.

There are three major types of travel medical insurance coverage to be considered before you leave. Most reputed travel insurance products will offer either all three of these, or, at least two of them:

  • Supplemental medical and accident insurance pays for the doctor and the hospital bills. May sometimes include dental care as well as medications. Does not cover preventive care, including annual physicals.

  • Medical Evacuation plans take care of expensive evacuations which can cost as much as $50,000. In addition to the insurance cover, they should provide assistance in arranging the evacuation.

  • Trip cancellation or interruption plans cover you financially in case you suddenly need to cancel or interrupt your trip for a medical reason. If you can't take the vacation because of a personal or family illness, the insurance will reimburse you for the non-refundable parts of the trip.

Find and purchase a comprehensive, secure and worldwide travel medical insurance plan. Donít leave home without it.


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