April 25, 2010
By Judy McEuen
SAN FRANCISCO, CA, Apr. 25, 2010/ Troy Media/ — Travel health insurance, just like trip insurance, can be very confusing and daunting trying to find the right policy for you.
Start by seeing if you are already covered in some way. Check your personal medical insurance policy, check with your credit card company, even check with your automobile association to see if you have some sort of evacuation insurance.
Weigh the risks
Then weigh the risks you’ll face on your travels:
1) How is your health? Do you have a condition that might cause you to need medical care while you are on your trip?
2) Where will you be going? Do they have good and affordable medical care for non-residents?
3) Can you find an affordable policy?
You may find that you have some coverage already. Then decide if it is enough or do you need to supplement it? If you decide that you do need travel health insurance, read and compare policies so you get the right coverage for you.
1) Does the policy cover emergency hospital or medical costs? Do they pay when you get the care or do they reimburse you later?
2) Are you covered if you have a pre-existing condition?
3) Do they have a help line that can aid you in finding a doctor who can speak your language?
4) Does the policy provide medical evacuation back to your country if that is the best way to get treatment for you?
Get several quotes and read the fine print. Make sure that you are comparing “apples to apples.” Don’t assume that every policy defines a certain term in the same way. Check on the deductibles and how much your co-payment will be.
Keep in mind that you are buying travel health insurance for emergencies. Don’t think you can go to a clinic if you come down with a cold on your trip. These policies typically do not cover non-emergency care.
If you are engaging in risky activities, you might not be covered. Risky activities can be rock climbing and mountaineering, but bungee jumping and scuba diving might also be excluded. If you choose to travel to a country where your government has issued a travel advisory, the whole trip might be considered a risky activity and exclude you from coverage!
Reliable health advice
One organization we will tell you about is IAMAT – The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers. It provides reliable and impartial travel health advice. When you are traveling, it can provide you with the name of a doctor or clinic that it has vetted, giving you access to quality and affordable health care. Joining IAMAT is free, but to help with this great service, they will gladly accept donations.
We are not going to give you any advice on whether you should get travel health insurance or not. That really is something you have to decide for yourself. We just want to make sure you check all the details. We have it on our travel preparation list, and we evaluate our needs for more insurance before each risky trip.
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