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Overseas Medical Insurance: Travel Insurance You Need | Travel & Vacation Tips & Resources

Overseas Medical Insurance

If you’ve ever booked a trip with a travel agent, you may remember that a Traveler’s Insurance application was always inserted along with the travel documents. It was, and still is, a necessary component for travelers booking trips overseas.

However, there is another type of insurance which many travelers do not consider and that is medical insurance.

According to the U.S. Department of State, “Obtaining medical treatment and hospital care abroad can be expensive, and medical evacuation to the U.S. can cost more than $50,000.  Note that U.S. medical insurance is generally not accepted outside the United States, nor do the Social Security Medicare and Medicaid programs provide coverage for hospital or medical costs outside the United States. 

If your insurance policy does not cover you abroad, it is a good idea to consider purchasing a short-term policy that does.  There are health insurance policies designed specifically to cover travel.  Many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas, including emergency services such as medical evacuations.”

It is advised that you check with your medical insurance company to ascertain if the policy you currently have will cover you in case of an illness or emergency that requires immediate treatment.

The Department of State makes it quite clear why overseas medical insurance is necessary, especially for individuals who are covered under a Social Security Medicare program:

1. The Medicare Program does not offer coverage for hospital or medical costs outside the U.S.

2. While there are many healthcare insurance plans that do not provide overseas coverage, those that do only provide “customary and reasonable” hospital costs.

3. Most foreign hospitals and physicians will ask for payment in cash before commencing with treatment.

4. If you have no health insurance, you may not be treated at all.

5. Those countries in which socialized medicine is available may not provide assistance to visitors.

Before you travel overseas, you may wish to check the U.S. Department of State’s Country Information Sheet. The list provides information important to you and your health should an emergency arise.

You may also wish to check out the CDC website where you will find up-to-date health information for over 200 countries.

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