With summer just around the corner and travel restrictions lifting worldwide, vacation season is quickly approaching. However, in this pandemic era, having safeguards and access to healthcare services is of utmost importance. Before traveling, deciding whether or not to purchase travel health insurance should be a top priority.
This article will provide you with a list of the best travel health insurance options and supplemental add-ons to standard marketplace plans.
About Travel Health Insurance
If you have a federal health insurance plan or want extra protection while you travel, you should consider signing up for a travel insurance plan before your trip. Travel insurance gives you one-on-one help in emergencies with 24-hour assistance hotlines and can aid you in finding interpreters or arranging for family members to fly to your bedside if needed. Travel insurance with emergency medical benefits covers medical and dental emergencies and emergency transportation to or from a care facility.
Overall, travel health insurance provides you with several benefits and peace of mind when traveling. Having travel health insurance allows you to receive care as soon as possible when medical emergencies occur and safeguards your trip in case of baggage loss, severe weather impacts, or emergency evacuations.
Travel Health Insurance Coverage Details
The majority of travel health insurance plans last for one year from the start date, which should be the departure day of your trip. Travel health insurance helps cover the cost of unexpected illness, medical conditions, or injury that occurs while you’re out of your home state or country.
Here is a list of some of the most common medical emergencies covered by travel health insurance:
- Broken Bones
- Heart Attacks
- Emergency Dental Procedures
- Medical Evacuations
- Emergency Transportation
- Emergency Repatriation
Like traditional health insurance, most travel insurance plans have a set deductible. Usually, they are around $250 and must be paid before the insurance coverage kicks in. However, it's important to note that this number can vary depending on your plan. Furthermore, as the deductible decreases, the maximum coverage amount could also decrease.
Best Travel Health Insurance Plans
Here is a chart of the top five travel insurance plans.
Pros and Cons of Best Travel Health Insurance Plans
Name of Plan
|AXA Assistance USA||Varies; Average Range: $216 - $536|
|Cat 70||Varies; Average Range: $184 - $542|
|HTH Worldwide||Varies; Average Range: $252 - $497|
|Seven Corners||Varies; Average Range: $246 - $430|
|Tin Leg||Varies; Average Range: $184 - $542|
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Out of State Marketplace Plan Coverage
If you have health insurance through the Marketplace, you can purchase a supplemental add-on if you intend to travel.PPOs provide extensive out-of-state coverage, but you must see an in-network provider if you have an HMO plan. In this case, you may consider a supplemental insurance plan to add to your existing marketplace plan.
Supplemental Plan Add-On
Supplemental coverage can be a great add-on if you venture out of state often. Supplemental coverage comes with two options to protect you nationwide and is only for marketplace plans.
Additional Critical Illness/Accident coverage will reimburse you if you have a bad accident or serious diagnosis, regardless of the location. This option is excellent for frequent travelers who are concerned with out-of-network costs.
The second type of add-on is hospital indemnity plans. These plans pay you cash upfront to cover eligible services, including doctor's visits, follow-ups, second opinions, and hospital stays.
International travel comes with its own set of restrictions regarding healthcare coverage. If you have notable pre-existing conditions and health concerns before departure (or you know you might have to seek out care aboard), investing in travel health insurance before leaving the country might be in your best interest.
Generally speaking, some marketplace plans can’t be used overseas. Before traveling, it's essential to contact your insurance company to determine if your plan includes overseas health insurance. Some questions the U.S. State Department suggests asking your insurer before traveling include:
- Does my plan cover emergency expenses abroad such as returning me to the United States for treatment if I become seriously ill?
- Do you require pre-authorizations or second opinions before emergency treatment can begin?
- Do you guarantee medical payments abroad?
Because Medicare is a United States federal program, enrollees will not be able to apply medicare coverage to healthcare services outside of the United States.
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Medicaid coverage cannot be used outside of the United States. Furthermore, if you are covered by Medicaid and travel outside of the country for more than 30 days, your coverage can be suspended.
Travel Health Insurance Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
This section answers some frequently asked questions about travel health insurance. If you have specific questions about the plan or supplement add-ons, you should contact the insurance company.
How far in advance do I need to buy travel health insurance?
In short, you should purchase your travel health insurance as soon as possible. Ideally, you should buy coverage no later than 15 days before your trip departure. If you are booking your trip with 30 or more days until the departure date, you can gradually start looking at the best health insurance plans and costs, so when it gets closer to your trip date, you can confidently enroll in your plan.
Does everyone in my family need separate travel health insurance, or does one plan cover everyone?
Depends on the plan. Typically companies prefer that you and your family are on one plan together, with the stipulation that you all reside in the same home. Some companies have made the household rule a requirement and only allow a spouse and dependent to be covered under the same plan.
If there are family members in your travel party that reside in different states, you will need separate plans, as state-by-state restrictions and requirements for enrollment can vary.
One final consideration with family plan coverage is the date of travel. If there are variations in travel dates (leaving or returning on different dates), most plans will require you to ensure each member separately.
Travel health insurance plans and supplemental marketplace add-ons present significant pros and cons to be assessed on a personal and trip-by-trip basis. Although an independent travel health insurance plan comes at an additional cost, in the long run having the insurance in place as a precaution is cheaper than most out-of-pocket costs you would incur without insurance coverage.
Whether you're visiting a neighboring city or traveling across the country, having healthcare coverage, no matter where you are, takes away the financial worry of out-of-pocket costs. Mira gives you the best of both worlds. For as low as $45 per month, you get nationwide access to urgent care visits, low-cost lab testing, and discounted prescriptions. Sign up today!
Originally from Houston, Texas, Alexandra is currently getting her Master's in Public Health with a health policy certificate at Columbia University. One of her life goals is to own her own art gallery!