A travel insurance policy that provides international coverage is also known as ‘overseas insurance’. Such policies typically cover a traveler’s emergency medical expenses when they are traveling outside their home country. If you are traveling to the U.S. from another country, overseas insurance is a critical purchase for two reasons:
- 1. Health care costs in the U.S. are the highest in the world.
- 2. There is no free medical care in the U.S.
Let’s review what overseas insurance can do for international travelers.
Paying for Medical Emergencies
The primary - and most important - benefit of overseas insurance is covering medical emergencies. If a traveler gets a severe case of food poisoning, for example, and become severely dehydrated that traveler may have to go to a hospital. A hospital visit in the U.S. can result in many thousands of dollars even for a short overnight stay.
An overseas insurance plan gives the traveler the protection he or she needs if such an emergency happens. Depending on the type of overseas medical insurance plan, the traveler may have to pay a deductible and co-insurance but the insurance provider will pay the remainder of the medical bill (up to the plan limit). Without overseas insurance, the traveler could be required to pay their hospital bill by handing over a credit card and paying it off over time with accrued interest. That’s not the kind of souvenir you want to take back home.
Paying for Evacuations and Repatriation
The next most important benefit of having an overseas insurance plan is covering emergency evacuations and repatriation. If the traveler is badly injured or seriously ill and cannot reach a hospital by standard transportation services, the overseas insurance company will coordinate and pay for an emergency medical evacuation so they can receive proper medical care. For example, if a traveler is in the U.S. to take a Caribbean cruise and suffers a heart attack, the onboard medical facilities may be suitable for basic life-saving measures but they cannot help the traveler fully recover.
An emergency medical evacuation off a cruise ship to the closest medical facility can cost tens, even hundreds, of thousands of dollars and the cruise ship is not responsible for getting you to a medical facility. After all, there are thousands of other paying passengers on board. Plus, the traveler will be responsible for paying the bill for their medical care onboard the cruise ship.
With an overseas insurance plan in their pocket, however, their medical bill on the cruise ship will be reimbursed and the insuranc company will arrange for and manage their emergency evacuation to the nearest medical facility capable of treating them. In addition, the insurance company will also arrange for the traveler to be returned home once they are recovered to the point of being stable for travel again.
What Does Overseas Insurance Cost?
The cost of an overseas insurance policy depends on a few factors, including:
- The traveler’s age
- The length of the trip
- The activities involved
- The type of coverage
The cost of a policy may be increased if the traveler chooses to add optional coverage to round out their plan. It’s important to note that overseas medical insurance is extremely affordable when you look at the risks involved.