It may not be on your checklist for your next trip to Ireland, but insurance is an important factor to consider. There is more than one kind of insurance to keep in mind however. Trip cancellation insurance is very important, but often neglected. You should also research automobile insurance options, as the Collision Damage Waiver on a rented vehicle can be expensive. And what if you’re sick? Will your health insurance cover you when you’re out of the country? Here are some questions you should answer before your trip. And start early, some of the research can take a while.
1. What does my health plan cover overseas?
The level of medical coverage available for international travel can vary widely, depending on your domestic health care provider and plan. The State Department advises contacting your insurance company prior to your trip and inquiring about the specific medical services overseas that are included in your coverage.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also encourages travelers to ask what’s excluded from their policy, such as risky activities. And depending on what is available to you, the CDC advises considering a supplemental policy. The State Department also recommends inquiring about specifics such as whether the plan includes coverage for emergency evacuations to the U.S. and pre-existing medical conditions. You should also familiarize yourself with any out-of-pocket costs that you may encounter for medical procedures or services overseas.
Start by contacting your insurance agent and getting answers to these questions.
2. What about Medicare?
Keep in mind that Medicare does not cover emergency medical service for travelers out of the country. There are some Medigap plans that can offer supplemental coverage but remember that there is a lifetime cap of $50,000 for foreign travel emergency coverage.
3. What about emergency medical evacuations?
Few domestic health insurance providers will pay to transport ill patients back to the United States. And emergency evacuations can be expensive, costing more than $100,000, depending on your health condition and where you’re located at the time the emergency takes place. If you’re visiting a place that’s isolated or where the quality of health care is subpar, do a cost-benefit analysis of investing in a supplemental evacuation insurance plan.
4. Should I buy travel medical insurance for my next vacation?
It’s a smart idea to consider investing in travel insurance. But before you make a final decision, you’ll want to evaluate a variety of factors, including the type of trip you’re planning and if you’ll be taking part in risky activities, such as scuba diving or mountain climbing during your trip. According to the CDC, there are three types of insurance travelers should consider while traveling: trip cancellation insurance, travel health insurance and medical evacuation insurance.
Travel health insurance can provide 24/7 emergency assistance to help aid you in the event of a medical emergency. A licensed travel insurance agent can provide advice on appropriate coverage limits and how to qualify for coverage for pre-existing medical conditions.
5. What if I have to file a claim?
A claim is typically required in order to request reimbursement for medical bills. Most providers will require all hospital records (usually translated if in a non-English language) and receipts in order to evaluate the validity of the claim.
Sign Up for STEP
Travelers are encouraged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) prior to international travel. Doing so will notify the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate of your travel plans. The local embassy can also help connect American travelers with a local medical facility.
Click here for some options on insurance coverage for your trip. Examine all the possible plans and decide which options are best for you.