Travel Health Insurance covers your healthcare-related expenses when traveling outside your own country. Details such as deductible (amount you pay for care of each illness/event), maximum benefit, and type of healthcare expenses covered varies widely from policy to policy.
Evacuation Insurance covers expenses related to transporting you to a facility that can care for you if you are unable to get there without assistance. It may also cover other expenses, such as returning you to your home after medical treatment is administered and transporting a family member or friend to the location where you are receiving care.
Most health insurance plans (for instance, Medicare and most other plans in the United States) that you might use to cover health expenses in your country of origin DO NOT cover you while you are away. Similarly, you likely do not have coverage for evacuation costs, which can surpass $250,000, depending upon your situation and location at the time of the illness/accident.
Steps to evaluating need for insurance and finding it, if there is a need:
- Check to see if coverage is REQUIRED where you are going. For instance, some countries mandate that you carry travel health insurance as a requirement to obtain a visa.
- If you have health insurance (ie. Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Medicare, etc.), does it cover you abroad? Check your policy and, if it is still unclear, call your company. Often, the answer is “no.”
- Look for other sources of health insurance abroad that you may already have, such as an employee benefits package, the credit card you used for your upcoming trip, or any organization in which you are a member.
- If you are not insured or have inadequate insurance, start looking for coverage!
- Some resources to explore coverage:
- The tour operator for your trip or your travel agent (if you have either).
- An insurance agent.
- Travel insurance comparison websites.
- Friends/family that have traveled previously and may have purchased insurance.
- The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers (www.IAMAT.org).
- Online insurance brokers (such as www.insuremytrip.com).