Does your health insurance cover you if you leave the good old USA? As many current health insurance plans now assign you to their Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) networks of doctors, hospitals and healthcare service providers, and no longer provide “out of network” benefits, leaving the US and its territories could leave you out on a limb should you suffer an accidental injury or fall ill.
If this is the year you take that long planned trip to Europe, to Peru’s Machu Piccu, or cruise through the Southern Caribbean, chances are your HMO will not cover you there. No problem, though…just obtain Travel Insurance before leaving home. Considering what it provides to you it’s relatively inexpensive.
Purchase your travel insurance through your travel agent or save some cash by obtaining it through a qualified insurance broker. It covers medical expenses incurred while outside the US, but covers much more than that. You buy it based on the number of days you intend to be away on your trip and sometimes, based on the cost of your trip including its air fare, if any.
Why based on the cost of your trip?…Because some travel insurance plans agree to refund the dollars you’ve already spent on non-refundable tickets if illness, an accident or family emergency makes it impossible for you to begin/complete your trip. Most contain a really important “repatriation” benefit. If a serious illness or injury strikes you while thousands of miles away in some foreign country, repatriation pays to fly you home in an air ambulance. If the worst happens and you do not survive the illness or injury, the insurance pays to fly your body home. It also picks up the tab for your spouse or other trusted person to accompany you home.
I know of a couple who traveled to east Asia to climb mountains and take pictures. While shooting a picture one of them suffered a slip and fall resulting in a compound fracture of a leg. After being rescued from the mountainside, stablized in the village at the foot of the mountain, then transported to the nearest hospital where the broken bone was set, an air ambulance was chartered to fly the couple to their home in San Francisco. The bills for all of that totaled more than $123,000.00. The couple paid less than $400.00 for their travel insurance. Stealing a line from American Express…”Don’t Leave Home Without It.”