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Medical Insurance and Foreign Travel

| September 25, 2019
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Not sure what restrictions might be involved, but a quick search for cheapest airfare would indicate you can get to Europe and back for less than $600.  Ditto the Caribbean.  Looks like you might get to Cancun for less than $300.

Travel is more popular than ever.  There are flights to places you have never heard of, and theme vacations for everyone from the history buff to the Gospel music fan.

Like to bicycle?  There’s a tour for that heading somewhere.  Want to trek foothills or climb a mountain.  A group is forming right now.  Exploring ruins is your thing?  Welcome aboard.  I’m told you can vacation in Antarctica if you dream of extreme cold and white barren terrain.

Before you book that trip, consider this.  Except for rare cases, the minute you leave the United States, you have no medical insurance coverage.  Your group insurance coverage will likely be no good even in Canada.  Your Affordable Care Act plan will have the same limitations.  So do those Medicare supplemental policies.  Medicare covers nothing outside the United States.

So, if you twist your ankle in Tanzania, or break your arm in Belgium, you’ll pay out of your own pocket.  If you come down with appendicitis in Albania or food poisoning in The Falklands, you will pay the doctor bill with your credit card.

That is, unless you had the foresight to purchase a travel medical insurance policy before leaving on your trip.

Travel medical insurance isn't the same thing as health insurance.  Travel insurance with emergency medical benefits offers just that, benefits for losses due to covered medical and dental emergencies.  These policies don’t cover preventive, routine or elective medical care.

The coverage can reimburse you for the costs associated with medical treatment for an illness or injury during your trip.  This can include coverage for physician services, ambulance services, and hospital charges, among other expenses.

Some policies offer additional coverage for things like trip interruption, emergency medical evacuation and repatriation, and return of mortal remains.  Ancillary benefits may also include coverage for ID theft assistance, terrorism, and natural disaster relief.

Premiums very depending on the coverage, the country or countries you visit, and how long you will be away.  Generally, the premiums are not expensive.  You’ll be happy for the coverage at almost any price if you end up needing the insurance on your trip.

Check with your Chestnut Street Advisors financial advisor for information and recommendations.  Your homeowners and auto insurance agent may also be able to help.  If you are on Medicare, check the Medicare website and contact the company that issued your supplement.  Read the fine print.  Ask questions.

A major credit card company used to say, “Don’t leave home without it.”  When it comes to travel medical insurance, we would say, “Don’t leave the country without it.”



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