Travel Health Insurance Myths
“My current insurance plan covers me while I travel.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs, most U.S. medical insurance carriers including Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide coverage to members outside of the U.S.1 You may have a personal or group health insurance plan you think will cover you and your family while you travel. Unfortunately, many health plans will not cover your medical treatment once you leave your home country. Many countries with socialized medicine will not provide full-services to non-residents and uninsured patients can be refused medical treatment.2If you travel assuming your personal health insurance policy will cover you and your family, you risk traveling without any medical insurance coverage. In some countries, hospitals refuse to treat patients without a guarantee of payment for medical care, even in the case of a life-threatening emergency. These types of situations, which many individuals are financially and culturally unprepared to address, sometimes force individuals to deplete savings accounts to receive treatment since these types of guarantees are rarely offered to international providers by domestic personal health insurance plans.
Atlas Travel® insurance offered by HCC Medical Insurance Services® will provide a guarantee of payment and arrange direct billing for international and U.S. domestic providers for eligible medical conditions. Atlas Travel insurance offers one of the most expansive international networks of physicians and hospitals by travel medical insurance carriers through its partnership with EuropeAssist, which can also help you avoid paying for your medical bills in advance. Lastly, personal health insurance plans rarely include travel assistance services which mitigate inconveniences and delays should important information be lost while you are traveling. Atlas Travel insurance includes travel assistance services to help with non-medical problems that you may need help with while you are traveling such as lost passport document assistance, translation and interpretation assistance, embassy referrals, and stolen credit card replacement.
“I am healthy and do not need medical coverage while I travel”
Today, the average cost of an emergency medical evacuation is more than $50,000.3 Accidents often happen to healthy people and assuming that you will not get sick or hurt can be an expensive assumption. Your existing health is only a small factor in the overall risk that you will be injured or become ill while you are traveling. According to the World Health Organization, key risk factors while traveling are the method of transportation, season of travel, purpose of travel, food/accommodation standards and lastly, the existing health of the traveler.4 While you may assume your current health condition is the only determinant in deciding whether to purchase Atlas Travel insurance, it should factor the least in your consideration. Although minor travel illnesses and accidents frequently occur, illnesses and accidents that are more serious often occur to those traveling outside their home country.
Emergency medical evacuation often becomes necessary when a life-threatening medical condition occurs in an area where the medical facilities are not equipped to provide life-saving medical treatment. The quality of international medical care is often overlooked by the “healthy traveler.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention argues many healthy travelers overlook the “commitment” risk in traveling which describes the fact that certain parts of a journey cannot be easily reversed.5 If you travel to a country without advanced specialized medical services, you may have difficulty obtaining the proper level of care necessary. In many countries, when someone has fallen sick or been injured and needs critical care in a remote location, emergency medical evacuation is required to ensure they receive the adequate medical care. In most cases, the emergency medical evacuation process will not begin until payment has been made in advance. For individuals with Atlas Travel insurance, HCC Medical Insurance Services will not only coordinate the emergency medical evacuation itself and transportation to a facility which can provide the necessary medical care, but also ensure that payment is made promptly so as not to delay any life-saving medical care.Get a Quote
“Only people that have pre-existing conditions get sick and travel medical insurance does not cover pre-existing conditions.”
The most common travel related illnesses and accidents do not depend upon your health in advance of travel. For example, here is a list of common travel illnesses6:
Common Travel Illnesses
- Jet Lag
- Motion Sickness
- Respiratory Infections
- Diarrhea – Occurs in 30-70% of travelers.7
- Altitude Sickness
- Urinary Tract Infections
- Food Poisoning
And a list of common travel accidents8:
Common Travel Accidents
- Sports adventure accidents
- Injury at natural attraction with remote medical facilities
- Hurricane related accidents
- Tsunami related accidents
- Transport Accidents
- Animal bites
Atlas Travel insurance not only covers these types of common travel illnesses and accidents, but also covers you if you travel with a pre-existing condition. If you have a pre-existing condition Atlas Travel insurance covers up to $100,000 for eligible medical expenses should an acute onset of a pre-existing condition occur. Many travel insurance companies only offer a waiver for pre-existing medical conditions which lasts a limited number of days from when you purchase your policy. Unlike many companies that offer travel medical insurance, Atlas Travel insurance also includes emergency medical evacuation benefits to those which experience an acute onset of a pre-existing condition up to a $25,000 lifetime maximum for members under age seventy. An additional benefit is Crisis Response which offers $10,000 for ransom, personal belongings surrendered in an express kidnapping, crisis response expenses and fees, and an experienced crisis response team. For more information, visit http://www.hccmis.com/what-is-the-crisis-response-benefit.Get a Quote
“If I live in the USA, I can just add my parents to my current health insurance when they visit.”
Parents are not considered dependents and typically cannot be added to a son or daughter’s insurance plan while they are visiting them from another country. If you are traveling to the U.S. or are looking for visitor health insurance for individuals traveling to the U.S., Atlas America® offers protection against the high cost of medical care in the U.S. if something unfortunate should occur. Having a travel medical insurance from a company based in the U.S. can also help you understand and navigate the U.S. healthcare system. Atlas America® insurance can protect you from incurring medical costs for your visitors and provides visitors health insurance upon which you can depend for health coverage and medical monitoring during difficult health situations. HCC Medical Insurance Services has many years of experience in dealing with the U.S. health care system and a reliable financial reputation within the U.S.9 Similar to a U.S. domestic insurance carrier, Atlas Travel insurance gives you an insurance card that can be shown to U.S. doctors and hospitals to prove you have medical insurance coverage. It also gives you access to a comprehensive Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) list which can be searched by gender, specialty and language in addition to location of doctors, clinics, and hospitals that are willing to bill HCC Medical Insurance Services directly for your medical care.
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1 “Tips for Traveling Abroad,” U.S. Department of State, http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/tips_1232.html (Accessed June 20, 2011).
2 “Why Should I Be Concerned about Medical Coverage Abroad,” U.S. Department of State, http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1470.html (Accessed June 23, 2011).
4 “International Travel and Health 2010″. World Health Organization, 1-2.
5 Schlim, David, “Perspectives: Risks Travelers Face,” CDC Health Information on International Travel 2011. http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2010/chapter-1/risks-travelers-face.htm (Accessed 6/22/11).
6 “Paradise or Peril.” Blog Posting 22 June 2011 on HCC Medical Insurance Services http://hccmis.com/blog/paradise-or-peril/ (Accessed June 22, 2011).
7 Connor, Bradley. “Traveler’s Diarrhea.” CDC Health Information on International Travel 2011, http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2010/chapter-2/travelers-diarrhea.htm. (Accessed June 20, 2011).
8 “Top Accidents in the Top Nations: 10 safest/10 most accident prone countries,” HCC Medical Insurance Services, http://www.mnui.com/travel-accidents/, (Accessed June 22, 2011).
9 For additional information on financial ratings of you can find information at http://www.hcc.com/About/Ratings.aspx.
HCC Medical Insurance Services, LLC (HCCMIS) is a service company that is a subsidiary of HCC Insurance Holdings Inc. HCCMIS is regulated by the State of Indiana in our capacity as Third Party Administrator. HCCMIS has authority to enter into contracts of insurance on behalf of the Lloyd's underwriting members of Lloyd's Syndicate 4141, which is managed by HCC Underwriting Agency Ltd.