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Will My Health Insurance Pay for Medical Expenses Outside the United States?

If you are traveling outside the United States, there are some factors that you should always consider before you travel. For instance, will your health insurance company foot your medical bills outside the U.S.? At times, people fall sick as they travel. Depending on the specific nation that you have traveled to, your health insurance coverage may not be of much help. Nevertheless, you can always look beyond your current health plan. 

Check Your Policy – Limited Coverage

The domestic health plans usually offer limited coverage outside the United States. If an insurance company pays for your medical treatment overseas, that means there is an out-of-network rate, which translates to out-of-pocket costs. It is advisable first to inquire whether preauthorization is necessary before you are treated or admitted overseas. You should also find out about limits, copays, and deductibles. 

In most instances, Medicare rarely covers people outside the United States. Nevertheless, there are Medigap and Medicare Advantage plans that usually offer worldwide emergency care. 

Be Ready to Pay Upfront

Even though you may be covered by the United States health policy and you may have a travel health insurance plan, you are supposed to pay for your medical care upfront outside the U.S. In most cases, the healthcare providers accept payment by credit cards or cash. Very few insurance companies in the United States have a direct billing method with healthcare providers throughout the globe. 

Although you are supposed to pay upfront, the health insurance company will reimburse your funds later. You may not be in a position to choose where you will be injured, and that means you should have some ready money with you in case of an emergency. To ensure that your funds will be reimbursed promptly, you should ensure that you have complete and clear copies of the medical records and bills after you have been treated.

Consider Applying for Worldwide Travel Health Insurance

If you come across some gaps in your current health policy, you should fill the holes by applying for a travel health insurance plan. Such a plan will provide secondary coverage, and it will cater to your medical expenses were the primary health insurance cannot. 

Final Takeaway

When traveling abroad, it is advisable to acquire a travel health insurance plan. It will supplement your current health insurance plan. Since a direct billing method does not exist in most cases, you are required to pay upfront, and the insurance company will reimburse your funds. Nevertheless, you should present the medical records and bills to the insurance company so that they can refund you promptly.

Updated on May 11, 2020

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