How Acute Onset Coverage Works for Travelling Parents

10 August 2020 |

Travel insurance can protect elderly adults with pre-existing conditions that may have an acute onset.

International travel continues to remain at a standstill due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

But when travel resumes, it will pick up at a feverish pace, especially for parents who have not been able to see their kids overseas. However, the pandemic has served as a great reminder for us all about the importance of travelling safely, especially for those who are at risk for certain health issues.

For elderly or aged parents, it’s vital that they take extra precautions when travelling abroad. This post will take a look at the various ways parents with pre-existing health conditions can safeguard their health while travelling abroad. It will also discuss the best types of travel insurance they can secure for both short and long-term stays.

A Warning to Self: Travel Precautions for Parents With Pre-Existing Conditions

When we think about travel precautions, especially those related to health, we tend to think of external concerns. Right now, COVID-19 has been the biggest risk to travellers worldwide – of course, most of the world is dormant in terms of travel right now because of the pandemic. Before the coronavirus, there were other health-related precautions to consider – areas with poor sanitation, regions plagued with malaria, and even countries with active conflicts.

But the state of one’s health may very well be the biggest risk factor to travel, and one that we often overlook.

For travelers with health conditions, it’s essential that they have full awareness of their medical status before traveling. Visiting another country, whether it’s a short or a long stay, can put a person with a pre-existing condition at risk for a “flare-up” or “recurring episode of their symptoms”.

For example, the WHO recognizes that individuals who are disabled or living with chronic conditions have increased health risks abroad. Why?

The severity of one’s illness is naturally affected by their surroundings and environments, and this can be very evident in another country. Also, a condition that’s easily treatable in one’s home country can be more challenging to manage abroad. They may include:

  • Out-of-pocket medical expenses
  • Sudden and unforeseen events (ie. natural disasters, social unrest, pandemics)
  • Traveling stress (which can aggravate or contribute to one’s symptoms)

One’s illness can be triggered by any of these factors, or they may be unable to properly manage their conditions if one of these factors suddenly came into play.

Think about your parents. If they were suddenly stranded abroad – even if it was home with you – and for some reason were unable to manage their condition properly, they could face serious challenges ahead. That’s why travelers insurance that covers acute onset for those with pre-existing conditions is beneficial. 

What is Travel Insurance for Acute Onset of Pre-Existing Conditions?

First off, let’s define the term “pre-existing condition”. It refers to any medical condition – an illness, disease, injury or some other condition – that was experienced or diagnosed at the point of application for travel insurance or beforehand. So timing is important (more on this later).

A pre-existing condition also tends to be a chronic one, one that is typically life-long or has the potential to become a prolonged affliction. If you experienced symptoms, received a diagnosis, and took treatment or medication, then a parent will likely fall under the acute onset for pre-existing conditions category. This makes the type of condition an important qualification factor as well.

Examples of Pre-Existing Conditions that May Qualify for Coverage

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Respiratory conditions
  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Complications due to strokes
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Some psychiatric conditions (ie. depression, anxiety)
  • HIV/AIDS

Acute conditions can be considered for parents who are looking for travel insurance. The key factor though is when the illness began in relation to the time of purchasing health insurance. Also, for a sufferer of acute illness to qualify, that illness would likely have to have caused long-term effects.

For example, shingles can cause what’s known as post-herpetic neuralgia. This condition may cause debilitating pain or itch that can persist for months, even years after the rash of shingles has disappeared.

Keep in mind that there’s a “look back” period that insurance companies consider under these circumstances. Typically this look back period ranges anywhere from 180 days up to 2 years before the application date.

What Acute-Onset Coverage Actually Cover? 

Essentially, travel insurance for parents that incorporates acute onset for pre-existing conditions will cover the costs that come with a medical emergency. For example, if a parent had to be hospitalized in the USA due to a hypertensive or diabetic crisis, there could be many medical expenses.

The ambulance ride, an overnight stay, a doctor’s observation, a drug prescription – all of these would incur fees that could add up rather quickly. With acute onset coverage, these sudden and unexpected costs wouldn’t have to come out of your pocket – your insurance plan would pay for these expenses.

Ultimately, it would give you peace of mind that your loved ones can receive the care they need without facing financial burdens down the road.

Will Your Parents Qualify for This Form of Travel Insurance?

Some of you will recognize right away that your parents will be suitable candidates for travel insurance. If they have any of the conditions listed above and it is in their medical records, the condition is likely to be considered a pre-existing condition.

Of course, other conditions may exist in a grey area and you may not know right away if your parents will receive coverage. Regardless of what you think the outcome will be, it’s in your best interest to do some research and legwork to give your parents the best options possible ahead of time.

Tips for Applying for Travel Insurance for Parents with Pre-Existing Conditions

  1. Encourage your parents to get a full medical checkup before visiting and remind them to carry their medical records with them. 
  2. Make sure to gather as much of their medical history as possible – paper documents, diagnostic imaging, medical billing – to support the insurance claims.
  3. Learn as much as you can about the nature of your parents’ condition – if it is chronic and likely to flare up, don’t hesitate to apply for acute onset coverage.
  4. If your parents take prescription medications, advise them to bring enough to last them twice the length of their trip (ie. 120 pills for a 60-day visit). This alone can reduce the amount of money you spend on insurance since they won’t have to buy medicine abroad.

Better Safe Than Sick

The reality of life is that nothing is guaranteed including our health and safety abroad. Traveling parents with pre-existing conditions have an increased risk of getting ill while visiting you, and it’s paramount that you take precautions to protect them.

Travel insurance that offers coverage for acute onset of pre-existing conditions (e.g. high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes, arthritis etc.) is the solution to this concern. It will offer you coverage for medical expenses if your parents experience a health emergency abroad.

Ultimately, you can rest assured that you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on health costs, allowing you to focus on helping your parents get back to better health.

Looking for assistance to choose visitor insurance for your parents? Get in touch with us so that we can answer your questions!

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