When people are traveling, it is normal for traveler’s health insurance companies to charge people rates based on normal blood pressure. A condition such as high blood pressure, however, is looked at as a pre-existing condition. This means it may or may not be covered. If you have this condition, you should know exactly what the policy does and does not cover before traveling abroad.

high blood pressure

What is high blood pressure?

As your heart pumps blood through your body, it exerts a certain amount of pressure against the walls of your blood vessels. Doctors have determined what the average blood pressure should be, and the levels that are considered to be too high and unhealthy. Blood pressure is measured based on millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).

Two numbers are always used to express blood pressure, such as 120/80 mm Hg. The first number is a measurement of the pressure (systolic) when your heart beats, and the second number is when it rests (diastolic).

High blood pressure is considered a health risk because of the possible serious health problems that it can cause. These problems include:

  • Atherosclerosis
  • Aneurysms
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Stroke
  • Dementia
  • Vision loss
  • Kidney disease or failure
  • Sexual dysfunction.

Treatment for High Blood Pressure

After you see a doctor and are diagnosed with high blood pressure, the doctor will usually prescribe medications and recommend lifestyle changes. Those changes are apt to include losing weight, quit smoking, controlling diabetes and high cholesterol, get physically active and eat healthy.

What Will Visitors Insurance Cover and Exclude?

Travelers who have high blood pressure need to be sure that they understand the conditions of the policy. In most cases, a special rider called the Acute Onset of Pre-existing Condition needs to be purchased in order to be covered. This rider will not cover people who are over 70, or who have high blood pressure and other conditions that may be considered congenital or chronic

Pre-existing conditions are considered to be medical conditions that may have existed up to two years prior to obtaining the coverage. It is considered as such if a note has been made about it by a doctor – whether or not an official diagnosis or any treatment was ever given for it. Different companies will vary on the length of time.

Visiting a foreign country and having medical problems while there can be very costly, especially if you are not covered. If you are visiting the United States, for instance, and were treated at the Cleveland Clinic (a top hospital), you can expect to pay: $5,136 per day in the Coronary Care or Intensive Care units; $2,071 (minimum) per 30 minutes in the operating room; and $200 for two chest x-rays. If you had a heart attack and needed a blood thinner, it would cost about $76 for a 30-day supply. An angioplasty (venous) would cost about $10,400 in Manhattan.

Coverage with Safe Travel USA Comprehensive

The Safe Travel USA Comprehensive is underwritten by GBG Insurance Ltd. This policy provides accident and sickness medical coverage for individuals traveling outside their home country. The policy can be bought from 5 days to 1 year and later renewed for a total of 24 consecutive months. The policy provides various options for coverage starting at $50K through $1M.  An Urgent Care visit has a $30 copay. If you are treated by an in-network provider your deductible and coinsurance is waived.

For ages up to 69 years, the policy provides coverage for an acute onset of a pre-existing condition up to the chosen Medical Policy Maximum purchased per Period of Coverage. However, any coverage related to cardiac disease or condition, is limited to $25,000 for ages up to 69 years and $15,000 for ages 70 and above. Upon attaining age 70, Acute Onset benefits are reduced to a maximum of $35,000, with a $25,000 Maximum Lifetime Limit for Emergency Medical Evacuation. Any repeat/reoccurrence within the same policy period will no longer be considered Acute Onset of a Pre-Existing Condition and will not be eligible for additional coverage. A Pre-Existing Condition which is a chronic or congenital condition or that gradually becomes worse over time and/or known, scheduled, required, or expected medical care, drugs or treatments existing or necessary prior to the Effective Date are not considered to be an Acute Onset. This benefit covers only ONE (1) Acute Onset episode of a Pre-Existing Condition. Sudden and Acute Onset of a Pre- Existing Condition Coverage expires upon medical advice that the condition and Onset is no longer acute or you are discharged from a medical facility.

Coverage with Seven Corners Inbound USA

There are various Inbound USA Travel Insurance program from Seven Corners offers four levels of coverage. The company pays on a maximum amount per injury or sickness basis, ranging from $50,000 to $130,000. Rates are different for those aged 70 and older. The maximum amounts also have sub-limits based on the medical professional attending to your needs and the services provided. Deductibles can be selected ranging from $0 up to $200.

The Inbound plan includes benefits for an Acute Onset of a Pre-existing Condition up to the age of 70 years. When you sign up for the policy you do not have to declare any medical condition. The policy maximum varies by age. The policy has various sub limits on the benefits you get which vary per the policy maximum you opt for.  For those in this upper age bracket, Emergency Evacuation is reduced for all plans to $25,000. Hospital Room and Board pays a standard rate from $1,400 up to $2,535 per day with a maximum of 30 days depending on the policy maximum you choose.

Please note that a pre-existing condition that is chronic, congenital or gradually worsens over time is not covered under Acute Onset.

Tips for People Who Are Traveling with High Blood Pressure

As a general rule, it is rather safe to travel with high blood pressure as long as it is well-controlled. If it is not, then you should consult your doctor, because flying can raise your blood pressure. At higher altitudes, even though the cabin is pressurized, you are at a greater risk of clots and swelling. Make sure you also have your medicine with you in your carry-on bag. Watch out for snack foods with lots of salt in them.

When you have high blood pressure, buying travel insurance policies can have a lot of details in them that you should be aware of before purchasing. Make sure you understand what you are buying and ask questions of the agent about any matters of which you are unsure.