Traveling to other countries can be exhilarating. It enables you to see new things, experience new cultures, and make new friends. It could also provide new opportunities for education or work. If you are going to be traveling with medical conditions, the best way to ensure that the experience will be good is to have visitors insurance for the country you are traveling to.
Traveling with Medical Conditions
When you have existing medical conditions and are traveling abroad, you not only need special medical coverage for it, but you also need to fully understand what is and what is not covered. If you do not ensure coverage, it is quite possible you could end up paying for major medical bills that your insurance company will not cover.
While no one expects or wants medical problems while traveling, they certainly can occur. Getting treatment for them may be difficult in some countries, depending on the particular condition. In some cases, getting back to your home country may be necessary for best treatment. This could cost as much as $50,000.
Tips for Travelers with Medical Conditions
When you have a pre-existing condition and need to travel, there are some things you can do to make the trip safer and more comfortable. Start making your preparations by checking with your doctor, who can provide special advice. The doctor may give you some tips and limitations as to your activities. Ask whether or not air travel is recommended or safe. Choose a location that is not going to be strenuous – or hot – which could make the condition worse.
If necessary, you also want to buy special coverage that will cover your particular medical problem if you should have an acute re-occurrence. Get properly immunized. Make sure you have enough medication and supplies with you, as well as a list of all medication and brand names with generic names you take (in case you need to get more while abroad).
What Visitors Insurance Covers
Visitor’s insurance is primarily for the purpose of providing treatment for new injuries or illnesses. It will cover medical problems that your own medical coverage will not cover.
A pre-existing condition may prevent you from receiving any money from the insurance company unless the policy covers treatment of an “Acute Onset of Pre-existing Conditions”. Even when you have the coverage, the rules to obtain the benefit often limit what conditions will get covered and which will not. It is very important to understand what the policy will cover and what it will not before buying because the terms will vary from one company to the next. It is also a good idea to know what the costs may be for the treatment of your particular medical condition in that country.
As typically pre-existing conditions are not covered, you can buy visitor’s insurance the day before coverage is required and the policy can be emailed to you within a few hours of purchase.
Age is another factor to look into. Some visitor’s health insurance policies will provide good coverage for people under 70, but little for those who are older. Other companies will provide good coverage up to 90. If pregnant, be sure to understand the terms for coverage.
Before traveling, it is a good idea to understand what kind of medical expenses you may encounter if you have an emergency. While different medical conditions will require specialized treatments, some costs in the United States (at the Cleveland Clinic) that you need to be aware of include:
Coronary Care – $5,136 per day for Room and Board
Intensive Care – $5,136 per day for Room and Board
Medical/Surgical – $1,699 per day for Room and Board
Operating Room Charges – range from $2,071 to $3,903 per 30 minutes
Medical Scans – range from $100 to $4,793
Lab Charges – range from $20 to $942
Therapeutic Exercise – $193 per 15 min (does not include evaluation $480).
Common Ailments Requiring Extra Costs
Here are some common ailments that travel insurance companies are likely to require extra coverage for, due to an increased risk level.
- Heart attack – A heart attack is caused by blood being cut off from the heart by a blockage in a vein or artery.
- Diabetes – Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can cause serious damage to your organs, as well as leading to possible blindness, amputations, and death.
- Flu – This respiratory illness typically circulates in the spring and fall months. It is accompanied with a fever, weakness, achiness all over, and can be fatal.
- Shingles – This is a reactivation of the measles virus. The rash is very painful and can occur anywhere, but is most common across the chest, back, and face.
- High blood pressure – It is caused when the heart pumps blood through the veins at higher than normal levels, damaging organs and may lead to a heart attack, stroke, aneurysm, and more.
- Arthritis – Starts out as being merely annoying, but the inflammation will deteriorate joints, and is apt to grow increasingly painful. It may spread and cause neuropathy.
- High cholesterol – Cholesterol is a naturally occurring fat that circulates in the veins. One kind can clog arteries and veins if not controlled, leading to possible heart attacks or strokes.
You may be able to travel with medical conditions, but you want to be sure to have the coverage you need. Look into the policies carefully before buying and be sure to ask questions about what you do not understand.