8 People Who Need Travel Health Insurance

by Tera Tuten on November 17, 2010

Is Travel Health Insurance for you? Stand-alone health insurance for trips abroad is something a lot of people decline…sometimes with a pride akin to triumphing over that electronics sales person who was pushing an extended warranty.

But unlike an Xbox 360, being more covered than you need could be a matter of life and death (or at least bankruptcy and financial prosperity) when it comes to your health in a foreign land…

…Here are eight of the most common people who may think they don’t need travel health insurance (but really might) and what they need to know:

Is Travel Health Insurance for you_Airplane

You, if you’re not already covered
Some health insurance plans don’t, in-fact, cover you for travel outside of the U.S. Many do. The rule of thumb for all of the below is to check out the details of the plan in question in the fine print, online, or call…yes, call. As with anything to do with insurance, what might seem like a hassle will likely be a few minutes well-spent.

If you only have travel insurance that covers a few medical items
If your current at-home plan doesn’t cover you for travel abroad, buying such a plan for the number of days you’re away is never a bad investment. The key is picking the features that will matter if worst comes to worst: Be sure your plan is an actual medical insurance one that covers you for direct medical expenses and not just a travel insurance plan that happens to cover you for a few health-related items such as sickness, death, etc…

You, if you are already covered
Even if your current medical insurance covers you while abroad, check to see exactly what it covers you for. In many cases, a dedicated travel health insurance plan can fill in important gaps in your monthly health insurance coverage when abroad: Are you covered for extended hospital stays? Will your insurance pay upfront for medical costs so you don’t have to worry about getting reimbursed later? Are you covered for emergency evacuations?

Those traveling to countries with healthcare significantly less advanced than in the U.S.
A good policy will pay for emergency transportation to adequate medical care and even emergency transportation back to the U.S. As this can cost thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars, travel health insurance may be worth buying if for no other reason than the fact that it should cover you in the event that such a trip is necessary.

One of the most important things a stand-alone student medical travel insurance policy should cover is all costs upfront: Especially important for those on a budget where paying out-of-pocket is a serious concern.

Pregnant women
Any existing or stand-alone travel health insurance plan for pregnant women should cover expenses due to pregnancy-related complications and evacuation coverage that guarantees you will be evacuated only to the U.S. or a facility that will deliver the type of care specified by your travel insurance plan.

The older you are, the harder it is to get dedicated travel health insurance. The key for seniors is to be persistent. Keep looking until you find a policy that covers your needs. A good place to start is your existing health insurance provider, as you’re more likely to get the coverage you want with a company that already knows and insures you.

People with pre-existing conditions
In this case, you will want a comprehensive plan that doesn’t exclude anything (if you already have health issues, you don’t want to risk additional issues or complications of your existing condition.) Chiefly, you want a plan that covers every conceivable incident that could arise as a result of your condition. Consulting with your doctor is a good way to double-check the must-have’s for such a plan. Finally, if you decide you need it, be sure to get such coverage in place as far in advance of your travel as possible.

With the eight archetypes above, we’ve hopefully painted an introductory picture of when you need travel health insurance and examples of when it might be useful to recommend it to others.

Any other cases you can think of where stand-along health insurance could really save someone when (or before) traveling? What have been your experiences?


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Killian 11.18.10 at 12:07 pm

I really like the Atlas series. I’ve used them twice for my trips to Europe and the policy has never let me down, plus its pretty cheap. I saved a link if it helps anyone out there, https://www.worldtrips.com/quotes/atlas/?referid=9800590 – I like the comparison of how people think travel insurance is like an extended warranty on an xbox hahah, good article.


juanita 12.12.10 at 12:42 pm

Juanita Gallegos

Admitting Registrar Technician – 10 Years Experience
Dedicated quality-focused professional, offering strong qualifications in; service delivery, customer service, and Emergency Admitting Registrar activities and Patient Financial Counselor. Sound judgment and decision-making skills, detail-oriented worker with proven communication skills with ability to facilitate multiple tasks.

Summary of Skills & Qualifications

10 years plus experience as an Emergency Admitting Registrar, Patient Financial Counselor in direct support of management functions
Skills and knowledge in Microsoft Office Programs – MS Word, Excel, Star, and MS Internet Explorer
Able to complete projects/meet goals in a deadline driven environment
Excellent Communication skills and Public Etiquette
Office Coordination, General Bookkeeping, Database Management and Process Development
Typing skill 75 wpm, filing, faxing, scanning, and excellent phone skills, accounts receivable
Dependable, reliable, and self motivated
Bilingual (English / Spanish)

Professional Experience

Patient Financial Counselor
Scottsdale Healthcare, Scottsdale, Arizona March 2007 – June 2010
Registered/Pre-registered outpatient/inpatient surgery
Pre-registered patients for all ancillary departments
Obtained accurate patient demographics
Provided copies of insurance care orders and any other forms needed for ancillary departments
Initiated phone contact with patients to advise them pf required documentation
Contacted the insurance companies to determine eligibility/benefits and co-pay/deductibles, co-ins with procedure codes
Verified AHCCCS eligibility status for non-insured patients and Medicare-insured patients with no secondary coverage. Runs Transunion
Ran PCA on Medicare
Ran DDE on Medicare
Contacted patients to advise them of their financial responsibility
Insured patient’s complete understanding of registration process
Juanita Gallegos page two
Professional Experience
Admitting Registrar February 2002-March 2007
Phoenix Baptist Hospital, Phoenix, Arizona
Registers/Pre-registers patient in a timely manner, as evidenced by minimal to no patient waiting and minimal registration time
Obtain accurate patient demographics when registering/pre-registering patient
Provide adequate notes in Meditech system by documenting all payer-related information, patient issues, physician office communications, and any account-related communication
Ensure complete pre-registration by preparing payer-related forms, consents, arm band, eligibility, insurance verification, and Medicare-related forms
Ensured correct forms are filled out and signed out and signed for each registration, payer-related forms, COA, Medicare notification letters
Ensure that patient handouts are given out and explained (i.e.: Patient Rights and Responsibilities, Advance Directives, Financial Assistance, etc.)
Ensure insurance cards, orders and any other forms are copied as needed for ancillary departments, nursing units, Medical Records, Business Office, etc., and disperses paperwork appropriately
Verify AHCCCS eligibility status for non-insurance patients and Medicare-insured with no secondary coverage. Runs transunion
Contact the insurance company to determine eligibility/benefits and co-pay/deductibles
Obtain authorizations/pre-certification from physicians office/insurances company for all scheduled tests when required

Maricopa Intergrated Systems September 1999-January 2002
Accurately obtained demographics from patients
Informed patients of hospital policies and ensured their understanding
Pulled patients records from system to update all information
Precisely entered all insurance information from applications
Assisted with AHCCCS Insurance, retrieved all information from patient, made copies of insurance cards, and called to obtain authorization for service
Obtained authorizations/pre-certification from physicians office/insurance companies for all scheduled tests when required
Checked records for accuracy
Scheduled all appointments and answered phones, transferred calls throughout the hospital to appropriate departments in a timely manner

Front Office Surgery Scheduler
Dr. Ronald Gordon, M.D., Phoenix, Arizona
Set-up patients for three different offices for Op, Pre-op, and Anesthesiologists
Arranged patient accommodations with local hospitals
Scheduled all appointments and answered telephones for three offices
Contacted the insurance companies to determine eligibility/benefits and co-pay/deductibles
Obtained authorizations/pre-certification from physicians office
Full charge of all patient medical records and ensured the accuracy of patients files
Recognized for outstanding customer service skills

Juanita Gallegos page three
Professional Experience
Account Representative
Yuma Regional Medical Center, Yuma, Arizona
Registered outpatient/inpatient surgery/procedures
Informed patients of hospital policies and ensured their understanding
Retrieved all demographics from patients, and made copies of insurance cards
Contacted the insurance companies to determine eligibility/benefits and co-pay/deductibles
Scheduled all appointments and answered telephones, transferred calls throughout the hospital


AWC College, Yuma, Arizona
Account Receivable Courses


Tom K 02.04.11 at 6:48 am

Travel health insurance is one of those things that very easily gets lost in the long checklists of to-do’s when preparing for overseas travel, especially when you’re traveling for fun (who wants to think about getting sick while on vacation?) or you’re generally healthy (“I haven’t been to the doctor in over 3 years…”). But when you’re not feeling well and far away for home, or worse – you are injured in an accident, the last thing you want on to deal with is the added stress of wondering if your insurance is going to get you access to the necessary healthcare or if it’s going to help pick up the tab. Even here in the US, where we speak the same language as our healthcare providers and we have quick access to some of the best facilities and equipment in the world, trips to the doctor or hospital don’t always go smoothly. So, I wholeheartedly agree with the advice above – do your homework on the healthcare services available at your destination and make sure your insurance is ready to serve you if you need it while overseas.


Kevin 03.02.11 at 6:29 am

The CDC offers good info on travelers’ health topics, including updates on outbreaks, vaccinations, etc. They are at http://www.cdc.gov.


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Egg Allergy Symptoms 09.16.11 at 11:04 am

Are you covered for extended hospital stays? Will your insurance pay upfront for medical costs so you don’t have to worry about getting reimbursed later?


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