Always check the medical cover of your travel insurance

Before buying a special medical insurance policy for your travel, check with your medical insurer — you might already be covered by your existing health plan. Ask about benefit caps and deductibles (if any), and have them guide you through the procedure. Generally, your expenses are out-of-pocket, and you bring home documentation to be reimbursed. In some cases, you may have to contact your insurer for approval before seeking medical help. While many insurers cover you overseas, but others like Medicare do not. Most additional coverage you buy is supplemental (or “secondary”), so it covers whatever expenses your primary coverage doesn’t.

Travel medical insurance generally covers only “emergencies.” If this is the case, ask what happens after you are moved from the ER to a recovery room. The hospital will typically work directly with your insurer on billing, while a quick visit to a doctor will more likely be an out-of-pocket expense (you’ll bring home documentation to be reimbursed). In some cases, you may have to contact your insurer for approval before seeking medical help.

Many pre-existing conditions are covered by medical and trip-cancellation coverage, depending on when you buy the coverage and how recently you’ve been treated for the condition. Check with your agent or insurer before you commit.

Lastly, be aware that if you are travelling to one of the countries listed in travel warning by your country’s health department, your cancellation and medical insurance will likely not be guaranteed — unless you buy supplemental coverage.

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