More Overseas Travelers Plan For The Unexpected
March 08, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Travel NewsREPUBLIC, MISSOURI: More Americans are buying international medical insurance this travel season. Rising healthcare costs, along with the fear of unexpected illness while overseas, are cited as the top reasons why.
The federal Office of Travel and Tourism Industries reported some thirty-six million Americans traveled outside the United States in 2006. According to Mr. Shane Schaetzel, founder and owner of iTravelHealth.com; “Anything can happen on an international trip. Most Americans simply assume their domestic health insurance plan covers them wherever they go. That just isn’t always the case. In fact, many domestic insurance plans specifically exclude claims filed outside the country. Some of them offer a little coverage for international excursions, but with a reduced benefit, and prolonged processing time.” That would appear to be a valid point when it comes to Medicare, which does not process claims filed outside the country at all. According to the US Department of State’s travel website (travel.state.gov): “payment of hospital and other expenses is the responsibility of the traveler.”
Mr. Schaetzel continues; “Today some group medical plans will cover overseas excursions, but its hard to know which ones do and how much they reimburse. The best thing to do is check with your health insurance provider first, and find out exactly what your traveling benefits are. Then if you decide you’re not covered to your satisfaction, consider a supplemental medical insurance plan for your trip.” International insurance plans usually fall under the category of ‘surplus lines’ in the United States, allowing them to function as supplemental policies to domestic health insurance while Americans travel overseas. Many of them are backed by world renown underwriters such as Lloyds of London and enjoy ‘A’ ratings from Standard & Poor’s. Policies are generally based on age of the traveler and how long one is traveling. For example; one underwriter in particular was found to insure short-term international travelers between the ages of thirty and thirty-nine, for as little as $2.10 a day. That was a one-million dollar supplemental medical policy with a $250 deductible, and emergency medical evacuation included.
Additional forms of trip coverage are sometimes offered with these supplemental medical insurance plans. For example; some plans will allow travelers to insure the cost of their trip, as well as their health while on the trip. This allows travelers to recover the monetary cost of a vacation, for example, should they become ill before or during the excursion. Such packages do increase the premium of travel medical insurance plans significantly. Regarding these additions, Mr. Schaetzel of iTravelHealth.com advises; “They are certainly not necessary, but can be a wise investment when you’ve been saving for years to take that dream vacation. However, for those unwilling to invest in an extra premium, a few international health insurance underwriters now provide reimbursement for lost luggage and tickets as an automatic free benefit with their standard medical insurance plans.”
As more Americans become aware of the hazards associated with travel outside the United States, brokers of international medical insurance have been seeing a rise in business. “There has definitely been a surge” added Mr. Schaetzel, “and I expect the market to only get bigger in the years ahead.” Many people are surprised to learn their domestic health insurance policies don’t always cover travel outside the country. International medical insurance brokers like Mr. Schaetzel are working to bring this to the forefront of the public mind, getting people to think about their medical insurance needs before they travel overseas.
Note to Editors
iTravelHealth.com is a registered domain of The Schaetzel Insurance Agency, LLC and is located in Republic Missouri, USA.