If you get sick on the road, will your health insurance cover you? That’s becoming an increasingly difficult question to answer. Between the ongoing pandemic — now with a troubling new variant in the mix — and the confusing insurance requirements for international travel, it can be tough to figure out what health insurance does and doesn’t cover.
Do you need a separate health insurance policy? If you’re traveling in the United States, probably not. Most American health insurance policies will cover you out of state, to a point. You can still benefit from the additional coverage in a travel insurance policy, which covers medical evacuations and cancellations due to illness.
You can either get health coverage as part of your travel insurance policy or you can buy a stand-alone travel health policy. Suzanne Casamento, who is spending three months in Europe, opted for a short-term medical policy through GeoBlue. The policy covers her up to $250,000 outside the country, including medical evacuations.
Standard travel insurance will cover you abroad to the limits of liability, but pay attention to the fine print. Sometimes travel insurance coverage is secondary, which means you’ll have to file a claim with your primary U.S. insurance before it kicks in. Generally, a separate medical insurance policy is primary, which means less paperwork.
Another consideration with travel insurance is coverage of preexisting medical conditions. Often, travel insurance companies look back at your medical records for 90 days to see if you have specific preexisting conditions. This is a common travel insurance “gotcha.” If you’ve had a condition in the past three months, you may not be covered for it if you have to file a claim later. (You can get coverage for preexisting conditions under some plans if you buy the policy within a week or so of making your initial trip deposit.)
I phoned GeoBlue and spoke with a helpful agent. I explained my situation and told her I needed a policy that would cover me in any country. I was also concerned about some of the stricter insurance requirements some countries had adopted during covid. She assured me GeoBlue would work just about anywhere. But when I gave her my home address in the state of Washington, she had some bad news: GeoBlue didn’t offer insurance to residents in my state.
This content was originally published here.