If you are injured or become ill during your trip, travel insurance can help you by reimbursing you for pre-paid travel expenses, such as a hotel room, rental car or airfare. But it won’t cover the actual cost of getting medical care, and it won’t cover the cost of transportation to get treatment.
For most people, you have to rely on your existing health insurance to get coverage. And while some health insurances cover you anywhere in the world, not all do, so check your policy before you travel.
Even if your plan involves outside care, it may not cover transportation to get there, such as an ambulance or helicopter ride. To do this, you will need medical leave insurance.
What is medical leave insurance?
Hospital leave insurance is often included travel insurance process. It is also often sold with medical insurance, which provides emergency care during your trip.
The exact duration of medical coverage varies by law, but in most cases, this type of insurance covers medical transportation, such as an ambulance ride or airlift service, to the nearest comprehensive hospital. If you need to return home for treatment, some plans may also cover the cost of rebooking your flight or rebooking your return flight sooner.
What is medical leave insurance?
Again, the actual coverage varies by policy, but usually includes:
Emergency transport to the nearest hospital: Many laws promise transportation to a so-called “adequate” hospital. But “good enough” can be a long time, and a hospital that does not meet your needs may be considered good enough by your insurance. And not all policies will pay for a return flight home to see a doctor you already know.
However, if local doctors are unable to help, hospital transport is often the only way to get home. The doctors must provide documentation that your condition is incurable or severe enough to require a flight home.
Medical escort or travel companion: Some policies are based not only on your movements, but also on the cost of someone else to follow you. In some cases, this may require a doctor to support you throughout the journey, such as providing oxygen. Sometimes, it can be a family member or trusted friend.
Some policies only cover airline flights, while others may cover business class, but only with a doctor’s plan.
Restoring the rest: If you die on the trip, repatriation can carry your remains home. Often this service also pays for the cost of a cremation, local cremation or casket.
How much support should you have?
If going to the doctor for a sprained knee at home seems expensive even if you have insurance and visit an online doctor, then getting emergency care abroad can be much more expensive.
Most medical insurance starts at $100,000 a year, but even that may not be enough. The national average for an emergency flight is about $40,000, according to the medical organization Flying Angels. This is only average, so flights to more remote areas can be expensive.
Additionally, it is unlikely that your existing insurance will cover an air ambulance. About two-thirds of medical flights in 2017 for people with private insurance are still out of network, according to the US General Accounting Office, meaning you’re at risk of most or all of the costs, unless you leave the hospital. insurance.
Throw in the actual cost of treatment, including last-minute flights, a travel companion and a medical escort, and $100,000 won’t go that far. Again, some policies are up to $1 million or $2 million per person.
While accidents can happen anywhere, you’re less likely to need medical insurance for a winter trip that involves snowmobiling and sipping cocoa in a cabin than going backcountry skiing on difficult trails. Understanding risk and your risk tolerance. As in the past, a slip on an icy road can mean an emergency recovery that costs several hundred dollars, especially if your travel companions can drive you. Conversely, a serious injury by the latter may require the entire rescue team.
Read the fine print
As with any travel expense, it’s always a good idea to read your specific documentation. Some have additional limitations, require specific papers or exclude certain activities. Although this list is not exhaustive, here are some things you should check out:
- Whether you have primary or secondary care: If your medical care is considered secondary, then it starts after your health insurance plan.
- Requirements for the duration of the trip: Some policies do not cover trips longer than a certain period (60 days is common).
- Distance from home: Most policies do not cover accidents that happen within 100 miles of your home.
- Required documents: You can’t just twist your knee, book a trip home and hope you’ll be able to get a refund, even if your knee is swollen and painful. Many policies require extensive documentation, such as certification from a licensed physician that an emergency evacuation is necessary. Keep every receipt and get all the records.
How to Get Medical Leave Insurance (Maybe Free)
Medical insurance is sometimes included with everything travel insurancealong with other types of travel insurance like property loss insurance. Prices vary depending on the length and type of your trip, so a long weekend at a resort may cost less than a multi-week camping trip from this group.
However, you can have travel insurance – and not have to pay extra. It is because of many premium travel credit card they include medical evacuation insurance within their travel insurance policies, which is often a benefit for trips paid for by credit card. If you’re considering buying travel insurance anyway, the benefits alone can offset any annual credit card fees.