Does my Health Insurance Cover International Travel?

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Just imagine the scenario where you are going for international travel and you get injured or sick suddenly. You do not know the native language and you are not sure whether your medical insurance policy offers international medical coverage, like a visit to a hospital or a doctor, overseas.

While this is probably the last thing you want to consider while planning your international travel, medical emergencies come without warning and can happen anytime, anywhere. But here is the silver lining: you can easily find out what your medical insurance will cover while traveling outside the home country by just asking your medical insurance provider a few important questions.

In order to know what coverage you have, and what you will require when going on international travel, here is what you need to consider:

Check Your Existing Medical Insurance Policy

The level of international medical coverage can differ, depending on your domestic health insurance company and medical insurance policy. Well, many experts suggest that contacting your insurance provider before your trip and inquiring about some specific medical facilities overseas included in the health insurance cover is necessary. Apart from that, experts encourage travelers to ask what is not covered in the medical insurance plan like risky activities. On the basis of what is available to you, experts advise you to consider a supplemental medical plan. Make sure, you ask your health insurance provider whether the plan offers coverage for emergency evacuations and pre-existing medical conditions. Along with this, you should also familiarize yourself with any sort of cost that you may have to pay out of your pocket for medical services or procedures overseas.

Consider Supplemental International Health Insurance Cover

If in case, you find gaps in your existing medical insurance plan then you should opt for a supplemental international health insurance cover to fill those holes. These medical plans offer secondary coverage which picks up the costs where your primary medical insurance policy stops. However, some of the international health insurance covers also offer primary coverage.  

Check all the Exclusions for Pre-Existing Medical Conditions

International health insurance cover usually does not cover pre-existing medical conditions. However, you can purchase a waiver of that exclusion and you should ideally consider doing so if you have had a change in your medicines or health in the 6 months before you opt for the coverage.

Be Mentally Prepared to Pay Up Front

Even if you get international medical coverage under your existing health insurance policy, you should be prepared to pay up front for medical services you get overseas. This is why majority of foreign medical service providers require payment by credit card or cash when you get any medical service, and only a few domestic health insurance providers in the UAE have direct billing and payment relationships with medical care providers all over the world.

A few international health insurance cover also may require you to pay up front & get reimbursed later. Hence, you must be ready to pay up front. However, to ensure prompt and proper reimbursement by the health insurance company, do not forget to get complete and clear copies of medical records and bills as well as discharge notes after you get medical treatment.

Final Verdict

Some of the domestic health insurance providers offer international medical coverage in the UAE. However, the coverage offered by the insurers may differ. So, it is highly recommended to compare different health insurance policies online and choose the one that offers comprehensive coverage at an affordable premium to make your international travel hassle-free.

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