Travel insurance coverage for US travelers traveling outside the USA
It is interesting to me as an agent what different travelers value and expect from their international health insurance. We have recently seen a growing number of US citizens and residents requesting coverage for their trips outside the US. There are specific plans (usually at a better price when compared to plans for coverage within the US) available for this travel outside the US and they allow a generous amount for emergency medical evacuation which is often a concern for US travelers (I know it was for me on my trip this past summer).
First, let me define my terms. Emergency Medical Evacuation is one of three situations:
Moving a person from the site of an accident (for example) to the closest hospital. This could be accomplished most likely by an ambulance.
Moving a patient from one health care facility to a different one. For example, if the hospital where you are does not offer an ICU for newborns and this is what is required, they may airlift (usually via helicopter) to the closest hospital with the appropriate facility.
Same as #2, but travel may take you across country borders as needed since the “closest” may be across a border.
Note that the emergency medical evacuation, particularly in cases #2 and #3 (above) need to be arranged by the insurance company. So be sure that you are in contact with them. This can be very helpful in several ways: Firstly, you will know that they are going to pay for what can be very expensive, and secondly, they have experience and knowledge in this area and can be sure you have the best care and transport they can arrange for you (be it by plane, boat, or other conveyance).
For purposes of comparing outbound plans, I am going to review the coverage for emergency medical evacuation that we have available from our many companies. I will list them from most flexible and then from highest coverage to lowest. Please note that the cost of premiums are not necessarily listed from highest to lowest.
The most generous coverage for emergency medical evacuation is offered by International Medical Group (IMG) because they allow a rider on their plans (for an additional charge) which will allow you to include non-life threatening coverage as well as natural disaster evacuation. The best coverage is in their Patriot Platinum International plan. The coverage for emergency medical evacuation (without the rider) is up to the maximum of the plan (which can be from $1 million to $8 million). The Evacuation Plus Rider (available up to age 65) adds coverage up to $50,000 for non-life threatening medical evacuation and $10,000 for natural disaster evacuation. The other IMG plan (Patriot International) offer up to $500,000 for emergency medical evacuation on the basic plans. The Evacuation Plus Riders to these plans add $25,000 for non-life threatening evacuation and $5,000 for natural disaster evacuation (this rider can only be purchased for individuals under 65 years old and only on individual policies).
The fixed benefit plan by IMG has more modest coverage. Visitor's Care only offers up to $50,000 for emergency medical evacuation for plans B and C or $25,000 for plan A. No rider is available for this plan. Note that Patriot Go Travel International does NOT cover emergency medical evacuation or repatriation.
Several plans have an emergency medical evacuation benefit of $1 million. These are: Atlas International, Liaison Elite, Diplomat International and Diplomat LongTerm. Note that the Diplomat plans offer coverage for political and natural disaster evacuation up to $50,000 for added peace of mind. This coverage does not require the purchase of an additional rider and is a nice additional benefit on their plans.
Liaison Choice covers up to $500,000 for emergency medical evacuation and purchased for less than 364 days of coverage, you may buy additional time, to a total of 364 days. And finally, the WorldMed Outbound plan covers up to $250,000 for emergency medical evacuation.
That summarizes the plans available for travel outside the US. Note that if your travels include the US, then you must list that as your destination country and some of these options are not available to you. If you are going to the US and another country, you can split up the trip and use different plans to cover each portion of your trip. This may (or may not) save you some money since coverage in the US is always more expensive.
I hope you have found this information useful. Note that coverage and benefits change year by year, so be sure to check an updated brochure to make sure the benefit has not changed recently. While we try to keep the site up to date, this is not always possible. However, the brochure will specify all the coverage for the policy. Please feel free to give us a call with any concerns or questions you may have.