According to a new survey undertaken by travel insurance comparison engine InsureMyTrip, a somewhat concerning percentage of US travellers are not sufficiently clear on the parameters of their health insurance – and whether it would cover them on a trip outside the US.
InsureMyTrip surveyed 1, 516 US travellers aged 18 and older in April this year, finding that 58 per cent did not know whether their domestic health insurance coverage would stretch to cover an emergency visit to a hospital or doctor in another country. Twenty-four per cent said that they did not think their domestic cover would provide any protection while overseas, and 17 per cent seemed sure that they would be covered for some eventualities.
InsureMyTrip has urged US citizens planning on an overseas trip to talk to their health insurer so that they can find out for sure whether their domestic plan would extend emergency medical coverage outside of the US, as the particularities of these extra coverages are extremely varied based on provider and type of policy. Some policyholders might have in-network coverage, limited coverage, or very possibly no coverage whatsoever; InsureMyTrip has also advised travellers to familiarise themselves with the ins and outs of deductibles, co-insurance, co-payments and so on, and states that while basic Medicare does not include emergency medical care for travellers who are injured or fall ill outside of the US, some supplemental Medicare plans do offer limited extra coverage.
“Travellers should know about any limitations of domestic health insurance policies while out of the country,” advises InsureMyTrip. “In most cases, there are gaps in coverage. Some gaps are significant. Travel insurance is recommended because it can act as supplemental or primary coverage.”
As ever, customer awareness – and lack of same – is a stumbling block for those in the travel, healthcare and travel insurance industries. ITIJ applauds InsureMyTrip for noting this awareness gap and attempting to fill it and can only hope that this messaging helps to alleviate at least some of the ignorance.