Normally, people only think about the more mundane aspects of travel such as the clothes you’re packing or your legal documents, but your health insurance is another thing to consider because you might not be covered when going somewhere else.
If you’re not covered by your health insurance, you would obviously need to buy one specifically for when you travel. On that note, there are a few things that you should definitely keep in mind.
One of the more important ones is where you are going and what you are going to be doing. If you’re traveling within the country and simply going on a business trip, you’re not likely to need another health insurance. If you’re traveling internationally and planning on taking an exotic tour, buying health insurance would not be the worst idea in the world.
You can do this by first checking your health insurance to see if you have any rider or clause that covers international travel. If not, then you can apply for a supplementary plan that covers just that amount of time that you would be gone.
If you already have coverage internationally, you should check what you’re covered for. There are plans that cover simple medical arrangements such as a visit to a doctor for a sore throat and would also allow you to do so without upfront payments in as many as 200 countries. These are called global plans and you should ask your agent if your health insurance is categorized as such.
Of course, what you should really watch out for are those instances wherein the coverage that your health insurance provides only includes minimal health concerns. For major problems that would require immediate evacuation back to your home country for example, you will definitely need to be a little more careful. Such cases can bankrupt most people after all.
For a list of things that you MUST ask your health insurance provider, refer to the following:
Exclusions for treating exacerbations of pre-existing medical conditions
The company’s policy for “out-of-network” services
Coverage for complications of pregnancy (or for a neonate, especially if the newborn requires intensive care)
Whether preauthorization is needed for treatment, hospital admission, or other services
Whether a second opinion is required before obtaining emergency treatment
Whether there is a 24-hour physician-backed support center
Also, the State Department suggests asking:
Will the insurance company pay foreign hospitals and foreign doctors directly?
Exclusions for high-risk activities such as sky diving, scuba diving, and mountain climbing
Exclusions regarding psychiatric emergencies or injuries related to terrorist attacks or acts of war