Travel & Health Insurance Coverage: 5 Questions Answered

Whether you’re planning a leisure trip abroad, or are travelling for business, it is imperative that you understand the ins and outs of what your health insurance provider will actually provide you if tragedy should strike.

Travel Insurance

In most cases, health insurance providers do not provide any kind of coverage while you’re out of the country, or they provide only very little; furthermore, that very little might be almost non-existent once it filters through all of the stipulations and requirements.

You can learn more about actually organizing health insurance on the HBF website itself. Here you will be able to learn more about whats actually involved & make an educated decision.

To ensure you have the coverage that you need while you’re travelling, make certain you go over the following questions with your health insurance provider and take these answers into account for your trip planning:

  1. Why is medical coverage abroad such an important concern for me to look into?
  • If something were to happen to you, and you needed an emergency evacuation to the United States, you would pay upwards of $10,000 if not covered.
  • If you rely on the Social Security Medicare Program for coverage, you will not be covered outside of the United States.
  • Most health insurance providers do not extend their coverage outside of the U.S.
  • Several countries require that you possess travel, or accident, insurance before you’re permitted to visit.
  • In some cases, hospitals abroad will not provide any kind of service if you are not insured; you will be turned away.

2.  Will the U.S. Government provide any assistance if something happens to me?

  • In cases of serious injury, or illness, a U.S. consular office can assist you with informing family back in the states, with locating medical services, or with transferring funds from accounts of family in the U.S. to you.
  • Payment, however, will not be covered by a consular and is the sole responsibility of the traveler.

3.  Is there a list of physicians abroad that I should be aware of?

  • The Official ABMS Directory of Board Certified Medical Specialists contains a detailed and authoritative list on physicians abroad and can be obtained at
  • Furthermore, all U.S. embassies and consulates keep updated lists of hospitals and physicians for their specific regions at

4.  Is there a notable difference between Travel Insurance and Travel Medical Insurance?

  • Yes there is!
  • Usually, travel insurance only covers the financial investment you’re making into your travel plans (i.e. lost baggage, cancelled flights).
  • You can learn more about travel insurance at the HBF website
  • Medical needs while abroad are more specifically handled through the attainment of a temporary travel medical insurance policy.

 5.  When I travel, what forms of insurance information should I have on me at all times?

  • In case of any emergency, you should always have your insurance policy identity card, as well as your claim form. Keep these on your person, at all times, so that they can be found by medical experts in the event that you are unconscious, or unable to get them to you.


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  1. says

    This is great advice. I used to work in the benefits dept at the company I work for now and remember that being a popular question. If I recall our provider at that time would tell us to seek the attention we needed and then we would get reimbursed at the out of network rate. Not sure if that is how all companies do but it has been several years since I have been in HR and we now have a new provider.

    • says

      That’s the policy with most of the providers even these days. You need to provide bills and they get reimbursed at out of network rate.

  2. says

    Great info! One of the things we tend to overlook when travelling outside the country are medical emergencies. We simply think that our health insurance will cover everything and it’s really awesome that you pointed out how necessary it is.

    • says

      Oh yes, most of us tend to forget that. Always good to call your insurance provider and ask about foreign coverage, should you need any.

  3. says

    I’m incredibly lucky to have travel insurance with my employer. As a Canadian, it’s crucial to have travel coverage when going to the States. I can’t imagine if I broke a leg over there and then ended up having to pay for it over there if it were an emergency and I couldn’t make it across the border.

    • says

      That’s good employer I must say. We do not have such insurance. But my job doesn’t involve travel, so can’t complain.

  4. says

    I recently went to Bogota, Columbia with my fiancee for a pre-wedding de-stressing vacation and I broke my leg and clavicle in 3 places, while riding a horse. the worst time ever, not to mention I did not have travel insurance at the time, and I had to fork over $1400 cash just to be released form the hospital. Never go to Bogota, and never leave home without travel insurance. Point Blank!!!!!!

  5. says

    American Express has a good health insurance plan that offers full coverage for emergency medical treatments with low deductibles for just $10/month (when bought as a 12 month plan).

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