Does your medical insurance cover international emergencies? Half of Americans do not know – Survey

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Americans are dusting off passports and planning foreign travel at a rate surpassing pre-pandemic levels. A recent survey conducted by the International Medical Group confirmed that this trend is up 11% amongst those that’ve already traveled outside the US.  

As Americans pack their suitcases for overseas travel, many are sometimes unprepared relating to having proper health coverage should a medical emergency occur. Based on a survey published in May by travel insurer InsureMyTrip, nearly half of the survey respondents (1,329 Americans ages 18 and older) said they didn’t know if their health care policy would cover a medical emergencies incurred in another country. 

Being unprepared will be costly.

Sonja Bell, a resident of Dallas, Texas, was visiting Bratislava within the central European country of Slovakia in 2012 when she began feeling sick. On her solution to the hotel, she stopped at a small clinic. “After we arrived, I used to be told I used to be so dehydrated that they might be keeping me overnight,” Bell told ZDNet. She was ultimately diagnosed with pneumonia and bronchitis. The experience produced one other surprise because the doctor returned along with her medical insurance cards. “She said that I’d should pay, upfront, about $2,000 until my insurance made a payment,” Bell added. “If I used to be due a refund, they might send it to me.”

Medical emergencies is probably not at the highest of your mind when dreaming of overseas adventures, but accidents occur. “While individuals are more aware of the necessity for travel insurance, there’s still lots of confusion around what would and would not be covered by their very own medical insurance,” said Suzanne Morrow, Senior Vice President of InsureMyTrip.

“If you file the expense, it might be shocking to learn the way little your medical insurance will [pay] towards it,” Morrow added.

Chandrea Brown, a knowledge analytics skilled within the health care industry, is embarking on an prolonged tour that can begin in Rome later this yr. Over the subsequent few months, she intends to explore additional Italian cities after which make her solution to Lisbon, Portugal. Asked whether she knew if her current health care policy would cover medical issues abroad, she told ZDNet, “I do not know yet, but that is one in every of the points I need to examine.”   

Don’t fly blind relating to medical insurance coverage overseas. Before embarking on a global voyage, take the time to guage your health care options. Reach out to your medical insurance provider, and research how your bank cards will help cover your expenses in an emergency.

Travelers should contact their health care providers to ask:

  • Does emergency medical coverage extend to their specific destination?
  • What deductibles, co-insurance, or co-payments can be required in a medical emergency in the course of the trip?
  • How are urgent vs. emergency care issues covered?

(Older adults with Medicare needs to be aware that foreign medical expenses aren’t covered and that supplemental plans should be purchased individually.)

“Bank card travel rewards typically offer trip interruption advantages that kick in before travel occurs. Travelers should first understand what advantages can be found through their bank card providers. Then, purchase a travel policy that covers all the things else,” Morrow told ZDNet.

Using sites equivalent to InsureMyTrip will help would-be vacationers compare travel insurance rates and coverage to find out the perfect fit for his or her budget.

ZDNet has compared five of the best international travel rewards bank cards, which supply anything from generous bonus point offers to $0 foreign transaction fees on purchases. The next bank cards (drawn partly from the list mentioned above) moreover offer travel-related programs that may assist with unexpected events that arise before and through international trips.

Card Highlights

Intro BonusEarn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the primary 3 months from account opening. That is $750 if you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

APR16.74% – 23.74% Variable

Advisable CreditExcellent/Good

Reward Rates

  • 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 3x on dining.
  • 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.

Annual Fee$95

Intro Purchase APRN/A

Additional Details

Balance Transfer FeeEither $5 or 5% of the quantity of every transfer, whichever is larger.

Balance Transfer APR16.74% – 23.74% Variable

Late Payment FeeAs much as $40

Foreign Transaction Fees$0

Penalty APRAs much as 29.99%

Rewards & Redemption Details

  • 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 3x on dining.
  • 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offers standard travel protection advantages for any travel expenses paid for with the bank card.

Travel advantages include:

  • Trip cancelation and trip interruption insurance
  • Travel and emergency assistance
  • Accidental death and dismemberment coverage as much as $10,000

Card Highlights

Intro BonusEarn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases together with your recent Card inside the first 6 months of Card Membership.

APR17.49%-24.49% Variable

Advisable CreditExcellent/Good

Reward Rates

  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery within the U.S.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at U.S. supermarkets (on as much as $25,000 per calendar yr in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

Annual Fee$250

Intro Purchase APRN/A

Rewards & Redemption Details

  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery within the U.S.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at U.S. supermarkets (on as much as $25,000 per calendar yr in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

This card grants access to the American Express® Global Assist Hotline, which offers emergency medical coordination and referrals 24/7. This service will help international travelers navigate emergency services when coping with the unexpected, but card members are liable for costs incurred by third-party service providers.

Travel advantages include:

  • Access to the Global Assist Hotline
  • Emergency Medical Transportation Assistance
  • Medical Prescription Substitute Assistance 

Terms apply to American Express advantages and offers. Enrollment could also be required for select American Express advantages and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Card Highlights

Intro BonusReceive 50,000 online bonus points – a $500 value – after you make no less than $3,000 in purchases in the primary 90 days of account opening

APR16.74% – 23.74% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

Advisable CreditExcellent/Good

Reward Rates

  • Earn unlimited 2 points for each $1 spent on travel and dining purchases
  • Unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all other purchases

Annual Fee$95

Intro Purchase APRN/A

Additional Details

Balance Transfer FeeEither $10 or 3% of the quantity of every transaction, whichever is larger.

Balance Transfer APR16.74% – 23.74% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

Late Payment FeeSee Terms

Foreign Transaction FeesNone

Penalty APRas much as 29.99% APR

Rewards & Redemption Details

  • Earn unlimited 2 points for each $1 spent on travel and dining purchases
  • Unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all other purchases

The Bank of America Premium Rewards Card requires a $95 annual fee, but it surely’s price it for the travel protections it provides for card members.

Travel advantages include:

  • Emergency evacuation and transportation coverage for you or any members of the family injured or sick while traveling
  • Travel and emergency assistance services to assist coordinate medical, legal, or transportation services
  • Trip delay or cancelation protection as much as $2,500 for travel that’s canceled or cut short on account of illness or other covered reasons

Read more: The Best Bank of America Credit Cards

Card Highlights

Intro BonusN/A

APR26.99% (Variable)

Advisable CreditLimited, Bad

Reward Rates

  • Earn unlimited 5% money back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you will get Capital One’s best prices on 1000’s of trip options. Terms apply
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% money back on every purchase, all over the place

Annual Fee$0

Intro Purchase APRN/A

Additional Details

Intro Balance Transfer APRN/A

Balance Transfer Fee$0 at this Transfer APR

Balance Transfer APR26.99% (Variable)

Late Payment FeeAs much as $40

Foreign Transaction FeesNone

Penalty APRNone

Rewards & Redemption Details

  • Earn unlimited 5% money back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you will get Capital One’s best prices on 1000’s of trip options. Terms apply
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% money back on every purchase, all over the place

This Capital One bank card provides a separate accident travel insurance policy. The policy is managed through the cardboard network, and it might be accessed through the cardboard member’s online account.

Travel advantages include:

  • Travel accident insurance covers the cardholder, spouse, and immediate members of the family, including children, within the case of death or everlasting injury
  • Trip cancelation or interruption insurance reimburses trip expenses for qualifying reasons that include accidental injuries or non-preexisting illnesses

Card Highlights

Intro BonusEarn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases in your recent Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

APRSee Pay Over Time APR

Advisable CreditExcellent/Good

Reward Rates

  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel as much as $500,000 on these purchases per calendar yr.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.

Annual Fee$695

Intro Purchase APRN/A

Rewards & Redemption Details

  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel as much as $500,000 on these purchases per calendar yr.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.

At $695, the American Express Platinum Card has a better annual fee than every other card on this list. Avid international travelers should find it priceless, nonetheless, given the premium travel insurance perks it provides.

Travel advantages include:

  • Expenses on account of trip cancelation, delay, and interruption will be covered (in the event that they are approved) by as much as $10,000 in a 12-month period per the insurance agreement
  • Premium Global Assist can coordinate help during medical emergencies, and emergency medical transport will be provided at no additional cost (provided the service is approved and provided by the hotline)
  • American Express Travel Insurance has policies that can cover emergency medical and dental expenses worldwide (except in places economically sanctioned by US law)

Terms apply to American Express advantages and offers. Enrollment could also be required for select American Express advantages and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

These services can cost as much as $10,000 or more depending on the travel destination. “Essentially, you’re getting a non-public jet with medical attention. It might probably get expensive pretty quickly,” Morrow warned.

Medical evacuations are rarely covered by domestic medical insurance policies. Travel insurance policies, nonetheless, typically cover medical transport to the closest medically-equivalent hospital that may offer lifesaving services. 

Travel insurance firms have largely removed pandemic exclusion clauses from their policies. “Firms that had pandemic exclusions are taking that wording out,” Morrow said. “Insurance firms at the moment are treating Covid like several other unexpected illness.” 

If you happen to have not contracted the virus before booking the trip, it should now be considered a covered illness. “I do not know any company that also has kept within the pandemic exclusion,” she added. 

Travel insurance prices can vary based on the age of the travelers and the general cost of the trip. “It tends to be anywhere from 5% to 10% of the trip cost for those who’re getting the package plan,” Morrow said. 

An insurance package plan will likely include trip cancelation or trip delay insurance. Post-departure advantages — medical insurance coverage in foreign countries, medical evacuation coverage, etc. — will cost even lower than non-package plans, and so they will be an efficient solution to get monetary savings.

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