Do You Need Travel Health Insurance?

Do You Need Travel Health Insurance?

Picture this: you’re on a wonderful vacation, one you’ve dreamed of for years. Perhaps you’re in Hawai’i, or perhaps you’re in Europe or in the Caribbean. Wherever you are, things are going great — right up until they’re not. Without warning, you fall ill or suffer from a serious injury. Your vacation is suddenly in much rougher shape, and maybe even ruined.

That sounds awful. But here’s the thing: it could get worse. It’s one thing to return home with a horror story of a bad vacation spent in ambulances and hospitals, and quite another to later receive a medical bill that ruins your personal finances for a lifetime.

Steep health care bills on vacation: it could happen to you

That kind of medical horror story may sound shocking, but it’s a reality that some unlucky people deal with. Medical bills are a common cause of debt, and bills accrued on vacation can be especially problematic. The problem is that whatever health insurance policy you may currently have, there’s a good chance that it offers dramatically different levels of coverage depending on whether you are receiving care inside or outside of your health insurance “network.” If you’re at a local hospital and dealing with a local doctor, and both the hospital and doctor accept your insurance policy, then you may not be in for too much financial stress. But if you’re outside of that network or even outside of the country, it’s possible that your insurance won’t cover your expenses at all.

And that is very, very bad news. It’s bad news because healthcare is staggeringly expensive. Most of us can’t afford to pay surprise bills of a few hundred dollars, much less a few thousand or tens of thousands. Such an incident may leave you with few options other than declaring bankruptcy. While medical bills can be discharged in bankruptcy, you don’t need to be a financial expert to understand that declaring bankruptcy is a last resort and a real disaster for your credit. So what can you do? You can protect yourself ahead of time.

Understanding travel health insurance

If you’re planning a vacation, call your health insurance provider. Ask them what would happen if you were to get injured and have to stay in a hospital in your vacation destination. There’s a good chance you’ll find that you’d have little or no coverage. For instance, Medicare plans do not cover out-of-country expenses, and many state-focused health insurance plans are very local indeed.

Now you know that you need more coverage. Fortunately, there are plenty of great insurance companies that offer supplementary plans designed to patch exactly this sort of gap in your health insurance coverage. The type of supplementary coverage that you need is called travel health insurance.

Your next steps are pretty straightforward. Just as you would if you needed regular health insurance, it’s time for you to check out some options. Read up on different plans and check out travel health insurance reviews on HealthSoul. Work with brokers online or in person, or apply directly for coverage on insurer websites.

But whatever you do, do not head on your next vacation without making absolutely sure that you have the proper health care insurance coverage for the time and place that you’ll be spending your vacation in. There’s never a guarantee that your vacation will go perfectly, but you deserve to feel confident that — no matter what might go wrong — you’ll never have to deal with absurd medical expenses and lose your financial security just because of an accident or an illness during your vacation.