As insurance agents, we understand our clients’ excitement when they’re planning a trip, eagerly looking forward to exploring new destinations, immersing themselves in different cultures, and sampling exotic cuisines. However, we also know that it's crucial to prepare them for potential emergencies. Travel medical insurance is a vital component of any travel plan, and we must ensure our clients are aware of its benefits and the protection it offers.
Why Do People Need Travel Medical Insurance?
Travel medical insurance provides coverage for medical emergencies, accidents, and illnesses that can occur while clients are traveling abroad. In addition to the financial protection it provides, travel insurance helps ensure that clients receive the best possible care when they need it most. In short, it gives them peace of mind so they can truly relax.
Doesn't Our American Health Insurance Cover Travel Emergencies?
The answer to this question is both yes and no. While most health insurance plans do provide coverage for medical emergencies abroad, they typically do not pay providers directly. Instead, clients must initially pay the medical bill themselves, obtain the receipt, and then file a reimbursement claim with their health insurance company. Since these claims involve foreign medical bills, the insurance company must verify them, which can be a time-consuming process. Additionally, the surprise billing laws that protect consumers in the US during medical emergencies do not apply to claims incurred outside the country. This lack of protection could result in balance billing for clients. Travel medical insurance can help mitigate this hassle and potential cost.
Several government sources seem to agree. The Texas Department of Insurance advises that standard health insurance policies may not cover medical expenses incurred outside of your home country. This is why it's essential to have separate travel medical insurance. And the U.S. Department of State also warns that the government cannot pay for medical expenses for its citizens abroad and recommends purchasing travel medical insurance before leaving.
Real-Life Horror Stories
Some clients may feel they are healthy and unlikely to encounter any issues during their trip. However, it is our responsibility to inform them of the unexpected and potentially costly situations that can arise.
As USA Today notes, travel medical insurance "can save you considerable hassle, time and money, and offer you peace of mind if you encounter health problems while traveling.” That’s because the cost of medical treatment in foreign countries can be exorbitant, and many hospitals require upfront payment before administering care." In fact, even minor incidents can cost thousands of dollars in medical expenses, depending on the destination.
Indeed, there are countless real-life examples of travelers who found themselves in dire situations without proper insurance. Here are a few from Mexico, a popular travel destination for American tourists:
- A father of four was stranded in a Cancun hospital after suffering a seizure and banging his head, unable to leave until he paid his $36,000 medical bill, according to Mirror.
- A couple celebrating their 24th anniversary was stuck in Cozumel after the husband suffered Decompression Sickness while scuba diving, unable to return home until they cleared a $14,000 bill, detailed in a KJRH News story.
- An American tourist in Puerto Vallarta who was bucked off his horse during an excursion was stuck in a hospital until he could pay for the hospital services in full, as described by Vallarta Daily.
These examples, along with numerous others, demonstrate the critical importance of travel medical insurance in protecting clients from unforeseen circumstances.
Choosing the Right Travel Medical Insurance for Clients
There are several factors to consider when helping clients select the appropriate travel medical insurance plan:
- Coverage limits: Help ensure the policy provides enough coverage to handle potential medical expenses in the destination country.
- Pre-existing conditions: If clients have any pre-existing conditions, confirm whether they will be covered under the policy.
- Sports and activities: Clients plan on participating in adventurous activities; verify if the policy covers potential accidents during these pursuits.
AHCP Offers Travel Medical Insurance Solutions
At AHCP, we are committed to providing comprehensive travel medical insurance solutions for your clients. We offer multiple options, such as the IMG iTravelInsured Travel Lite Insurance and MyPriority Agent Cigna Travel, to ensure that our clients receive the coverage they need.
Travel is an enriching experience that we all look forward to, but it is essential to prepare our clients for any unexpected challenges they may face. By offering travel medical insurance, we can help ensure that their dream vacation does not turn into a nightmare.