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Know Your Health Insurance Coverage Before Going Abroad

Apr 26, 2008
You may not know this already, but when planning on traveling abroad you cannot take your local insurance with you. You will need to purchase an international insurance plan offered by a multinational insurance company. While they may be hard to track down, it is the best way to assure that in the event of an accident or illness you will be able to acquire medical attention if needed.

Many of these plans will cover you up to six months in another country. When you speak with the insurance company, be prepared to give an extensive list of information to them. This will range from health problems you've had in the past ten years, your hereditary conditions to substance abuse, and almost everything else if it has anything to do with your health be prepared to disclose the information. If you are planning on traveling with more than one family member, then be prepared to give information for each family member as well.

Many times your basic coverage will include emergency treatment regardless of which facility it is administered. This is not the case with minor medical treatment. It is important to know whether you are buying an insurance plan that is an HMO or PPO. If you are under an HMO or health maintenance organization, then you will be limited to receiving care from only the providers who are in their network. You can retrieve a list of all the companies within your insurer's network upon request. If you are under a PPO, or preferred provider organization, you will have the opportunity to pick the best facility you see fit, but your insurer will only cover a portion of the incurred cost.

If you plan on staying abroad for more than six months then you will need to look into what is called expatriate health insurance. Only larger companies supply this type of insurance, as it is much more extensive with the type of options that can be applied to each policy. The type of treatment options that are covered with expatriate health insurance are those that are labeled as specialty treatments, like chiropractic therapy and acupuncture. There are many options that can be applied to expatriate health insurance depending on your family's needs and how long you plan on spending abroad.

There are many options for health insurance when you are traveling abroad. While many individuals never consider purchasing insurance when traveling to another country, this should be at the top of your list when planning for a trip. Health insurance should not be taken lightly. Be sure you understand every aspect of your policy before deciding with any one particular company.
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