GREENSBORO, N.C. — You are here, in the U.S. If you travel anywhere in the U.S., your health insurance travels with you in case you need emergency care.
But if you go out of the country, to the islands, to our neighbors to the north, Europe, and beyond, 99% of the time your health insurance does not provide you coverage.
"You want to check with your company what is covered, how would they handle something if it was outside the country. If your health plan won't provide coverage outside the country, that's where travel insurance is really a necessity," said Louise Norris, Health Policy Analyst with HealthInsurance.org.
Just like regular health insurance, travel medical insurance policies vary on what they cover and how much they pay. There are three main questions you need to ask.
DOES THE TRAVEL POLICE COVER PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS?
"These policies are really only designed to cover emergencies, but if you were to have an acute resurgence of a pre-existing condition, how would the travel policy handle that," said Norris.
WHAT IS THE COVERAGE FOR EVACUATION & TRANSPORT?
'If you are planning to go somewhere that's far from a heavily populated place, you want to make sure the policy has a way to get you transported to a suitable medical facility and that cost would be covered by the plan," said Norris.
WILL TRAVEL INSURANCE COVER YOUR EXCURSIONS & ACTIVITIES?
I know you're thinking, well, I'm traveling, so why wouldn't it cover whatever I'm doing on vacation? But not all activities on vacation are covered by all policies.
"Make sure activities you've planned are covered. your needs are different if you're just laying around on the beach versus if you're planning on going jungle zip-lining, or scuba diving," said Norris.
You should expect to pay a couple of hundred dollars for the travel medical insurance. And don't forget to ask how much the maximum benefit or total pay-out is for your policy.