According to the Office of Travel & Tourism Industries, in 2014, 30.7 million people or 45% of all U.S. citizens who traveled by air, journeyed overseas. That is an increase of 6% over the previous year.
Meanwhile, 37.5 million citizens traveled by air, car, bus or train to neighboring Mexico and Canada, a 14% increase over the previous year.
With the holiday season fast approaching, some of us might be thinking about potential travel plans during that time.
So, if you are planning on traveling outside of your country…whether you’re traveling by air, land or sea…it’s probably a good idea to purchase travel medical insurance.
Overseas Travelers Should Take Preventative Measures Before Departing the US
If you are among the many who did decide to travel abroad this year, the top destinations last year for U.S. travelers were:
- Mexico (25 million)
- Canada (12 million)
- Europe (11.8 million)*
- Caribbean (7 million)*
- Asia (4.5 million)*
*Air traffic travel statistics only
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), among abroad travelers, injuries are one of chief reasons for visiting a doctor’s office, being hospitalized, repatriation, and death. The WHO implores travelers to be cognizant of the increased risk of being injured while traveling abroad, and thus, take the necessary preventive measures before hand.
Therefore, before you go, it’s important to contact your health insurance provider to see what medical services, if any, they can provide for you while outside the U.S.
Some providers may pay for sensible hospital expenses abroad, but few will pay for the cost of medical evacuations back to the U.S. in the event of an emergency (which can cost anywhere from $10,000 to well over $100,000).
According to the U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs, if a U.S. citizen becomes ill overseas, the U.S. embassy can help find appropriate medical services, but payment for these services is the patient’s full responsibility. They also state that those with Medicare will NOT be covered for hospital or medical costs outside of the U.S.
Travel Medical Insurance is NOT Travel Insurance
Travel medical insurance, which is different from travel insurance, is designed to help you be financially covered for any unexpected medical emergencies. Travel medical insurance from a reputable insurer can cover:
– Up to $50,000 for Emergency Medical & Dental care
– Up to $1,000,000 for emergency evacuation or medical transportation
Also, if you or your loved one has a pre-existing condition, it’s best to purchase travel medical insurance within 15 days of any initial payment or deposit for your trip…just to ensure you’ll be covered.
Here’s a list of travel insurance providers, as ranked by Frommers.com; however it’s always best to do your due diligence when choosing an insurer that best fits your travel needs.
Wishing you safe and enjoyable travels this season. Bon Voyage!
Until next time,
Ms. Dakar is the author of The Busy Person’s Guide to Personal Finance, a primer to help consumers manage their finances so they can build a substantial nest-egg. She also conducts personal finance seminars where she provides concepts to attain overall financial health.