The Value of Travel Medical Insurance

Posted by Phil Dougherty
September 7, 2023

International travel has taken off! The global travel & tourism sector has experienced a strong comeback this summer. Jetsetters and vacationers are making up for lost time and eager to tick off those bucket list destinations and experiences. I can certainly relate, as my own travel wish list grows longer each day.

As we consider foreign travel in today’s world (whether for leisure or business), we should be ever mindful of the limitations of domestic insurance and how that affects your financial exposure.


Limitations of Domestic Insurance

Individual & family plans, through California’s public and private marketplaces, only provide emergency medical coverage while outside the country. We’re yet to see a plan that we’d feel comfortable relying on internationally. Non-emergencies and evacuations may or may not be covered—it’s the carrier’s determination.

Note: Group insurance may provide foreign travel coverage, but it too may have limitations. Be sure to refer to your service agreement for specific benefits.


What Medicare and Medicare Related Products Cover

Medicare does not provide coverage outside the US and its territories. Most Medicare Supplements provide only $50,000 lifetime of emergency-only coverage, with a $250 deductible. This usually does not include assistance services to help coordinate care or medical evacuation, and reimbursement is only made after translated receipts and doctors’ notes are submitted upon return. We believe this lack of coverage and support is insufficient. Medicare Advantage Plans (MA) a bundled alternative to receiving Medicare benefits, may or may not provide out of country coverage and those that do will certainly have limitations.


The Value of Travel Medical Insurance

We recommend travel insurance for the added layer of medical insurance for both emergencies and non-emergencies with benefit limits as high as $8,000,000.  Medical evacuations to receive appropriate care can cost tens of thousands without insurance. Some carriers even include evacuations for natural disasters, political unrest and terrorism. An important benefit of Travel Insurance is the assistance services included such as access to global telemedicine services, safety alerts, medical translation tools, and international provider networks of hospitals and doctors. We believe this insurance is vital to protect against potential costly gaps and should be considered in one’s portfolio of insurance.


Travel Medical Insurance Case Study

GeoBlue (a well-known company in the industry) shared a case study with us about an American in France who suffered a severely broken leg during a walking tour. GeoBlue’s policy covered his surgery, hospital stay, ambulance, and transportation costs 100%. Despite having incurred $24,000 in total costs, he walked away having only paid a $34 premium.

At OnlyHealthInsurance we care about the physical and financial health & safety of our client community. Travel insurance can limit your exposure to unforeseen costs. Give us a call or email if you would like a quote or more information.

Palace of Versailles Garden

Gardens of Versailles, Dougherty Family Trip 2012

London Eye

London Eye, Dougherty Family Trip 2012

Kylemore Castle in Ireland

Kylemore Abbey, Dougherty Family Trip 2012

Our goal with QuestAssured is to encourage our clients to travel with a spirit of adventure and a sense of security. We are excited to deliver to our subscribers’ posts packed with tips and insight for traveling with peace of mind. Our articles will cover the ins and outs of travel insurance, health and safety tips, travel hacks, destination discoveries, sustainable travel, cultural awareness, and more!