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Buy travel medical insurance for a safe study-abroad experience

Buy travel medical insurance for a safe study-abroad experience

If you are a student and plan on studying abroad it can be a very exciting endeavor full of new experiences and challenges. With that in mind some of the more important aspects of trip planning may go unnoticed, such as securing yourself some very important travel medical insurance for international students. Actually, most student visas and educational institutions require that visiting students from abroad be covered by a comprehensive medical insurance policy. Following are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when purchasing your plan.


Do

Do purchase enough coverage

Travel medical insurance for students studying abroad is purely purchased to cover any emergency medical situations which may arise while away from your home country. Due to this it’s important to make sure you purchase enough coverage as medical emergencies can be very expensive, costing upwards of $120,000 depending on the necessary medical procedures undergone and how many days were spent as an in-patient at the hospital. We recommend anyone purchasing travel medical insurance to consider around $200,000 of medical benefit coverage.

Do acquire coverage that includes emergency medical evacuation

If you’ve found yourself in a situation that’s left you in critical condition your only saving grace may be the emergency air evacuation you receive to a nearby hospital that’s equipped to handle your medical condition. The fact of the matter is that depending on your condition and location of the medical facility you are being transported to it can easily cost in excess of $50,000. Having a plan that provides coverage for emergency medical evacuation is imperative.

Do make sure you are comfortable with your deductible limit

When you purchase a plan you may have multiple options for medical benefit amounts as well deductible amounts. The higher the deductible you chose the less expensive the plan will be. Whatever the deductible amount is be sure you are comfortable with it because you will have to meet the deductible out of pocket before the insurance company begins to pay for any services.

Do understand the plan you purchase

It’s important that when you purchase a travel medical plan to cover you while studying abroad that you understand how the plan works. What is your deductible amount if any? What does the plan cover? What local medical providers accept this plan? Does it cover any pre-existing conditions you may have? One thing to keep in mind is that since most of these types of plans are strictly meant for medical emergencies they won’t cover you for any regular check-ups or visits with a doctor. Doing so will result in the visit coming out of your pocket. Becoming familiar with your plan is very important.
 

Do purchase a plan that includes repatriation of remains

Many people don’t consider this when studying or traveling abroad, but in the unfortunate circumstance that you pass away while overseas your family is going to want to have your remains returned home for a proper burial. This service is not cheap and depending on what country you die in and where your body is to be transported to, this can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000. Having travel medical insurance while studying abroad provides coverage for this very important service.


Don't

Do not study abroad without Travel Medical Insurance

Whether you are studying abroad or simply on international travel for work or vacation it’s very important to have travel medical insurance. Many people are shocked to find out that their primary health insurance does not cover them during international travel. If you become sick or injured while traveling abroad and don’t have travel medical insurance the financial responsibility for the necessary medical care will most likely fall on you. With travel medical insurance you can protect yourself from the unexpected while traveling abroad.

Do not forget to pre-certify visits to the hospital

Many plans that provide health insurance coverage while studying abroad have pre-certification requirements. This requires that you notify the insurance company in advance, usually within 48 hours of emergencies, for any hospitalizations or surgeries. Not doing so can result in penalties such as being responsible for 50% of eligible medical expenses.

Do not use the coverage for regular check-ups

Travel medical insurance coverage is meant to be used for emergencies only. This is why the insurance can be so inexpensive compared to your regular major medical plan you pay for in your home country. Using this insurance for a regular check-up or annual physical with a physician will not be covered by these plans and will have to be paid for out of your pocket.

Do not overlook the pre-existing condition clause

If you have a pre-existing condition, be sure to review your plans pre-existing condition clause. Many plans don’t provide coverage for pre-existing conditions or only provide partial coverage for said conditions. Make sure you are prepared and understand what your plan covers and how it works.

Do not neglect to read the fine print

Regardless of the plan and most things you purchase these days it will be accompanied with a plethora of fine print. It’s important to read it over and make sure you understand the exact terms of service. Nothing’s worse than finding out later that certain services aren’t covered or that surcharges will need to be applied unexpectedly.


Summary
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As you can see, travel medical insurance is an integral part of your next trip to study abroad. Just as important as broadening your educational horizons, so to is making sure your health and wellness is secured by a travel medical insurance plan. No one thinks it will ever happen to them, but being protected in the event of sickness or injury while traveling abroad is a very important part of your traveling and educational plans.


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Photo Credits: Students in Turkey - FS-USA Intercultural Program - Flickr; Check Man, Cross Man and Jump Man © ioannis kounadeas - Fotolia.com

Marc D. LewandowskiIndependent Life Insurance Broker

Marc D. Lewandowski has been Life & Health insurance licensed for over 10 years with experience consulting clients on product options regarding Life, Health, Disability, Long-Term Care as well as Medicare Advantage plans. Marc Lewandowski gra...

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