If you are planning a trip overseas then you have probably wondered how your US medical plan will cover you outside of the U.S.
If you have a managed care (HMO) plan, then you might not have any coverage outside of the US. Any coverage you do have with an HMO is likely to be significantly reduced when you travel, with greater out-of-pocket expense for treatment outside of your normal coverage area.
Privately issued medical insurance usually does cover you during overseas travel, but the cost of obtaining records, translating them into the English language, converting the currency, and delivering payment overseas is all your responsibility, not the insurers.
One easy option is to have a short term medical policy specifically designed to cover international travelers to supplement your primary coverage. Fortunately these are inexpensive and easy to obtain. Since these plans specialize in international travel, there are fewer hassles typically associated with health plans. The coverage can usually be issued in about two days with a confirmation sent by fax or e-mail to your travel destination if necessary.
Tony Novak, MBA, MT is a writer and financial adviser in Narberth, PA focusing on tax and employee benefit issues. His businesses www.MedSave.com and Freedom Benefits Association provide online benefits enrollment for thousands of individuals and businesses nationwide.