7 things to check while buying health insurance for visitors

Healthcare in United States is pretty expensive. Couple of days in the hospital without health insurance can cost you thousands of dollars. All that money you have been saving to travel…poof! Gone! If you don’t have savings, then credit card bills can put you under serious debt.

To avoid all this trouble buying a good quality health insurance for your visiting parents/relatives/friends makes complete sense. Even if there are cheap insurance plans from visitors home country, plan to buy insurance in US as the claim process is comparatively easy when your provider is in the same country.

Here are 7 things you must consider while purchasing a visitors health insurance.

1. Deductible

Deductible is the amount you have to pay before your insurance starts paying for the clinic visit or procedure. So if you have $250 deductible, you visit a hospital and your bill is $3000. Then you will have to pay $250 and your insurance will pay rest of the $2750 ($3000-$250).

Usually higher the deductible, lower the policy premium and vice versa. So look for a balance, do not go for higher deductible just because you are saving few dollars on your insurance policy.

2. Provider Network

While buying the insurance make sure that the clinics/hospitals near your home are in network of the insurance you are buying. If they are not, identify the ones that are in network. As in case of emergency, we choose the healthcare provider near us, checking the network would save a lot of trouble in future.

3. Pre-existing condition

If your parents/visitors have pre-existing condition, look for an insurance which will cover the acute onset of pre-existing condition. Which means, if the visitor has diabetes, the insurance won’t cover the treatment of diabetes but it will cover the complications caused because of diabetes.

4. Policy extension or cancellation

Sometimes there are circumstances where you have to change travel plans. Make sure that the insurance you are buying is flexible with extension as well as cancellation. Checking it before buying the policy would save you money.

5. Travel insurance inclusion

Many insurances cover travel insurance along with health, however you must check this before buying the insurance. It will give you peace of mind when your parents are travelling.

6. Age group of insured person

Since the premium increases with age of the insurer. Make sure you read the terms and conditions carefully. For patients above 70 years you will have to buy a specific insurance which covers acute onset of pre-existing condition.

7. Customer Support

Call the customer care of the insurance provider before buying the policy. Verify if they have good customer support. Ask them questions about various scenarios and make sure that your doubts are resolved.

When my parents were visiting, I had bought Atlas America from Tokiomarine HCC for them, it covered acute onset of pre-existing condition, had good provider network and the customer care was also reliable. I had to take my mother to clinic twice and both times my bill was $25 per visit. I heard some good reviews from Patriot America plan too.

There is no PERFECT plan. You will have to decide what’s perfect for you and your family by asking these simple questions. So make sure you consider all these things before buying the health insurance for your visiting family.

Stay Healthy! 🙂

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