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Travel Emergency Medical Insurance Explained

Travel Emergency Medical Insurance Explained
Allianz - Travel Emergency Medical Insurance Explained

If the airline loses your suitcase, that’s aggravating.

If you have to cancel a weekend getaway, that’s disappointing.

But if you get seriously ill or injured on your trip, that’s a much bigger deal — and can even be life-threatening. That’s why you need insurance to protect you in case of a covered medical emergency while you’re traveling abroad.

It’s important to know that emergency medical travel insurance is not the same thing as travel health insurance. What’s the difference? Travel health insurance may cover things like preventive care and treatment for chronic conditions. Emergency medical travel insurance helps with covered medical emergencies during your trip. It does not pay for non-emergency care, such as elective cosmetic surgery, routine exams, long-term care, etc. It does include important benefits: emergency medical and dental, emergency transportation and Assistance services.

What about COVID-19? For customers purchasing a new travel protection plan, some of our plans now include an  Epidemic Coverage Endorsement, which adds covered reasons to select benefits for certain losses related to COVID-19 and any future epidemic. Benefits vary by plan and by state of residence, and are not available in all jurisdictions. For more information, please see the Epidemic Coverage Endorsement page in your plan details and read our COVID-19 FAQ or our COVID-19 Coverage Alert.

Let’s take a close look at how emergency travel medical insurance works. We’ll use a hypothetical example that’s based on a real customer’s experience.

How Emergency Medical Travel Insurance Helps Travelers

A traveler in Chiang Mai, Thailand, is climbing the 300 steps to the ancient Buddhist temple of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. He feels a pain in his right leg that he thinks is just a cramp. But when his leg begins to swell, he recognizes the signs of deep vein thrombosis. Because he’s had this condition before, he knows the clot in his leg could lead to a pulmonary embolism — a life-threatening complication. He needs to go to the hospital right away.

What happens now? That depends on whether or not he has emergency medical travel insurance benefits.

Without insurance: The traveler’s not sure what to do. Does 911 work in Thailand? It doesn’t. He ends up calling a taxi. Once he arrives at the emergency department of a busy public hospital, he waits for an hour to be seen. The staff speak limited English, so it’s hard to explain his symptoms.

With emergency travel medical insurance: The traveler uses the TravelSmart app to call Assistance and explains the situation. His Assistance coordinator rapidly arranges transportation to the best local hospital in Chiang Mai. Upon arrival, Assistance provides interpretation services to ensure the medical staff understand what’s going on.

When you have travel insurance, you never have to face a medical emergency alone. Contact Assistance, via the hotline or TravelSmart app, as soon as you can safely do so. Your dedicated coordinator can arrange appropriate medical care, provide an interpreter, contact family and friends to tell them what happened update them on your condition, and continually monitor your care.

Without insurance: Finally, the traveler is called up to the desk. But before he can be seen by a doctor, he’s told he must provide payment. Nervously, he hands over a credit card. He has no idea how much this is going to cost.

With emergency travel medical insurance: The traveler’s Assistance coordinator works directly with the hospital’s billing department to guarantee payment for covered emergency medical care, up to the limits in the traveler’s plan.

Many travelers don’t realize that their U.S. health insurance plan may not work abroad. As the U.S. State Department advises for travelers to Thailand: “Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance. …  Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments.”

Travel insurance with emergency medical benefits solves this problem by reimbursing covered costs for emergency medical care or, in many instances, guaranteeing payments to the insured traveler’s medical provider.

Without insurance: The doctor orders a few tests and keeps the traveler in the hospital for observation. But the care seems inadequate; nurses rarely check on him, and he feels anxious and alone. With emergency travel medical insurance: The doctor determines that the traveler needs additional testing that the Chiang Mai hospital can’t perform. The Allianz Global Assistance medical team recommends a medical evacuation to Bangkok, and travel insurance covers the cost.

The goal of emergency medical benefits is to ensure you receive care that’s on par with the care you’d receive in the United States. If nearby hospitals don’t meet that standard of care, your emergency transportation benefits may cover the cost of a medically necessary, pre-approved evacuation to an appropriate medical facility. This is a really valuable benefit. The cost of a medical evacuation overseas can be substantial, reaching six figures in some parts of the world.

Without insurance: After a few days in the hospital, the traveler has had enough. He pays a large medical bill, checks out and books his trip home, even though he’s worried air travel could make his thrombosis worse.

With emergency travel medical insurance: The traveler’s Assistance coordinator continues to monitor his medical care until he’s stable to travel. Assistance arranges and pays for his transportation home, where he can continue his recovery.

Emergency travel medical insurance from Allianz Global Assistance continues to care for you until you’re able to return home. Your emergency transportation benefits include medical repatriation, which means arranging and paying for your transportation to the U.S. with a medical escort or special accommodations, if it is determined to be medically necessary.

Once you’re home, your travel insurance coverage ends and your normal health insurance takes over. But your Assistance coordinator, and our expert customer service team, remain available to answer your questions and help you file a claim.

Planning a trip? Buy travel insurance as soon as you make your travel arrangements. Plans with emergency medical benefits include the OneTrip Basic PlanOneTrip Prime PlanOneTrip Premier Plan, OneTrip Emergency Medical PlanAllTrips BasicAllTrips PrimeAllTrips Executive, and AllTrips Premier.

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