Does Visitors Insurance Cover Preventative or Routine Care?
Making the decision to purchase a visitors insurance plan for your trip to the United States is already a step in the right direction. However, it is important to understand what visitors insurance is and what it covers to save yourself frustration if a treatment or service isn’t covered that you assumed was. One such exclusion that is often mistaken for being covered by visitors insurance is preventative or routine care.
While visitors insurance is highly recommended and can help protect you during your travels in the event that you need medical care for a new injury or illness, it is important to understand that it differs from your domestic healthcare plan. Your domestic healthcare plan is long term coverage for your regular checkups, medical care and emergencies while in your home country.
Visitors insurance is designed to offer short-term coverage for new injuries or illnesses that you suffer from during your travels. Due to its short-term nature, visitors insurance does not cover routine or preventative care such as immunizations, vaccinations, flu shots, or physicals.
Let’s take a closer look at what visitors insurance is, what it covers and doesn’t cover, and more about preventative and routine care.
What is Visitors Insurance?
Visitors insurance is a short-term medical insurance policy that provides coverage for those who are traveling outside of their home country. It is designed to cover medical expenses related to new and unforeseen illnesses, injuries, or accidents that occur after the start date of the policy and during the time of international travel. Contrary to domestic healthcare plans, visitors insurance does not cover preventative care or routine care, and often any care related to pre-existing medical conditions, although some visitors insurance plans do offer coverage for the worsening of pre-existing conditions.
What is Considered Preventative Care or Routine Care?
Preventative care is any medical treatment or service that is taken in order to prevent illness, such as a flu shot or vaccination. Routine care refers to visits such as checkups with your doctor, physicals, examinations, and screenings that are regularly performed to monitor your health.
Why Doesn’t Visitors Insurance Cover Routine or Preventative Care?
Since visitors insurance is only meant to provide coverage for a small window of time while the policyholder is traveling overseas, it isn’t designed to provide coverage for routine treatment or services which would likely otherwise be covered by your domestic health insurance plan.
Visitors insurance is only meant to cover newly discovered or unanticipated illnesses, injuries, or diseases that develop after the policy’s start date. Services received during a visitors insurance policy start and end date that are related to preventative or routine care would be excluded from the plan’s coverage.
Other examples of common visitors insurance exclusions include:
- Maternity Care
- Maintenance Medications
- Elective Surgeries
- Standard Vision Care
- Routine Dental Services
- Treatment Related to Pre-existing Conditions
- Voluntary Treatments/Second Opinions
How to Navigate Visitors Insurance
There’s no doubt that visitors insurance can feel as though it is tricky or confusing, especially if you purchased a policy, filed a claim, and that claim was denied due to an exclusion. When navigating your visitors insurance plan, there are a few things to remember that can help you better understand your coverage and save yourself from unnecessary frustrations.
First, make sure that you read your policy’s complete description of coverage to understand what your policy offers coverage for and what is excluded from your plan. Additionally, make sure that you keep your expectations reasonable when it comes to your policy’s coverage. For example, if you are trying to buy a visitors insurance plan for a parent that is visiting the U.S. who recently had a heart attack and is looking to have surgery performed in the U.S. for this heart condition, it is unreasonable to assume that short-term visitors insurance would cover these costs.
By keeping your expectations reasonable and understanding your visitors insurance plan’s coverage and exclusions, you can better navigate your policy and receive coverage for eligible expenses should you need medical treatment during your trip.