Medical Tourism

What is Medical Travel Insurance?

travelMedical Travel Insurance

Medical travel insurance is a type of insurance coverage designed to provide financial protection for individuals who are traveling abroad and may need medical care during their trip.

It is also sometimes referred to as travel health insurance or international health insurance.

This type of insurance is particularly important because standard health insurance plans may not cover medical expenses incurred outside of your home country.

Medical travel insurance typically offers coverage for a range of medical expenses, including emergency medical treatment, hospital stays, surgery, and prescription medications. It may also cover other travel-related issues such as trip cancellations, lost luggage, or emergency evacuation.

Key features of medical travel insurance may include:

  1. Emergency Medical Coverage: Covers the cost of medical treatment for unexpected illnesses or injuries during your trip.
  2. Medical Evacuation: Covers the cost of transportation to the nearest suitable medical facility in case of a medical emergency that requires specialized treatment.
  3. Repatriation: Covers the cost of returning your remains to your home country in the unfortunate event of your death during the trip.
  4. Trip Cancellation or Interruption: Reimburses non-refundable trip expenses if your trip is canceled or interrupted due to covered reasons, such as a medical emergency.
  5. Lost or Delayed Baggage Coverage: Provides reimbursement for the value of lost, stolen, or delayed baggage.
  6. 24/7 Assistance Services: Many travel insurance plans offer 24/7 assistance services, including a helpline to connect you with medical professionals or assistance in finding local healthcare providers.

It’s crucial to carefully review the terms and conditions of a medical travel insurance policy to understand the coverage limits, exclusions, and any pre-existing conditions that may affect the policy.

Travel insurance needs can vary depending on the destination, the length of the trip, and individual health considerations. Travelers are advised to purchase medical travel insurance before embarking on international trips to ensure they are adequately protected in case of unforeseen medical emergencies.

Difference Between Travel Medical Insurance and Regular Health Insurance

The main difference between travel medical insurance and regular health insurance is the duration of coverage and the type of protection provided.

Travel medical insurance is designed to cover emergency medical expenses during a trip, such as ambulance services, doctor bills, and hospital charges.

It can be primary or secondary coverage, depending on the plan. In contrast, regular health insurance, whether domestic or international, provides long-term coverage for most medical bills, including non-emergency treatment, prescription medication, and chronic conditions.

It does not typically cover trip disruptions. Travel insurance, on the other hand, is intended to cover short-term trips and may include benefits such as trip cancellation, lost luggage, and travel delay

Cost of Medical Travel Insurance

The cost of travel medical insurance is typically lower than that of regular health insurance. Travel insurance policies can cost between $35 and $200, depending on various factors such as age, trip duration, location, and the level of coverage selected. On average, travel insurance is about 5% to 6% of your total trip cost.

In contrast, regular health insurance, whether domestic or international, involves long-term coverage for medical expenses and is usually more expensive than travel medical insurance.

The cost of regular health insurance can vary significantly depending on factors such as the level of coverage, the individual’s age, and pre-existing conditions.

To choose the right travel medical insurance plan, consider the following steps:

  1. Examine your current health care plan: If you have private health insurance in your home country, research whether it covers you internationally.
  2. Review and compare travel medical plans: This will help you get an idea of what different companies offer, pricing, and the benefits included. Look for plans that provide the freedom to seek treatment with a hospital or doctor of your choice.
  3. Consider your specific needs: Determine what benefits are important to you, such as coverage for emergency medical treatment, medical evacuations, emergency dental procedures, and any pre-existing conditions.
  4. Check for coverage limits and exclusions: Understand the limits of coverage for medical expenses, as well as any exclusions or limitations for pre-existing conditions, adventure activities, or hazardous sports.
  5. Seek advice from insurance professionals: If you’re unsure about which plan is best for you, consider consulting with insurance agents or brokers who can provide guidance based on your individual circumstances.

Schengen Travel Insurance

travelSchengen Travel Insurance

Schengen Travel Insurance is a type of insurance policy specifically designed for travellers visiting the Schengen Area in Europe.

The Schengen Area is a zone comprising 27 European countries that have abolished passport control at their mutual borders, allowing for free and unrestricted movement of people within the area.

This zone covers most of the EU countries, except for Ireland, Bulgaria, Romania, and Cyprus. In addition, non-EU countries such as Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein are also part of the Schengen zone

These countries have agreed to common visa policies for short stays. To obtain a Schengen visa, travellers are often required to provide proof of travel insurance that meets certain criteria.

The Schengen Travel Insurance must typically cover medical expenses, emergency medical evacuation, and repatriation of remains. The minimum coverage amount is specified by the Schengen regulations, and it is usually around 30,000 euros.

It’s important to note that the coverage requirements may vary slightly among the Schengen countries, so it’s advisable to check the specific requirements of the country you plan to visit.

Schengen Travel Insurance provides financial protection in case of unexpected medical emergencies during the trip, ensuring that travellers have access to necessary medical care without a significant financial burden.

Schengen Visa

Certain citizens need to apply for either a short stay visa or an airport transit visa – see here 

The European Union has a list of countries whose citizens require a visa – see here

Travel Insurance by Country

travelTravel insurance is pretty much a must, whatever country you are going to visit, but its cost and necessity does vary country by country.

For some countries it is a legal requirement, for others things like medical costs, as per USA, make it pretty crucial for most people.

Some countries are safer than others, and some parts of some countries are safer than others.

Insurance companies require people to follow any travel advice that their national government gives out about the state of a country, and how safe it is to travel there.

Governments of other countries than your own will also have travel advice for their citizens, which will be useful to follow.

Whilst travel insurance will usually cover most medical conditions, albeit at a cost,  if you have a condition such as epilepsy it is worth remembering that some countries still have quite a cultural and social problem with people who suffer from it.

It is also worth researching the medical system of any country you are going to, especially if you are visiting any remote areas of that country.

Also check if your insurance company will pay any medical bills directly to the hospital, or if you are expected to pay them and claim the money back from the insurance company.

Below is a list of articles about travel insurance to different countries, including some general travel tips and information on safety, airlines, sports, and health systems etc.





Travel Insurance and Health – Pre-Existing Conditions

travelMedical Pre-existing Conditions

Pretty much any medical condition or disability is referred to in insurance circles as a pre-existing condition. This can affect both the cost and availability of any travel insurance policy. All relevant information needs to be disclosed to the insurance company, or they may well refuse to pay any claim if one occurs.

Whilst it depends on the condition, most insurance companies have a pretty thorough screening process to make sure that they understand the individual’s situation properly, and can make a real risk assessment as such. They do want to offer insurance if possible, but won’t if they feel it is too much of a risk.

It is worth remembering that insurance companies are in the business of risk, and are able to assess the potential likelihood of someone needing help whilst overseas perhaps more accurately than the individual themselves.

Anyone with any type of medical condition would be well advised to talk to their GP first before organising or embarking on any trip, both to manage the practicalities of the trip in terms of medication and assistance, and also to make sure that the trip is a good idea in terms of their health situation.

Below are some articles relating to the most common pre-existing medical conditions that that affect people applying for travel insurance.

Angina and Travel Insurance

Asthma and Travel Insurance

High Blood Pressure and Travel Insurance

Health Insurance

Health insurance is a feature of most modern-day healthcare systems, although its usage varies from country to country.

In some countries like the United Kingdom health insurance and private medical treatment is on the periphery of how people access healthcare, whilst in other countries like the United States it is the bedrock of how people can access all types of medical treatment.

This is important because people often confuse health insurance with travel insurance, as well as personal accident insurance.

Generally speaking, a health insurance policy will not cover someone outside of their own country, although there are some exceptions to this.

All types of health insurance policies are designed to cover some type of medical treatment as well as a possible stay in hospital. Terms, conditions and costs vary widely depending upon the type of policy that is in place.

The benefits of a health insurance policy are subject to the terms and conditions of the policy, which will carefully stipulate how and when medical treatment may be obtained by the policyholder.

People recognise that health insurance may only apply within their own country, but also believe that policies can be extended to cover treatment abroad.

This can lead to real problems, especially in the field of what is known as medical tourism where people travel abroad for elective or planned medical treatment in another country because it will be considerably cheaper than in their own.

A health insurance policy will not normally cover this cost, and medical tourism is virtually always excluded from travel insurance as well which can have serious and unexpected costs and logistical problems.

If people are unsure, they should talk to their health insurance provider as to what type of coverage if any might be included for overseas travel, and if any doubt to arrange a significant travel insurance policy as well.

Personal Accident Insurance


Personal Accident Insurance

Personal Accident Insurance is a type of insurance policy widely used both domestically and when travelling abroad for any reason.

It can normally be used in conjunction with a travel insurance policy, but it is important to understand the differences between the two.

A personal accident policy is designed to provide benefits in the event of death or serious injury to the policyholder or their family.

This usually includes :

  • Accidental death
  • Permanent disability by way of accident
  • Temporary disability by way of accident
  • Loss of various limbs by way of accident
  • Loss of use of certain parts of the body temporarily
  • Cash payment relating to staying in hospital ( usually own country only)

These benefits will all have specific cash sums allocated to them, and there will be very specific exclusions to the policy which normally include the following :

  • Any type of illness or sickness unrelated to any accident that might have happened
  • Any type of self-harm or self-inflicted injuries
  • Anything that constitutes dangerous or reckless behaviour, including driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Professional sports, as well as a lot of what is considered dangerous sports, which the policy would spell out.
  • Any type of pre-existing condition

These exclusions are meant to make it clear in one sense that these benefits are different from what might be expected under a normal travel insurance policy.

They are designed to be of value to the policyholder purely in the event of an accident, to provide some financial help in what could be an overwhelming emotional situation.

Some travel insurance policies will include some or all of the benefits normally associated with a personal accident policy as part of their standard benefits. Others will offer them as an additional option to purchase