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December 13, 2018

All About U.S. Medical Insurance (For Foreigners) – How Does It Work

With the advancement of medical science, more and more diseases are being cured, but with the coughing up of huge expenses. Medical expenses are skyrocketing throughout the world, and many countries, including the US, do not provide free medical insurance to its citizens or to its expats. That’s why it becomes very troublesome if a medical emergency occurs in such a country. Travelling is always enjoyable and fun, but a sudden medical tragedy during the tour becomes a serious matter of worry. Medical emergencies may come without any warning, it is always like a bolt coming out of the blue. Meeting the required medical expenses while in a foreign country is tough in those situations. If you are a foreigner touring in the USA or staying there for some time, it is always better to buy medical insurance cover to meet the ends at times of emergency. Medical expenses for foreigners are not at all free in the US. In fact, the bills may escalate to huge amounts when you choose to get treatment in that country. Without medical insurance, you won’t be able to receive even the primary medical attention if you don’t have medical insurance while traveling through the USA. Here comes the need to understand how important it is to get medical insurance while traveling to the US, along with other required details. 

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Why Medical Insurance is a Must for Foreigners Traveling in the USA 

We all know that USA has access to some of the best and most advanced medical care in the world, probably because most of its clinics and hospitals. Being the best in the world, the medical treatment costs also tend to be very high as compared to that in other countries. Therefore, in order to avoid a burn in your pocket, the best thing you can do is to get International Medical Insurance coverage while traveling to the US. This kind of insurance will keep you medically as well as economically fit in case of an emergency medical situation. You may choose from a variety of medical plans provided by medical insurance agencies in the country. You need to buy the insurance before landing in the United States of America. The insurance plan that you choose largely depends on your budget and your duration of stay in the country. Some plans may also be tailor-made as per your individual requirements, preferences and budget. Make sure that the medical insurance company you are choosing provides its services on global level, and provides services in the USA as well. It should have coverage for an extensive network of hospitals and doctors so that you can get the most efficient and effective treatment without worrying about the medical bills. 

 

How Does US Visitors’ Medical Insurance Work 

Remember, medical insurance for foreign visitors in the US is not the same as that for the U.S. citizens. Since it is a short-term insurance plan, it is designed to cover emergency medical expenses only in case of hospitalization. Unlike domestic insurance, medical insurance for foreign visitors is not governed by the Affordable Care Act or the ACA, as it is available for the resident citizens of the United States of America only. Many of the benefits that the domestic medical insurances cover are not covered by visitor’s medical insurance plans. Remember, your visitor’s medical insurance plan will not cover the following medical activities: 

    Cosmetic surgery

    Birth control

    Dental corrections

    Immunizations

    Elective surgery

    Maternity care

    Maintenance medication

    Routine visits

    Vision (eye)

    Check-ups for prevention

    Known, pre-existing and declared medical conditions 

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It is a fact that the US government is responsible for controlling and regulating the medical insurance industry in the United States of America. All the insurance agencies need to follow the strict guidelines set by the government. They legally need to declare all their promises, claim and setbacks clearly in their terms and conditions page. If you choose the right insurance plan, almost all the clinics and private hospitals throughout the US will accept it, and you won’t need to worry about the medical expenses for your treatment. Foreigners having the right type of insurance while in the US can get best of cashless treatment for most of the illnesses, diseases and injuries. You will not need to pay even a single penny out of your pocket. The medical insurance companies give 24X 7 customer service for foreigners in the USA.There are no lengthy follow-ups and waiting lines. Almost all the insurance companies based in the USA are affiliated to Better Business Bureau or the BBB, which interferes promptly in case of any dispute and grievance redressal.

 

The Right Time to Purchase Visitor’s Medical Insurance 

The best time to purchase a foreigner’s medical insurance plan is before departing from your home country and reaching the USA.  It is always better to purchase the insurance policy after your visa has been granted for the travel and stay in the United States. The protection becomes valid from right from your departure date, and you shouldn’t buy the medical insurance at the last moment thinking that you can get away with pre-existing diseases. No insurance company will pay even a single dollar for the treatment of your pre-existing diseases. 

Whether you are traveling to the USA as a foreigner for a short duration, for study or for work, you should not overlook the health aspect or the financial aspect in case of medical emergencies. It’s always best to purchase a medical insurance policy. Also, it is wiser not to visit America if you are suffering from a severe health condition, as that illness won’t be covered in your policy. If you become ill due to a pre-existing condition while in the US, your insurance policy will not cover its treatment, and your insurance premium may go wasted in the foreign land.

 

Precautions to Take While Purchasing US Medical Insurance (For Foreigners) 

One should always understand the purpose of medical insurance while going to the United States of America. Read the working principles, terms and conditions and fine print written on your insurance document. By staying alert and well-informed, you will be able to avoid any confusion later on. It would be useless to ask for clarifications after the insurance company denies your insurance claims. Because by that time, you will burn a big hole in your pocket by paying hefty medical bills while in the US. It is also important to compare different insurance plans from different insurance companies so that you can choose the one that provides maximum coverage at a minimum premium.

 

Some Of The Doubts That Need To Be Cleared 

People have a few misconceptions regarding getting medical insurance while traveling to the US. Many people don’t even take it seriously and think that they can easily do away without getting any insurance. But that’s not right. Here, we will clear a few doubts regarding getting medical insurance while visiting the country: 

·         If you are traveling to the USA and thinking that you can get one if you fall sick there, then you have a wrong idea. If you get sick while in the US and then you try to get insurance for your treatment, no insurance company will give you insurance in such a situation, and you will end up paying for your medical expenses on your own.

·         You may think that nothing will happen to you during your USA visit and you may decide to buy the cheapest medical insurance policy just for the sake of having it. If you have this kind of mentality, then you must remember that danger sometimes comes from the safest corner. If that happens your medical bills may exceed the budget of your entire US tour, and you will have no choice but to regret that later. 

·         Some people think that they can buy a cheap insurance policy now, and if they happen to fall sick in the US, they may upgrade their plan to get better treatment later. But you are wrong in this point as well. While you are in the US and you fall sick suddenly, be informed that you will not be allowed to upgrade your existing plan there, even by paying extra premium. There is no option for upgrading an existing insurance policy during your trip. You will need to cancel the current policy and opt for a more comprehensive plan, but your present disease will be taken as a pre-existing condition.

 

How To Buy The US Medical Insurance 

One can quickly obtain medical insurance for foreigners both online and offline. By choosing the right plan, you can get yourself covered up under the policy before reaching the country. The plan that you choose should begin the coverage from the day of your journey. With this, it will provide you maximum benefits in case of any medical emergencies. Remember, no medical test is required to purchase a medical insurance policy for foreigners. But if your illness turns out to be a pre-existing one at the time of hospitalization while in the USA, then the insurance company will deny any claim for your treatment. 

See also: Guam the US away from the US 

It is better to buy US medical insurance policy for foreigners from an insurance company that is rated by A.M. Best Company only. It is a third-party organization, a global level credit rating company dedicated to evaluating various insurance companies independently. It gives a comprehensive report and status of the insurance company only after judging the pros and cons, and ease of doing business with the company. The rating provided by A.M. Best can provide a benchmark to the foreign visitors to choose the best insurance plan while visiting the US. 

Most of the insurance plans give at least 50% of the coverage outside the PP network, and 100% within the PP network of hospitals and clinics.  But certain insurance plans give a fixed amount for each treatment and service taken. Beyond that fixed amount, one needs to pay from their pockets. One should check about the coverage of the insurance company throughout the United States of America as some of the companies do not cover the whole of the country and have restrictions in some areas and states. Give preference to a medical insurance company that includes the whole of the US for the treatment of foreigners.

 

Overview 

Accidents are quite unpredictable. You never know when the health of a person starts deteriorating and medical attention might be needed. Although medical science has seen tremendous improvement and it can now cure almost all diseases, the cost of treatment has sky-rocketed, particularly in the United States of America. Foreign nationals staying in the country or traveling there do not get the social security that the US government provides to its permanent citizens. In order to get covered for proper treatment while in the US, you need proper medical insurance coverage beforehand. The cost of treatment is very high, and without medical insurance in the USA, it is just impossible to get treated in case of any medical emergencies. One should judiciously choose the best US medical insurance after studying all the pros and cons of all policies available. Make sure that the insurance plan you are choosing provides an extensive network of coverage through the USA and then purchase the one that best suits your requirements, preferences and budget.

Another way of getting the details of the plan is to read the reviews and decide the best one. The best time to buy an insurance plan is right after getting the US visa. One should never go to the United States of America without proper medical insurance applicable for foreign nationals. Otherwise, you may end up getting caught in great trouble, in case you happen to need medical attention during your tour.

Prevention is always better than cure. Get medical insurance coverage while traveling to the USA as a foreign national. By doing that, you will stay secured without worrying about the medical bills you may need to pay if required. Simply put, a medical insurance plan will allow you to stay healthy and happy during your much-awaited US tour.