What I have learned about GeoBlue Voyager Choice:
I know almost nothing about insurance in general, let alone the ins-and-outs of specific travel insurance plans, but the agents here at Good Neighbor Insurance do. After some research into GeoBlue Voyager Choice and discussing plans with the experts at GNI, I wanted to share a little bit about what I learned and why I am now convinced that it is a good travel plan for the majority of U.S. travelers. (You can also read more about it in detail here: https://www.gninsurance.com/travel/geoblue-voyager)
Why GeoBlue Voyager Choice is “The King of All Travel Plans”
We consider GeoBlue Voyager one of the best travel insurance plans on the market because of its many great benefits at a reasonable price. It is a versatile plan that can be good for business travelers with pre-existing conditions, pregnant women concerned about complications ,or even young, healthy travelers.
Are Pre-existing Conditions Covered on GeoBlue Voyager Choice?
GeoBlue Voyager Choice offers complete coverage for pre-existing medical conditions. Many plans only cover new medical problems that arise, so this is a great plan for those with a pre-existing medical condition.
I used to think that a pre-existing condition had to be something serious like a chronic heart condition or cancer. But I’ve learned that it could be something as simple as a sprained ankle two years ago. Even asthma and seasonal allergies are considered pre-existing conditions.
Let’s say a traveler with asthma goes overseas in the Fall season and catches a cold that triggers a severe asthma attack resulting in hospitalization. If his/her insurance policy doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions, his/her medical bills may not be covered, which could result in tens of thousands of dollars in bills. Or if someone with high blood pressure that is controlled by medication experiences a heart attack. Those medical expenses would only be paid by their insurance policy if it covers pre-existing conditions.
Most plans will only take care of any new medical problems that unexpectedly spring up. However, GeoBlue has got you covered. With the GeoBlue plan, I am assured all it takes is a call to the number on the back of the card, and “boom!” you’ll know where to go. And most of the time, it’s a direct payment, meaning you don’t need to pay out of your own pocket then get reimbursed!
You should be aware that this plan is not for maintenance of pre-existing conditions. So, if you’re traveling to another country, and you know you’ll need to have an operation, don’t expect this policy to cover the surgery. Maintenance medications aren’t covered either, so you should have your prescriptions filled before traveling.
Is There a Low-cost Plan if I Don’t Have Pre-existing Conditions?
If you don’t have a pre-existing condition, GeoBlue offers a lower cost plan that doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions and doesn’t require you to have an active primary U.S. health insurance.
The Choice plan requires you to have a U.S. group, individual or Medicare plan. The Essential plan provides slightly less coverage, too. For instance, prescription drugs are only covered at 50% on the Essential plan, while fully covered on the Choice plan. Dental injury/pain relief coverages are a bit lower on the Essential plan ($200/$100), while Choice covers up to $500. The Essential AD&D coverage is $25,000, while Choice AD&D is $50,000.
And the Choice plan will cover complications of pregnancy if the mother’s or baby’s life is in danger, but the Essential plan doesn’t offer that. Of course, short term plans generally don’t provide maternity benefits for someone who is already pregnant.
That brings me to the next point that I discovered from talking with Good Neighbor Insurance…
Will I Need to Pay My Medical Bills and Get Reimbursed Later?
One of the best things about the GeoBlue Voyager plans is the strength of the worldwide Blue Cross Blue Shield network. This allows the GeoBlue Voyager plans to pay the hospital directly, so you don’t have to try to pay a large hospital bill out of pocket and wait to get reimbursed later. You may not realize it, but the cost of medical care in parts of Europe and Asia can rival the costs in the U.S. Good luck putting a large hospital bill on a credit card!
Most travel insurance companies don’t have a large network or signed agreements in place. What would happen if your insurance policy made you pay a large hospital bill out of pocket and you didn’t have any way to pay it on the spot? I don’t want to ever be in that situation! I’ll go with the company that can recommend top-level facilities and western-trained doctors who just need to see my insurance card.
Where are the GeoBlue Providers Located?
GeoBlue has an elite network of doctors from almost every specialty in over 190 countries. They have established relationships with professionals certified by the American or Royal Board of Medical Specialties who speak English, and factor in recommendations by over 160 Physician Advisors around the world.
GeoBlue trains and works with their extensive network of hospitals to make sure the standards are high and that you aren’t being treated unnecessarily or based on localized ideas about medicine/healthcare. If you end up needing to go to a hospital, they direct you to the best one. Or if there isn’t one locally, arrange for an emergency evacuation so you can get treated. This can be a huge relief, especially if you’re in a country with hospitals that are subpar and have doctors that don’t speak English.
What Does “Bedside Visit” Mean for Travel Insurance?
GeoBlue Voyager Choice also provides for “bedside visit,” which basically means that if you’re stuck in a hospital overseas for more than a day or two, GeoBlue will actually pay to fly a family member (or someone else close to you) to come stay with you. Then they’ll fly both of you back home when it’s medically safe for you to travel. (Note: This isn’t specific to GeoBlue – most of GNI’s other travel insurance plans also offer this as well. I just think it’s a great feature if you get hurt overseas and the group you are with all need to travel home so they don’t miss their flights. At least if you have travel insurance, someone can stay with you or travel to be with you so it’s not so scary and you’re not alone.)
Considering this plan is around $2.00 a day, the cost is only about $40+ dollars for a three week trip. That’s a small price to pay to have someone come stay with you if hospitalized.
What Are Other Benefits to GeoBlue Voyager Plans?
GeoBlue Voyager plans offer many other benefits, such as their lost luggage benefit or Return of Remains (which I won’t try to explain, but there is an excellent article here). In addition, these plans don’t exclude coverage for epidemics, or war and terrorism (as long as you are not an active participant).
GeoBlue also helps you with translation if you’re overseas and don’t understand all the medical terms or insurance lingo used in the local language. GeoBlue will assist you in translating and explaining the terms as well as dealing with the doctors and hospital directly regarding your care. Imagine being sick or injured and not being able to understand what the actual problem or diagnosis is. They have an app to make this even easier for you.
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I have heard that many travelers go overseas without ever considering international travel medical insurance. That’s crazy! Especially as the risks overseas are so different and the health systems vary so much and may be very expensive. Interested in learning more about the GeoBlue Voyager Choice plan? To learn more: Click here, watch their Voyager Group Travel Insurance video below or read the brochure.
GeoBlue also offers plans for those taking multiple trips per year and for expats living overseas: