We hear many travelers say, “It’s okay, if I get injured on my trip, ____ (fill in the destination country) has nationalized healthcare, so I don’t need travel medical insurance.”
The truth is, nationalized healthcare will not pay for tourists medical care.
Countries like England, Canada, and others issue travel advisories that clearly state:
“YOU ARE STRONGLY RECOMMENDED TO ENSURE YOU HAVE ADEQUATE HEALTH INSURANCE TO COVER THE DURATION OF YOUR STAY IN THE UK.“
“As for all international travel, visitors to Israel should have travel insurance that covers them in case of illness or hospitalization. Pharmacies in Israel are to be found everywhere and are very well stocked with drug store items and all the over-the-counter medicines you may need.”
“Although India has a universal health care system, lack of coverage and infrastructure in the public sector means that many Indians turn to the private sector for healthcare needs.”
“If you are not a resident of Germany, doctors and hospitals may expect immediate payment in cash. Most doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies do not accept credit cards.” (article continues after image)
In fact, in most of these countries, even residents are encouraged to consider (or have as an option to purchase) Private Extended Health Insurance Plans.
(From the UK site:) “Government health insurance plans give you access to basic medical services. You may also need private insurance to pay for things that government plans do not fully cover.”
The most common types of plans are extended health plans. These cover costs for:
- prescription medications
- dental care
- ambulance services (emergency transportation)
- prescription eyeglasses
“How about my U.S. or domestic health insurance? Will they pay? I have a good universal ACA-compliant policy.”
Most of the time, domestic policies are going to pay only in case or a “life-or-death” or risk of permanent disability claim. Since they will require you to pay up front, you will have to submit a claim regardless which will most likely be denied and require a LOT of work on your side to get the claim considered.
They also will not pay to have you medically evacuated or relocated to a specialist hospital and wherever you end up, will not be of any help negotiating cheaper rates for whatever you will ultimately be responsible for (and which will be turned over to U.S. collection agencies). In comparison, travel medical insurance companies can advise on best hospitals and doctors for western-style care, have detailed reports on qualifications and quality scores on those facilities, and can negotiate your costs, even accept direct billing in many cases. Travel medical insurance usually covers prescription drugs, emergency evacuation, political evacuation and will even send someone home, or send a family member to your beside overseas and pick up the associated costs, if you cannot continue on your trip (Called emergency reunion).
For the $1.00-2.00 a day, emergency travel (medical) insurance makes a lot of sense. Please realize that this is not Trip Cancellation insurance which many people confuse with travel medical insurance and which is primarily to refund trip costs if you cannot travel as planned. While we also offer those types of plans for those going on cruises or needing to pay a large chunk of money upfront, and often non-refundable, we are here talking about Short-term Travel Medical Insurance. for the small price you’ll pay, you will also get access to additional invaluable services like translation help (in an emergency, understanding a doctor before getting injections may be critical!), help with lost travel documents, repatriation of remains if needed, and many more including the most important, emergency evacuation.
So, remember that nationalized healthcare will not pay for tourists medical care, so you’ll need to purchase a travel insurance plan before you leave on your trip.
Call us at (480)813-9100 or Skype us at “Good Neighbor Insurance” if you have questions. We’d be happy to explain things further and help you get just what you need to make your trip a good one and a safe one.