Will my health insurance cover COVID-19 while traveling?

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If you are prepared to travel again, it is important to understand the scope of your travel health insurance if you take COVID-19⁠, even when traveling with the United States. Even if you are vaccinated, you could still test positive for the virus or experience an innovative infection.

If you travel to the country in the U.S. and are covered by a U.S. health insurance provider, or Medicare, your health plan will cover urgent care visits, medical expenses, imaging, medications, and stays in the U.S. ‘hospital. Beyond the general illness or injury, if you test positive for COVID-19, or need medical treatment or hospitalization because of the virus, the scope of your coverage may vary. It is best to check the specific provisions of your personal health plan.

If you are fully vaccinated and plan to go on vacation abroad, purchasing a travel insurance policy that includes travel medical expenses and medical evacuation coverage should be part of your checklist. journey. Your U.S.-based health insurance will not be accepted abroad.

It is best to be prepared to purchase a comprehensive travel insurance policy that will cover the medical expenses you incur if you become ill or injured while outside the US. Many travel insurance companies offer plans that cover medical expenses related to COVID-19. You should research and find a policy that best suits your needs.

Beyond medical care, your travel plan may even cover quarantine-related self-isolation costs, such as accommodation and meals due to a positive COVID-19 test.

This is what you need to know so that you are protected whether you travel to Miami or Madrid.

Here’s how to prepare if you’re traveling to the United States

Before planning any type of trip, it is best to check with your health insurance company about the scope of your coverage. You can find your carrier’s contact information on the back of your membership card.

“First, always check with your health insurance provider to see what your plan covers and what it doesn’t, and familiarize yourself with the limits of your policy,” says Kathy Kimmel, a spokeswoman for InsureMyTrip, a travel insurance comparison site.

If you have traveled to the country in the past, you know that you can use your personal insurance for problems such as fever, food poisoning, severe sunburn, stitches, or an ankle sprain.

The pandemic has provoked a whole host of “what happens if it is” for travelers⁠, even if you do not leave the country. As always, coverage depends on your particular plan. “It’s best for travelers to check with their provider to find out how COVID is covered and what steps need to be taken to prepare in case they get the virus on a trip,” says Jeremy Murchland, president of Seven Corners Travel Insurance.

Health insurance may cover COVID-19, Murchland says, but it will not normally cover home emergency evacuations or quarantine expenses that may come from destination warrants.

What about road trips to the US?

Bailey Foster, a spokeswoman for Trawick International, a travel insurance company, says that if you have health insurance and travel to the United States, your health insurance will cover COVID-19-related expenses.

Check if your health insurance covers you on a road trip © canadastock / Shutterstock

“This would work like any other illness you could get and your health insurance would cover the costs associated with treating travelers,” he says. “The traveler should be responsible for their copayments related to their medical treatment.”

Will U.S. health insurance cover COVID-19 infection abroad?

The simple answer is no. “Your U.S.-based health insurance will not cover COVID-19-related illness expenses while you are abroad,” Foster tells Trawick International. “It is imperative that travelers purchase a travel insurance plan that clearly states that it offers coverage related to COVID-19 losses.”

If your policy includes COVID-19 coverage, it will cover medical care, hospitalization, medicine, and any other treatment needed because of COVID-19.

It is best to call the insurance company to make sure the COVID-19 is covered by the policy.

Will health insurance in the United States cover pre-trip tests?

In general, pre-trip testing will be a personal expense. “Travel insurance does not cover pre-trip COVID testing or any other necessary testing before your trip, nor will it offer vaccine coverage,” Kimmel tells InsureMyTrip.

What else will my travel insurance policy provide if I take out COVID-19?

Some travel insurance companies will transport you for more specialized medical treatment.

“At Seven Corners, we assist in evacuations and repatriations in a normal way for typical illnesses and injuries abroad,” Murchland explains. “Even with the added challenge of helping someone who has contracted COVID away from home, we are prepared to help make the return safe and ensure that proper care is provided to the sick or injured traveler.”

In addition, your travel insurance company has a direct line of travel assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, which can help you with medical referrals, coordinate medical care and organize accommodation in case you have to be quarantined due to COVID-19. Some companies even offer language translation services if you have barriers to your health care.

How can I better protect myself when I travel abroad?

As you plan expensive international travel, you are likely to have in mind the concern for COVID and the Delta variant and its impact on your travel. Kimmel of InsureMyTrip claims that the best way to protect yourself while traveling abroad is to purchase a full travel insurance policy with the added benefit of cancellation for any reason (CFAR), which is an optional upgrade from your policy that allows you to cancel for reasons beyond your standard travel cancellation policy. This add-on will increase your travel insurance policy by about 50 percent, but gives you maximum flexibility to cancel it. If you meet the requirements, you can be reimbursed up to 75% of the cost of the trip.

However, this is a temporary advantage and not all trips are eligible for this supplement. There are some requirements that must be met, such as canceling the trip no later than 48 hours before the scheduled departure.

Most traditional travel insurance policies do not allow travelers to cancel due to fears of COVID-19, as if there is an increase in COVID cases at your destination. “The Cancel for Any Reason supplement is really the only way for a traveler to recover some of their prepaid, non-refundable travel costs if they decide not to travel due to an increase in cases,” says Kimmel.

Not all policies and operators offer CFAR coverage updates. InsureMyTrip has a tool that makes it easy to know if your policy and your trip are eligible for CFAR.

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