There is some confusion on the difference between health insurance and travel insurance. Some people think that these two terms are synonymous with each other. That's because both involve people going overseas. However, that is not the case.
Here is a short explanation of the major differences between health insurance and travel insurance. This should help you understand what type of policy you'll need to get in the future.
What are the Key Differences
Travel insurance is targeted for holiday-makers to protect them from unforeseen circumstances while traveling. Travel insurance coverages includes lost luggage, delayed departure, trip cancellation, personal belongings, personal liability, travel documents, and emergency medical cover which is only a part of it.
However, there are strict limits on each part of the coverage. For instance, the Hospital Confinement Benefit is a cash benefit paid to you for each day you are hospitalized abroad to help towards additional expenses such as and phone calls, magazines etc. Be sure to check your policy as insurance may only cover you up to a maximum of $700 in total.
Travel insurance will not cover long-term medical coverage; you'll be expected to return to your home country and resume treatment. The standard protection that typical travel insurance companies give is emergency medical coverage for a specified amount of time, which will depend on the premium paid.
The coverage of your travel insurance policy comes to grinding halt once you are back in your home country.
What is Travel Insurance?
Travel insurance is ideal for travelers who either go on a short-term trip abroad or take several short trips within a year. It is often sold as a one-time policy with a one-time purchase price. The insured will only receive coverage for the duration of the trip.
Generally, travel insurance provides emergency assistance service if you have an accident or need immediate medical treatment while abroad. The coverage includes emergency medical repatriation, which includes the cost of a return flight to your own country.
It also provides emergency coverage while the insured is on-board a cruise ship, skiing on the slopes or trekking up a mountain. If the situation were critical, responders would dispatch a rescue helicopter.
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What is Health Insurance?
On the other hand, health insurance usually covers an individual’s medical and surgical expenses in their home country. It usually covers trips to the emergency room, in-patient care, prescription drugs, lab tests, and outpatient care.
So, basically, if your travel insurance covers you when you travel abroad, and you have an accident, you should contact the emergency medical assistance department of your travel insurer and let them coordinate your further actions. They may either direct you to a specific hospital for a treatment or arrange a repatriation back to your home country where your health insurance would cover your treatment.
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Remember that you should declare any pre-existing medical conditions you have when obtaining travel insurance. Usually, your health insurance covers some of them as standard. There is no requirement for additional premiums. You must undergo medical screening and fill out a special questionnaire if you’ve suffered from anything not listed among such conditions.
To put it simply, your travel insurance provider decides whether to cover your medical condition in case you have a medical emergency related to it abroad.
What About Travel Health Insurance?
There is also such a thing as international medical insurance, which is where the confusion lies. Also called expatriate health insurance, this is for individuals who will live or work abroad and relocate from their home country for an indefinite period of time.
International health insurance coverage includes emergency medical cover, regular medical check-ups, rehabilitation, and compassionate visit, maternity cover and new-born coverage. Unlike travel insurance, it also provides coverage for pre-existing conditions and chronic conditions.
It also provides the insured with a choice of doctor and treatment facility. This insurance is ideal for people who will be moving abroad for an indefinite period of time. International medical insurance usually charge the insured with monthly premiums.
There are some major difference between health insurance and travel insurance. Most excellent insurance providers usually give the same service to their customers no matter what type of policy they have. Depending on your needs and circumstances, both are equally important to have.
Whatever travel insurance you choose, stay safe and check the latest travel advice from the FCO.