What type of health insurance do I need while traveling?

MN Health Staff Writer | July 16, 2019

The type of health insurance plan you will need while traveling can be affected by a few different factors - How long will you be gone? Will you be traveling internationally or domestically? Does your plan offer a national network?


If you are planning on traveling within the US for an extended period of time (3 weeks or longer) you may want to purchase a travel medical insurance plan. These plans will offer you health insurance coverage for a set period of time while you are traveling in the destination you are traveling to. There are many different types of travel insurance you can look at purchasing including major medical, evacuation coverage, and vacation plans that will help cover things like cancelled trips, medical emergencies, lost baggage, and other things. Major Medical travel insurance plans are used cover you and your family while out of your health insurance plan network. All plans under the affordable care act will cover emergencies out of network but if you were going to be gone for an extended period of time you may want access to coverage for things that wouldn't be considered an emergency, like if you were to roll your ankle really badly or get a really nasty stomach bug. Evacuation coverage is the other type of travel insurance you may want to purchase. Evacuation plans focus on emergency evacuations, and are often sold on an annual basis as a membership. With an evacuation plan, the company arranges transport, and you won’t lose your savings to a costly emergency medical evacuation.


If you are going to be traveling internationally it is highly recommended you purchase, at the very least, and evacuation health insurance plan to get you back to the United State if you needed an emergency evacuation. Most plans under the Affordable Care Act do not provide health coverage for things outside of the US, even emergencies, so you also may want to purchase a travel health insurance plan so if you or someone in your family gets hurt or sick you can take them to a doctor and have coverage.


If you are on an employer plan or a group plan you will probably have access to a national health insurance network, if this is the case you would only need to purchase a travel policy if you are traveling internationally as these plans generally do not coverage things outside of the United States, even emergencies. Check with your insurance company if you are not sure if your plan has a national network or if it offers any coverage for international health care.


Accident supplements will typically reimburse a policyholder a flat dollar amount, which can be used to pay out-of-network charges or balance bills in the event of a medical claim that arises from an accident or injury.


Critical illness plans also reimburse the policyholder a flat dollar amount, although the plan will only pay if the patient experiences a specific covered illness. These plans typically include coverage for things like heart attacks and strokes, so they can be useful to sudden emergencies that can happen while one is traveling and which require emergency care (keeping in mind that while your health plan will cover the emergency care, you can still be billed by the out-of-network medical providers for any amounts above the “reasonable” amount that your insurer pays them).

Category: Common Questions