Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of becoming the local “international medical expert.” Primarily, this is because I write a handful of these plans each year, whereas most agents don’t get much call for it, or don’t have the inclination to learn about it.
International medical is a burgeoning industry: as we become more and more a global economy, business doesn’t “stop at the shore.” Many executives travel overseas, a lot of seniors like to take those Italian cruises, and there are folks who engage in humanitarian efforts.
Once such gentleman – my client, in this case -- is headed over to Tanzania later this month. He’s part of a medical supply effort undertaken by the Rotary Club. They’re delivering over 400,000 doses of medication, donated by one of those evil, greedy, profit-driven pharmaceutical companies, obviously in direct violation of said company’s pact with Satan. My client and his daughter are accompanying the life-saving medications as distribution auditors.
He is covered by Medicare, which does generally stop “at the shore.” He’s concerned that, if he’s seriously ill or injured, or has need of urgent medical care, that such care will be more readily available if he can pay for it. Which is where the insurance comes in. Most insurance plans sold today don’t cover much, if any, expense incurred outside the US. Of course, some do, so it’s important that folks check with their carrier before checking their luggage.
In this case, the plan covers both injury and illness, and provides for emergency medical evacuation back to the states. It also covers emergency reunion, if the attending physician feels it would be helpful to have a family member present.
The plan itself is pretty simple: it’s built on a traditional major medical plan chassis: there’s a deductible, and some co-insurance, and then coverage at 100% to the stated maximum. That maximum, BTW, is perhaps the most interesting part of the plan: when you purchase such a plan, you are given a choice about what the upper limit for claims will be. In this case, the choices range from $50,000 up to a cool $1 million. Of course, the premiums reflect these amounts.
Of course, no discussion of any kind of medical insurance would be complete without considering pre-existing conditions. In this case, they’re defined as any injury or illness “which was contracted or which manifested itself, or for which treatment or medication was prescribed 3 years prior to the effective date.” Pretty standard stuff, but important to keep in mind.
I can’t wait to see the slides from the trip!