There have been many articles written with regard to travel medical insurance. We have all heard of the story of a friend or relative who was declined and had to pay an outrageous bill to a medical institution in another country. As the author, I can only recommend you to take your time and make sure that you answer each question carefully and accurately. The only real way to do this is to consult your medical practitioner when in doubt of an answer to a question on an application for travel medical insurance.
It is important to make sure that all questions are answered to the best of your ability. As a broker, I have experienced situations where clients have been declined due to failure, on their part, to fully declare their health status at time of application. Though, these situations are rare, from my experience, they do occur. The intent of this article is to prevent this from happening to you. I am very aware that we all work hard for our money and it is best to keep it in your own pocket when possible, but failing to answer questions accurately on a medical application is not the right way or place to save money. Here are a few ideas that can help you.
Make sure that you have answered the qualifying questions properly. Take your time and read every qualifying question carefully. Have you ever is often a lead in question. If it asks have you ever, it means in your lifetime, have you ever. This means that if you had a health concern in your past especially involving, your heart, your lungs, your vascular system, your kidneys or a bout with a cancer scare. Though the situation may be well in the past, it needs to be answered yes, if the questions leads in with have you ever. The second part of this qualifying question usually has some wording around being prescribed medication. If you combine the have you ever, with being prescribed medication, then it means you need to answer yes. Many clients don’t know that baby aspirin daily as recommended by a physician means that they are on a prescribed medication. This information would come out, if a claim were made and the doctor notes indicate that it was recommended that the client take a baby aspirin (.81 mg) daily as a preventive measure. Travel medical insurance companies have you sign permission to check with the medical insurance board to make sure that all questions have been answered accurately. This is where refusal to pay happens. The client fails to mention a medical situation that happened and they forgot to declare or didn’t think it important enough to declare that it was left off their application. many times the omission is accidental, but it doesn’t matter. If it was supposed to on the application and it wasn’t there, then that opens the door for the company to refuse payment because you have misrepresented yourself on the application. It really doesn’t matter if it was intentional or accidental, the result can always be refusal to pay. Another area of consideration is when a client has been on the same dosage of medication for 2 years or more. This is a group which is considered stable in most insurance worlds, but it is still a medication. Trouble areas that need a lot of scrutiny are blood thinners and blood pressure medication (hypertension). These areas require particular attention because blood thinning medication and hypertension is also changed depending on the client’s diet and activities. Most companies require a certain time which is usually 180 days to 365 days of stability for these medications, but blood thinners are becoming the exception the rule. However, this does not mean that you can answer without consulting your medical practitioner on these medications and all medications for that matter.
As stated above the general areas of most concern are heart, breathing, circulation system, major organs and cancer. Digestive tract disorders and any other medical concerns come after the basic original qualifying questions. make sure attention is paid to every question to ensure proper coverage for trips.
The intent of this article is not intended to scare or stop anyone from pursuing a trip, but it is intended to protect you and make sure that you are covered properly before departure. It is important to answer accurately at the time of application. It is also important to tell the insurance company if there is a change in health before departure. Dosage changes are particularly important in this situation. My advice, to my clients, has always been, when talking with your practitioner and they want to change a medication before leaving for a trip, I tell clients to ask the practitioner is it is absolutely necessary for health reasons or can they wait until they return. Please note that an increase or decrease in dosage of a medication can mean a difference with respect to the stability clause. If there is a change in stability, you will likely not be covered for the associated illness. Thus I recommend as suggested in the preceding long sentence.
In summary, it is all well and good to travel, but make sure that you take your time on the travel medical application. I recommend you to consult a broker for two reasons. They will help you complete the application accurately with the information you give and they will usually shop for best price. When in doubt, it is okay to talk to your medical practitioner and make sure that you are filling the application out properly with the latest medical information. Often times my clients have forgotten about an earlier incident or didn’t fully understand that medical terminology, therefore unintentionally answer the question wrongly. These types of mistakes are preventable and that is the intent of this article. it is to help you and make sure you are covered if you need the insurance. I would never recommend that you travel without it.
I wish everyone a safe and healthy trip. make sure that if you need medical attention, that you have the proper insurance and that you have completed the application properly. This way, you will be covered when and if you need to visit a medical centre when travelling out of country.
It is important to consult with an insurance broker to make sure you are answering /completing the application correctly. Brokers will usually find you the best price for your situation. Make sure that you consult with your medical practitioner to be sure you are answering the qualifying questions and subsequent questions properly. Failure to answer questions accurately can result in an appropriate refusal to pay the claim by the insuring company.