6 reasons travel medical insurance makes senses for international travelers

Estimates suggest 17 percent of Americans have had travel plans affected by medical conditions or other events. And, four out of five of these travelers didn't have travel insurance. Rather than relying on the comfort of thinking "it won't happen to me," consider the reasons why travel medical insurance might make sense for your next international trip.

1) Your regular health insurance may not cover you in the way you expect.

When you travel overseas, your domestic health insurance may not cover what you think it does. In other countries, it's common for clinics and hospitals to make you pay at the time of service. And, the charges may be higher than you expect because doctors in other countries are outside your network.

In a worst-case scenario, you could end up maxing out your credit cards before you get home. Even if that doesn't happen, you'll have to save all of your receipts so you can get reimbursed—at out-of-network rates—when you get back.

A good travel medical insurance plan can help take care of clinic and hospital charges so you don't have to pay while you are still traveling.

2) You may not speak the local language.

Chances are you probably don't speak the language of every country you plan to visit. Ordering a cup of coffee in another language is one thing, but what about making a doctor's appointment or describing symptoms?

Look for a travel medical insurance plan that offers assistance in foreign languages. That way, specialists who speak the local language can help you find appropriate care.

3) What if you need to find a qualified doctor in another country?

If you or a loved one gets sick or injured while traveling, finding a qualified doctor can be tough. Chances are nothing will happen, but if you have a chronic condition, like asthma or diabetes, it's nice to know you can find qualified help if you need it. The same goes if you're traveling with children.

Travel medical insurance can connect you to immediate support, wherever you are in the world. Look for a plan that maintains a global network of pre-screened providers, hospitals, and clinics.

4) You may need an emergency medical evacuation.

If you can't be treated where you are, and it's medically necessary, certain travel medical insurance plans will evacuate you to the nearest facility capable of providing treatment. Some plans will cover the cost of getting your dependent children home in the event that you're expected to be in the hospital for more than three days. If it's medically necessary, your plan can also help get you home, too.

5) What if you need help when traveling alone?

If you get sick or injured while traveling alone, a travel medical insurance plan backs you up with the knowledge that you're not on your own. Plus, if you're expected to be hospitalized for more than a few days, some plans cover the cost of bringing a loved one to your side, so you have both care and comfort as you recuperate.

6) Something else may go wrong.

When you're in a foreign country exploring new places, unexpected things can happen. You could lose your eyeglasses or your last pair of contacts. Or you could have a dental emergency. A comprehensive travel medical insurance plan can help you with all of this and more.

Reasons to consider a SafeTrip Travel Protection plan.

SafeTrip Travel Protection from UnitedHealthcare Global is one good option to take a look at. In addition to accident and sickness medical expense coverage up to $1 million, the plan offers 24/7 connection to an Emergency Response Center that can help you in more than 100 languages, as well as a host of travel assistance services.

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