Victoria Zidwick a RoamRight Blog Author

Will Your Health Insurance Cover You Abroad?

Many travelers assume their domestic health insurance plan covers them when they travel overseas. However, that is not always true for many Americans.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that before traveling, you should contact your domestic health insurance provider for information regarding your coverage abroad, specifically about your coverage in the country or countries you plan to visit and if there are any exclusions – such as for pre-existing conditions or adventure activities.

By understanding more about your domestic health insurance plan, you ask the right questions of your health insurance provider and be prepared to find the right travel insurance plan to provide the necessary medical coverage for overseas travel.

Is medical care received overseas considered “out of network?”

This is an important question to ask your health insurance provider. In general, many standard medical insurance plans – including Medicare and Medicaid plans – do not cover care received outside of the United States. Travelers on these plans may want to consider travel medical insurance in order to have coverage abroad.

Additionally, several traditional health insurance plans may not cover care received outside of your home state, meaning even domestic travelers may need a travel medical insurance policy. This is why it is necessary to understand your benefits and limitations of your health insurance.

Will you have to pay upfront for medical care received abroad?

Each insurance plan is different, and the answer to this question depends on the details of your health insurance coverage. Ask your provider about this when you are planning your trip.

In most cases when emergency care is needed, travelers who have an Arch RoamRight travel insurance policy can contact Arch RoamRight’s designated assistance service provider to arrange payment upfront for treatment. This helps eliminate any out-of-pocket costs that may be charged in an emergency.

Does Medicare cover you while traveling abroad?

Generally, no: Medicare plans do not cover care received outside of the United States. There are rare cases where it will provide coverage. For more information, visit the travel page on

Will you have evacuation coverage to return home while traveling overseas?

This is a question you should ask your health insurance provider.

When traveling overseas – especially to remote areas with limited access to medical facilities – having evacuation coverage might be important. Generally speaking, this coverage can cover the costs associated with having and emergency and requiring transport to an adequate care facility that might be further away.

What should you do before your trip to ensure you have coverage?

Travelers who are unsure about coverage for overseas travel should contact their health insurance provider and ask the following questions:

  • Am I covered in the country or countries I am about to visit?
  • What types of situations am I covered for?
  • What are my benefit limits when I’m abroad?
  • Will you pay directly to a foreign hospital (or would I pay out-of-pocket and get reimbursed)?
  • In an emergency, can you help me find reputable hospitals in my location?

Should I buy travel medical insurance for my next vacation?

If your health insurance does not cover you abroad, it is best to purchase a travel medical insurance policy like the ones offered by Arch RoamRight. Even if you do have international coverage, you may want the assistance services, like the coordination of an emergency evacuation, that are available through Arch RoamRight.

Arch RoamRight offers several travel insurance coverage options that you can adjust to your travel style, destination, and extent of coverage.

Furthermore, some countries, such as Cuba, Ecuador, and many in Europe, may also require you to show proof of travel medical insurance coverage before being granted entry.

Does travel insurance provide coverage for pre-existing conditions?

Yes, your travel insurance plan can provide coverage for pre-existing conditions, but you may need to meet certain requirements in order to be eligible.

A Pre-Existing Conditions Exclusion waiver can result in additional coverage to the trip cancellation and trip interruption benefits when it comes to claims arising from pre-existing medical conditions. This could apply to medical conditions affecting the insured, their traveling companion (insured or uninsured), or either of their family members, as defined.

Under an Arch RoamRight plan, to be eligible for the Pre-Existing Conditions Exclusion waiver, you must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Purchase your travel insurance plan within 21 days of making your first trip payment;
  • Insure the entire non-refundable cost of your trip;
  • Must not be disabled from travel† at the time your premium is paid; and
  • This must be the first and only booking for this same time period and destination.

For definitions, please refer to the policy.

Is there coverage for participating in adventurous activities?

If you are considering doing activities such as skiing in a winter destination or SCUBA diving in a warmer locale, there are different types of travel insurance depending on your holiday plans.

With Arch RoamRight travel insurance plans, skiing and SCUBA diving (involving an underwater breathing apparatus or if PADI or NAUI certified, above 130 feet) are both covered activities under the base plans. However, more adventurous activities such as bungee jumping, skydiving, or SCUBA diving to depths beyond 130 feet require a Hazardous Sports Upgrade.

For a full list of activities that require additional Adventure Sports Coverage with Arch RoamRight, visit our list of adventure sports.

Related Posts

What To Do on an Emergency Visit to the Hospital Abroad
When traveling, you don’t expect to make an emergency hospital visit in a foreign country. However, if it does happen, it is good to be prepared and know what to do.

Should I Consider Travel Insurance If I Plan to Study Abroad
Studying abroad can be a life-changing experience for many young students. Many recommend that you consider travel insurance for studying abroad.

Note: Available plans and coverages may have changed since this blog was published.

About the Author

Victoria Zidwick

Victoria Zidwick, a RoamRight Blog Author RoamRight's Marketing Communications Specialist, Victoria Zidwick, has worked in the travel insurance industry for more than five years. She has traveled extensively throughout the United States and has a handful of international travel experiences.Victoria's travel experiences have changed in recent years, as her family grows and she is learning the ins and outs of traveling with children. Connect with Victoria on LinkedIn or follow her onTwitter or Google Plus.

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