Medical Insurance Coverage When Traveling Abroad

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Author: The Traveling Professor/Thursday, August 8, 2013/Categories: General Travel

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Insurance When Traveling Abroad

A few years ago, I was on a trip to Florida and I came down with appendicitis.   Luckily I was able to get back home to New York and be treated.  But if I were in Paris or Italy, would my medical bills have been covered by my health insurance?  Could I have gotten back to the U.S. for treatment?  What if my condition were more serious where I needed medical care that I would have wanted performed in the United States?

It’s my feeling that the contents of lost luggage can always be replaced, and I can always return to Europe again if my trip gets interrupted.    However, a value cannot be placed upon one’s health and well-being.  Therefore, should I become ill, it is most important to me to be able to get medical attention without worry on what the bill will be, and if necessary, I want to be medically evacuated to the United States should my condition warrant that.

I researched the coverage I have with my existing Citibank Platinum credit card.   After 5 phone calls, and about an hour on the phone, the short answer is, there isn’t much coverage if I purchase a trip with my credit card.    There is no medical insurance or evacuation coverage other than a referral service.  However, they will cover checked luggage up to $2,000 per bag with a cap of $10,000 per trip.

But when I purchased a round-trip airline ticket on American Airlines between New York and Italy, an offer for trip insurance was made:

Baggage Delay Coverage:  $500
Missed Connection Coverage:  $500
Emergency Medical (Evacuation) Coverage: $60,000
Emergency Medical and Dental:  $20,000
Travel/Trip Delay Coverage:  $500
Trip Interruption Protection $814.90 (the cost of the airline ticket)

The cost for this coverage:  $52.97

What I am primarily concerned with is, what happens if I become ill overseas?  Is it worth $52.97 for me to have the peace of mind that I will have enough medical coverage until I get back to the U.S.?  Also, if I need to be medically evacuated back to the U.S. (which would cost about $40,000 to $60,000 from Europe) am I covered?   My personal answer is “yes”.   The other protections provided by the policies are just icing on the cake, as far as I am concerned. 

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