International medical coverage is such an important issue for those who travel abroad, and since becoming brand ambassadors for Individual Health and GeoBlue, we have written a whopping 22 articles on the many different reasons why comprehensive health coverage is something you never want to find yourself stuck overseas without. Travel without health insurance.
Because you don’t have to be on an adventurous trip for something to go terribly wrong, and you could be in the very best of health, however the fact is that environmental factors are beyond your control. All it takes is one major health incident to bankrupt you for life, or worse, see you refused emergency medical care because you don’t have the insurance and can’t afford to pay. Traveling without health insurance in this instance could very well cost you your life. Can I get away with traveling without health insurance?
So why do so many travelers still travel without it? You wouldn’t go away without your tickets or your passport, so why risk going away without a proper health insurance plan? Do people travel without insurance?
I’ve been phrasing that as a rhetorical question across my 22 posts to date, however hadn’t stopped to actually address why. Why do travelers risk everything to travel without insurance which could ultimately save their life?
The following are a list of reasons why travelers head overseas without health insurance, and if you happen to be one of them, hopefully we can make you realize the critical importance of changing your mind.
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You Never Get Sick
Many people choose to forgo health insurance on the grounds that they are proactive about their health and prioritize taking proper care of their body. However travelers are often under the misconception that health insurance is for the small stuff; a cold, the flu, or a nasty bruise. But it actually exists for emergency situations and life threatening events beyond your control. People who travel without travel insurance.
International health insurance is there to cover you in the event that you need an emergency operation, let’s say your appendix decided to burst. Or if you need an emergency evacuation so that you can afford a helicopter transfer. It’s there to protect you in case of a disaster. And if you come down with something serious which doesn’t discriminate between someone with healthy or unhealthy lifestyle, you’re going to need to rely on that insurance.
It’s fantastic that you’ve never been sick before, and that you take extremely good care of your health, however we need insurance for life-threatening conditions which can arise no matter how health conscience you are. It’s for covering you in those instances which are out of your control, because there are always environmental factors beyond what you can take responsibility for.
You Had Insurance, Didn’t Use It, So Didn’t Renew It
Maybe you think that you may as well save a few dollars on your next trip because it’s not really something you’ve ended up needing in the past. I honestly wouldn’t blame you. I thought that too.
But thinking that you wont renew your health insurance because you haven’t needed to use it in the past is a dangerous thing, especially when the cost of international health insurance really isn’t that much. No one wants to pay for something they’ll rarely use, if at all, but if you can afford to travel, you can afford health coverage. Not going to renew my travel health insurance.
Sure the risk is small, but that is exactly why insurance exists – to take care of those small risk situations, which you can’t afford to happen. And they do happen. Hundreds of thousands of tourists find themselves in the same position every year; purposely avoiding the hospital despite being in dire need of medical care, simply because they don’t have the budget to foot the hospital bill. Whats the chance I get sick overseas without health insurance?
So even if you’ve never needed to rely on your health insurance overseas before, there’s no way of knowing that you’ll never need it at all. One major health incident could bankrupt you for life.
You Already Have Health Insurance at Home
Too many people are traveling and living abroad with the misunderstanding that their domestic health cover is going to take care of them in the event of a tragedy or medical emergency. But your regular health insurance won’t cover you while abroad.
So if you trip on a cobblestone street and break your nose, somehow trigger an asthma attack and can’t breathe, get hit by a Tuk Tuk in Asia, or even slip and break your back while on an Amazon cruise, not having medical insurance which specifically covers international travel, for lack of a better phrase, means you’re screwed. Dont have health insurance overseas.
Western Medicine Isn’t Your Thing
It’s a decent point that western medicine is not always the best way to treat any and every illness, and a lot of society has become far too reliant on using the emergency room as their “to go”. However health insurance is there to cover you in serious and life threatening situations, and often western medicine is going to be your only resort.
Your preference may be to use natural remedies as a cure, and that’s fantastic for general sicknesses and minor accidents which occur in day to day life, though natural remedies and holistic medicine in life-threatening situations won’t help. What happens if I dont have travel health insurance?
Health Care is Cheaper Overseas
Medical tourism can be very cheap, and if you’re traveling to a country where the healthcare is close to free, by all means research how much the out of pocket costs would be. However health insurance which covers international travel is also very cheap, and comes with more benefits and perks than you would receive from walking into a clinic off the street.
For instance, when you’re in a foreign land and an emergency happens do you speak the local language? Health insurance in many cases may cover a translator for you. Do you know which medical facilities are qualified to treat your needs? A good health insurance plan will direct you to the best doctors regardless of the country you’re in. For instance insurance with GeoBlue – they work with an elite network of doctors in over 180 countries and their mobile app tells you which clinic is closest to you.
When considering medical tourism instead of insurance, bear in mind that hospital bills, even in developing countries can be outrageous and put you into serious debt. Five days in South Africa for one traveler for a broken arm and a shared ward reached close to $10,000.
Also consider the standards of healthcare in the country of your destination, as these could be totally different to what you are used to at home.
You Only Worry About Things When They Happen
Travel insurance is one of those things that you never want to understand the value of but, if you have to, you don’t want to regret having brushed off its importance. And sure, no-one likes to worry about the things which haven’t happened yet. Though something as simple as taking out an insurance plan to cover your health is such a small thing to do to prevent a great deal of financial burden and emotional stress should something actually happen to you. How many people travel without health insurance?
This approach might be working for you now, and you may think that you’ll consider something else once it stops working for you. But if you don’t have health insurance when you need it, then it’s far too late when this approach stops working for you.
It’s Your Choice and It’s Something Which Only Affects You
Believe it or not, you’re not the only one affected by your choice to travel without health insurance. It can affect both local governments and your immediate family too. Why do people travel without insurance?
Families have bankrupted themselves trying to get a loved one home on an evacuation and for follow-up medical care. Or found themselves in desperate situations trying to scrape together the funds to cover a life threatening situation abroad. You may not feel the need to travel with insurance and cover your health in case of an emergency event, however in doing do you could be sticking your family with upwards of $100,000 in debt.
Local governments too, have been starting to feel the increasing strain of having to cover the medical costs of tourists who travel without insurance. And in many cases, some destinations are now making health insurance a mandatory condition of entry into the country to specifically cut these costs.
For instance in many countries around the world, hospitals are required to treat all medical emergencies regardless of the patient’s ability to pay. People without insurance and don’t have the ability to pay accumulate soaring medical bills, and then the government gets stuck with the bill when they either file bankruptcy or just can’t pay.
You Have No Idea What to Look For & Fine Print is Confusing as Hell
If you’ve put in the time to research your destination and the cool and exciting things you’re going to do, you can take the time to research what to look for when buying international health insurance.
Sure, fine print can be incredibly confusing to have to read through, and you might not have any clue as to what you should include or where you should start your search. But we can make it super easy for you:
Insurance With GeoBlue
We go through Tim Jennings at Individual Health for insurance with #GeoBlue – an exceptional worldwide insurer with a network of elite doctors in over 180 countries and a hugely helpful mobile app for quick and easy access to quality care for anything from emergency needs, to filling a simple prescription, to translating your symptoms, to finding the right doctor at home or abroad.
Their policies offer the most complete set of benefits and services in the industry and essentially provide a worldwide, all-access pass to an exclusive level of care. GeoBlue doctors and hospitals bill them directly so you don’t have to even worry about filing a claim, and you don’t have to lay out any cash.
Though let’s say you’ve been knocked unconscious and rushed to a medical facility which is not part of the GeoBlue network. GeoBlue makes their best attempt to arrange direct payment no matter which medical provider you see. Most of the time they are successful and there is no cash outlay for you as the patient at all.
In the instance that you’re required to pay a rural provider outside of the GeoBlue network for health services, it’s easy to submit claims online via your phone or computer, and you’re reimbursed within days.
Contact Tim Jennings at firstname.lastname@example.org or click for a free quote.
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This post was completed in our capacity as Brand Ambassadors for Individual Health and GeoBlue. Photo credits: Foreign female doctor under subheading “healthcare is cheaper overseas” by DFID – UK Department for International Development. Gloved hand with medicine bottle by DVIDSHUB.