Money Management Newsletter: Insurance
Indeed, the range of medical treatment around the world is so broad and varied, home-based insurance companies will provide booklets outlining what they will, and will not cover. Therefore, an equally important step at the time of purchase is for the traveller to become as familiar as possible with the basic guidelines of the policy before an emergency occurs. Decisions on the reimbursement of expenses are not likely to be the first thing on your mind in an urgent situation.
So how do we ensure financial coverage during a medical emergency? Here are a few guidelines.
As soon as possible, call the emergency service centre telephone number provided with your policy. The service centre's role is to manage your medical care and make the claim process fast and efficient. The centre provides claim administrators, on site doctors, nurses and other medical professionals to arrange care and monitor treatment. To ensure coverage, if possible, don't proceed with any medical treatment without full authorization.
You can assist the claims process more efficiently, if you:
Make your health policy work for you
When buying your insurance, it is important to take all the time needed to fully understand the coverage as well as the limitations of the policy. Travel insurance specialists counsel - Be sure to determine your own needs first, then read the policy thoroughly to be sure those needs are covered.
It is not enough to simply buy travel health insurance; travellers must also know how the policy works and how to use it. It is important for example, to compare the policies offered by different companies, not just for price, but also for the amount of coverage, pre-existing conditions, deductibles, limitations and exclusions. Your health, age, the medication you take, the length of your trip and the destination are all factors that affect the price of a policy and the types of medical costs your insurer will cover. In some cases you may have to find an insurer willing to write a policy tailored to your circumstances.
Don't forget, you may already have sufficient coverage from your credit card company or employee benefits plan. Don't buy more insurance if you are covered.
Reimbursement depends on following the rules
As were all aware, travelling, whether for business or pleasure, involves risk. A personal emergency may necessitate an early return, or you may need hospital treatment or air evacuation due to a medical problem. Travellers should be aware that the most government health plans are rarely enough when it comes to medical treatment outside the country, so without supplementary insurance during an emergency, you could be exposed to considerable financial obligations.
Always pay special attention to the definitions, pre-existing condition clauses, deductibles, as well as the limitations and exclusions sections of the policies. If your unsure, ask for clear explanations of each and once you are satisfied, make your insurance purchase. But even then, there is a bit more work for you to do as follows:
Read the policy: Before leaving on your trip, read and become familiar with your policy and the coverage. It is your responsibility to know what you have purchased.
Take it with you: Include the policy with your travel documents. Keep both the emergency contact phone number available, as well as the number for your insurance company. Compile and include a list of current medications.
Get authorization (if possible): If a medical problem arises, the toll-free phone number provided will connect you to an emergency service centre. Be ready to supply all the facts and information and ask for clarification if you do not fully understand. Again, service centres manage and monitor your treatment and make the medical referrals. Before you go ahead with treatment however, be sure the service centre has obtained authorization from your home-based insurance company. If not, you may be personally obligated for medical services not approved.
Follow the payment process: Under some policies, you pay the hospital and are reimbursed later by the insurance company. Other policies provide payment directly to the medical facility or practitioner. The policy will tell you which procedure to follow.
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, Fiscal Agents Money Management Newsletter