First Time Buyer?

We would like you to spare few minutes to understand below key concepts and also, how visitors insurance is different from regular health insurance. This should help in choosing the right plan and also, keeps you prepared in the unfortunate event of injury/illness once insurance is purchased.

Key Concepts

Plan Type

Visitor insurance plans are two types.

Limited (Fixed or Scheduled Benefits) Plan:
  • Provides only fixed and predefined amount for each covered service
  • Insurance company will only pay up to "policy maximum" in all circumstances
  • Less benefits(covered services)
  • Lower policy maximums and lower deductibles offered
  • Most of them don't have PPO Network. You can visit any doctor. There are no negotiated rates and you may need to negotiate rates with provider.
  • Lower premium
Comprehensive Plan:
  • No limits on covered services in general. Usual, reasonable and customary (URC) charges for covered services are paid.
  • Insurance company will only pay up to "policy maximum" in all circumstances
  • More benefits(covered services)
  • Wide range of policy maximums and deductibles offered
  • Most of them have PPO Network. You can visit any doctor but visiting doctor who is in-network will get negotiated rates and lower co-insurance.
  • Higher Premium

It is easy to understand them when plan benefits table of Inbound USA (Limited Plan) and Atlas America (Comprehensive Plan) are compared. For general differences, see both plans side-by-side.

Pre-existing Conditions

Pre-existing Condition: It is any medical condition, sickness, injury, illness, disease, mental illness or mental nervous disorder, regardless of the cause including any congenital, chronic, subsequent, or recurring complications or consequences related thereto or resulting therefrom that with reasonable medical certainty existed at the time of application or within look back period duration (varies from plan to plan) immediately prior to the insured person’s Effective Date under the policy, whether or not previously manifested, symptomatic, known, diagnosed, treated or disclosed.

Pre-existing look back period: It is the duration prior to the plan effective date during if a medical condition existed is considered as pre-existing condition. Pre-existing look back period varies from plan to plan

No visitors insurance plan covers pre-existing conditions without any limitation clause. Most of them only cover acute onset of pre-existing conditions. Remaining plans do not cover pre-existing conditions at all.

Acute Onset of a Pre-existing Condition(s): It is sudden and unexpected outbreak or recurrence of a Pre-existing Condition(s) which occurs spontaneously and without advance warning either in the form of physician recommendations or symptoms and is of short duration, is rapidly progressive, and requires urgent care. The Acute Onset of a Pre-existing Condition(s) must occur after the effective date of the policy. Treatment must be obtained within 24 hours of the sudden and unexpected outbreak or recurrence. A Pre-existing Condition that is a chronic or congenital condition or that gradually becomes worse over time will not be considered Acute Onset. This benefit does not include coverage for known, scheduled, required, or expected medical care, drugs or treatments existent or necessary prior to the Effective Date of coverage.

Pre-existing Policy Max: It is the policy maximum for covered pre-existing conditions. For most plans, this amount is less than policy maximum. For Limited plans, this is mostly same as policy maximum.

We recommend insured to get general health checkup done in their home country just before visiting United States. This will help in determining current health state and also this report can be used as evidence in the event insurance company perceives a new illness as pre-existing condition. It makes even more sense if checkup cost is lot cheaper in home country.

Insurance rates (premiums) same everywhere

Insurance premiums will be same for each and every plan as they are regulated by law. So, you don't need to do price shopping once you have finalized on a plan. To find and buy right plan for your needs, make sure to visit a website with all plans listed with best comparison and excellent customer service in the industry (hint: you are looking at it ).

Buying separately has more benefits than together as a family

Contrary to common belief, visitors insurance doesn't get cheaper if purchased together as a family.

Benefits for purchasing separately:
  • Each person's health condition and age group are different purchasing separately allows best suitable insurance for that person.
  • Most plans can be canceled and refunded if no claim is made. When purchased separately, a person's plan can be canceled and refunded even though claim is made on spouse's plan.
Considerations for purchasing together:
  • Atlas Travel America and Atlas Travel International plans give free insurance for one dependent child under 10 years with one adult.
  • Purchasing together may save $5 renewal fee (when renewed) for most plans.
We recommend purchasing separately unless above exceptions apply to you.
What coverage duration to choose?

We recommend to purchase for shorter duration and renew in short durations as stay is extended. Why?

  • Please note that purchasing for longer duration at once doesn't reduce 'premium per day'.
  • This approach helps pay less premium in the event of shortened trip and plan is not cancelable. No visitors insurance plan is cancelable once claim is made on the policy. In unfortunate event of injury/illness and claim is made against policy, shortening trip doesn't enable you for unused period refund.
  • Policy expiration email is sent well in advance, so you will have plenty of time to renew your policy.
  • The only downside is to pay renewal fee ($5 for most plans) on every renewal.
Insurance rates (premiums) will be same irrespective of current health condition

Insurance premiums do not vary based on insured current health condition. At the same time, please take current health condition in to account while choosing appropriate plan, deductible and policy maximum. Also, note that current health condition will have impact on pre-existing conditions.

All Plans

We list all genuine plans even if we are insurance agent for those plans or not. Our goal is to be "one-stop shop" for visitors insurance. Notify us if we are missing a genuine plan, we will add it.

Pre Certification

Key differences with U.S. domestic health insurance

Pre-Existing Conditions

Unlike Affordable care act (Obamacare) insurance, pre-existing conditions are not covered by default. Most plans cover provide basic coverage for acute onset of pre-existing conditions. See above.

Insurance company will only pay up to "policy maximum" in all circumstances.

Main difference is all visitor insurances have policy maximum. On top of that, Limited Plans have fixed or pre-defined rates for each covered expenses. In this respect, visitors insurance is like car insurance.

Buying separately has more benefits than together as a family

Unlike regular health insurance, visitors insurance has more benefits when purchased separately. See above.

Out of Pocket Maximum

Given that there is "policy maximum", there is no concept of "out of pocket maximum" for visitor insurance plans. Any expenses beyond "policy maximum" will also need to be part of "out of pocket expenses". So, make sure policy maximum you choose is high enough to cover required benefit expenses.

Plan Types

There are no HMO, POS, EPO or PPO plan types. Most visitors insurance plans are like PPO plans as they don't have PCP (primary care physician) and they pay for out of network providers. The main differences are they have policy maximum and provide basic coverage for Acute onset of pre-existing conditions as mentioned above.