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.
Visitor insurance plans are two types.Limited (Fixed or Scheduled Benefits) Plan:
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 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 ).
Contrary to common belief, visitors insurance doesn't get cheaper if purchased together as a family.Benefits for purchasing separately:
We recommend to purchase for shorter duration and renew in short durations as stay is extended. Why?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Unlike regular health insurance, visitors insurance has more benefits when purchased separately. See above.
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.
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.