I am looking for temporary medical insurance for my parents who will be visiting from abroad for 2-3 months this spring. For previous visits they used cheap travel insurance from their home country, but last time we had a very unpleasant experience with an emergency room visit, which the insurance company declined to cover under a pre-existing condition justification. While this was not true, it would have been such a hassle to fight them from abroad that we just gave up. That is why now I would rather get insurance from here, where at least I would have more options if a dispute is needed.
I have so far identified a few options. By the way, a lot of leads led to the same insurance agent – Insubuy.com – they seem to specialize in this area and have surprisingly plentiful information on their site.
There are fixed coverage options and comprehensive coverage options. None of them cover pre-existing conditions (so I don’t really think it matters if the person insured is generally healthy or not). Fixed are cheaper, but the coverage seems much smaller than the real cost. For the moment I am leaning towards the comprehensive. Below are 2 examples of each – both quoted for a 70-79 year old person, with $50,000 coverage limit.
Example of fixed: Visitors Care
Cost would be ~$3 per day with $100 deductible
Coverage: $1400 per hospital day, $3300 per surgery, $55 per physician visit, $330 emergency room visit
Example of comprehensive: Diplomat America
Cost would be $6 per day ($1000 deductible), $6.75 ($500 deductible), ~$8 ($100 deductible)
Coverage: 80% of first $5000 after deductible, 100% afterwards up to selected coverage limit
1. Do any of you have experience with purchasing and using such insurance – any recommendations on type or even specific plan? Did you purchase it directly or through an agent?
2. If you have had occasion to file a claim, do you know how they determine whether a condition was pre-existing or not?
3. For the fixed coverage insurance do you have a sense whether the coverage in the example is reasonable or whether it significantly underestimates real cost? We are on the East Coast, close to New York. Since my own insurance is pretty good, I’ve rarely had occasion to understand the actual costs covered, and anyway, they were the reduced rates negotiated with our insurance. But the emergency room visit for my father a couple of years ago – for a kidney stone with X-ray, CT scan and follow up visit came to ~$2000 total.