Whether you are an American working in Europe or a European working in America, getting sick or injured in a foreign country is frightening and could devastate you financially (see TNYON July/August 1997, “The Health Issue”). It is clearly not the time to discover that the health insurance you rely on at home will not cover you abroad.
Before you leave home, make sure you have something in writing from your own health insurance company about your foreign coverage. If you find you are not covered, below are a few health insurance alternatives for singers on both sides of the ocean.
Travel Insurance Services
For Americans, TIS offers a product called Intermedical. Coverage is available They recommend that you apply at least 21 days before departure to assure receipt of the Certificate of Insurance before the departure date. Intermedical consists of two plans with different benefit levels and covers families. These plans offer the Worldwide Emergency Assistance Service provided by American International Assistance Services (AIAS) to help locate adequate medical care in a foreign country or to arrange emergency medical evacuations. Travel Insurance Services notes that over 70% of U.S. medical policies, HMO’s and PPO’s do not pay for medical evacuations and that the cost of evacuation can easily reach $25,000 or more. Emergency medical evacuation benefits will be paid even if caused by pre-existing conditions.
Visit USA-HealthCare is the corresponding program for international visitors to the United States. Visitors with immigrant (green card) status also are eligible. The program can also cover the insured’s spouse and children under age 19. Two plans, offering different levels of benefits and premiums, are available. Benefits include coverage against medical expense, emergency medical evaluation, accidental death and dismemberment, repatriation of remains, and emergency travelers’ assistance. Applications will be accepted up to 180 days after arrival in the United States. The plans include coverage in Canada, Mexico and the Bahamas/Caribbean area if travel to these places is incidental (less than 14 days) to your trip to the United States.
Travel Insurance Services also offers Worldwide Group Protector for groups of 3-50 traveling to or from the U.S. for up to six months, Employee Travel Protection Plan for companies with 3-100 traveling employees, and special group plans tailored to the needs of large groups, corporate employees, youth exchange programs, etc.
Contact: Kathy Barlow, Travel Insurance Services, 2930 Camino Diablo, Suite 200 P.O. Box 299, Walnut Creek, California 94596 USA, Phone: 510-932-1387; Fax: 510-932-0442
International Medical Group (IMG)
Global Medical Insurance is designed to cover U.S. individuals requiring special international coverage and non-U.S. citizens who desire private medical coverage or are not eligible for coverage by a U.S. insurance plan. However, coverage is not available to persons residing in California, Florida or New York at time of application. Benefits include worldwide coverage (including travel), choice of hospital or doctor worldwide (including the U.S.), coverage for pre-existing conditions even if treated during waiting period, maternity coverage, transplant coverage, wellness benefits, emergency evacuation, lifetime eligibility, term-life and daily indemnity coverage, coverage for spouse and dependent children, benefits of IMG’s Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), and 24 hours a day, seven days a week availability with multi-lingual capabilities.
IMG also offers several other products under their Patriot Travel Medical Insurance program.
Patriot International provides travel medical insurance for U.S. citizens traveling abroad. Patriot America is travel medical insurance for non-U.S. citizens traveling outside their country of citizenship. Expatriot Plus provides long-term medical coverage for all international travelers. For groups of 11 or more, Patriot International Group Coverage provides group travel medical insurance for U.S. citizens traveling abroad. Patriot America Group Coverage provides a similar service for groups of non-U.S. citizens traveling outside their country of citizenship. The Patriot programs are not available to individuals who are located in California, New York or Florida at time of application except when the effective date of the insurance coincides with the individual’s departure date.
These programs provide medical coverage (subject to coinsurance, deductible and policy limits), emergency evacuation and repatriation, emergency reunion with a family member (when recommended by physician) and accidental death and dismemberment coverage.
Contact: Lisa A. Ireland, Account Representative, International Medical Group, Inc., 135 North Pennsylvania, Suite 1700, Indianapolis, Indiana 46204, 800-628-4664 or (317) 636-4721; Fax: (317) 687-9272; Internet: http://www.imglobal.com
Seabury and Smith – Gateway Plan Administrator: 1255 23 St NW, Washington, D.C. 20037, 1-800-282-4495
Credit Card “Insurance”: Master Card Global Service can arrange an emergency cash advance and medical referral. The Service is available 24 hours a day 365 days a year toll-free, with representatives who will speak your language. Their web site at http://www.mastercard.com, lists Global Service telephone numbers for the country you are visiting. Foreign visitors to the U.S should also bring their Visa cards, as the company notes that many U.S. health providers now accept this card (www.visa.com). The caveat with credit cards is that your expenses could exceed your credit limits and that you are paying very high interest rates. However, they are helpful to cover deductibles, co-payments, or expenses that are excluded from insurance coverage.
TNYON does not endorse any of the companies listed and encourages you to read contracts carefully.