Choosing travel medical insurance with the best network of healthcare providers is a highly important step that travellers need to take before they begin their trip. Having the right medical insurance provider ensures that you’ll have access to high quality treatment options that will be paid for after the deductible by the insurer.
If you have already decided to purchase a visitors insurance plan, a question that you might ask is – “Which doctor/medical facility can I visit with this policy?” The answer lies in the choice of plan (limited coverage or comprehensive coverage) and its area of coverage.
Let me explain the difference in the doctors’ services and medical facilities under the different types of visitors insurance plans.
Comprehensive Coverage Plan
The websites of comprehensive travel plans boast a Preferred Provider Organization or PPO network, which is essentially medical service providers, like doctors and hospitals, who are under contract to provide healthcare for policyholders requiring medical treatment. The PPO network allows the policyholder to visit any in-network physician or healthcare facility of their choice, without the need of first referring to a primary care physician.
Most such insurance companies are US based. Hence, in comparison with insurers from any other countries, they have an exhaustively number of healthcare providers in their PPO network. However, this doesn’t mean that such plans do not have tie-ups with doctors in other countries too.
Limited Coverage Plan
Limited coverage plans do not have PPO networks. Hence, the traveller has the liberty to choose any medical service provider, doctor or hospital across the country. When it comes to paying the bill, there are usually two options. The first is to get the insurance company billed directly, while the second, is to pay upfront and get the amount reimbursed by the insurance company later. However, the plan offering the latter options are few.
This is a major reason why comprehensive plans are so desirable; since the billing is made directly to the insurance company and that too at a preferred negotiated rate. Comprehensive plans also allow you to visit a doctor outside the PPO network. However, in this case, the percentage the insurance company will pay will be lower, depending upon the plan.
How to Get Emergency Medical Treatment?
In case you suffer an unexpected illness or meet with an accident that needs you to seek treatment either as an outpatient or through hospital admission, the immediate course of action is to call the emergency assistance team of the insurance provider. This team will direct you to the nearest and most suitable medical facility. If your situation is severe, this team will also manage your emergency transportation, admission to the hospital and interact with the doctor regarding your condition and treatment required.
Even if you have managed to get to the medical facility on your own and paid the bills already, you’ll have to let the emergency assistance team know about it as soon as possible to make successful claims.
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