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What Pre-Existing Medical Conditions are Covered by Travel Insurance?


Given the sky rocketing medical costs in the US, more and more travellers are investing in good travel insurance to prepare themselves against unexpected medical emergencies they may face during their travels.

According to a report published by Allied Market Research, Travel Insurance Market by Insurance Cover, Distribution Channel, Users, Geography – Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2014-2022, the travel insurance market is expected to generate $28,264 million by 2022, growing at a CAGR of 8.5% during 2016 – 2022.

There is nothing more relieving than to know that no matter what medical emergency you face in a foreign land, it will not turn into a financial crisis as well.

However, what if you are already have a disease that you might not be aware of? What if the symptoms of that disease show up suddenly, while you are enjoying your trip? The idea of knowing you have a disease isn’t as terrifying as realizing that you are not covered for it.

Travel Insurance Plans That Cover Pre-Existing Conditions

Before we proceed, I should tell you that any medical condition is called pre-existing if the person is aware of it, has undergone or is undergoing treatment for it. The person may be taking medication for it. Most travellers above the age of 60 suffer from some kind of pre-existing ailment, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney problems, asthma, allergies, or even something as serious as cancer.

So, I applied for a visit visa and brought them over to USA many times. One of them fell sick with flu and I had to go to a hospital nearby. I had to shell out $567 just for a Doctor visit. In India, that wouldn’t have cost perhaps Rs.250!

There also are people who are suffering from pre-existing conditions like hypertension and diabetes but have been stable for a very long time. They might be confused about whether to invest in travel insurance that offers coverage for pre-existing conditions.

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However, while travelling internationally, what if you need to be hospitalized due to the aggravation of an already existing condition? It will put quite a hole in your pocket.

How to Qualify

Unfortunately, there are no travel medical insurance plans that fully cover pre-existing conditions. Even insurance companies that provide coverage for pre-existing medical conditions do so only when they are sure that your condition is “stable,” taking certain factors into consideration, which may vary according to the policy provider.

Travel insurers offer coverage for emergency situations that arise due to pre-existing conditions that are life threatening till the patient gains relief from acute pain and achieves a stable condition.

Here are a few insurers who provide cover for pre-existing conditions:

1. Atlas America

Atlas America is a great travel insurance plan that provides coverage for acute onset of a pre-existing condition up to the policy maximum for visitors under the age of 70.

Atlas America Travel Insurance Plan Summary

Type of PlanComprehensive
Administered ByHCCMIS
UnderwriterLloyd's
Min. Coverage5 Days
Max. Coverage364 Days
Coverage AreasUSA, International
RenewableYes
RefundsYes
CancellationPossible
For Visa TypesB1/B2
Available forNon US Residents, US Visitors
ProviderFirst Health Network
Restricted StatesMaryland, Washington, New York
Acute On-Set of Pre-Existing ConditionsCovered

2. Safe Travels USA Comprehensive

Safe Travels USA Comprehensive is an excellent travel insurance plan for parents visiting USA. It covers sudden and acute onset of pre-existing conditions up to the selected policy maximum for policy holders up to the age of 70. If you are between the age range of 70 – 89, the benefit is reduced to $35,000.

It is the only comprehensive insurance plan that provides $35,000 in sudden and acute onset of pre-existing conditions coverage for anyone of the age 70 years to 89.

Safe Travels USA Comprehensive Plan Summary

Type of PlanComprehensive
Administered ByTrawick International
UnderwriterGBG Insurance Limited
Min. Coverage5 Days
Max. Coverage2 Years
Coverage AreasUSA
RenewableYes
RefundsYes
CancellationPossible
For Visa TypesB1/B2
Available forNon US Residents, US Visitors
ProviderFirst Health Network, Coventry
Restricted StatesMaryland, Washington, New York
Acute On-Set of Pre-Existing ConditionsCovered
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3. Patriot America Plus

Patriot America Plus is a great choice for non-US citizens below the age of 70. The plan covers acute onset of a pre-existing condition to the policy maximum for eligible medical expenses.

Patriot America Plus Travel Insurance Plan Summary

Type of PlanComprehensive
Administered ByIMG
UnderwriterSirius International
Min. Coverage5 Days
Max. Coverage2 Years
Coverage AreasUSA, International
RenewableYes
RefundsYes
CancellationPossible
For Visa TypesB1/B2
Available forNon US Residents, US Visitors
ProviderUnited Healthcare
Restricted StatesNone
Acute On-Set of Pre-Existing ConditionsCovered

What’s Not Covered

Most overseas travel insurance plans do not cover for dental treatment/surgery unless it requires hospitalization, while also not covering the cost of spectacles, contact lenses and hearing aids, intentional self-injury, venereal disease, use of intoxicating drugs/alcohol, expenses for diagnosis, x-ray or laboratory tests and AIDS.

Travel insurance will also not cover for treatment related to pregnancy or child birth, including caesarean section. Please check the fine-print of any policy you are interested in for full details.

I would advise travellers to invest in travel insurance that offers coverage for pre-existing conditions for greater peace of mind and to save money, if anything goes wrong.

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