Travel season is here. Do you know how your health insurance works when you are away from home? Here is the information that you need to know BEFORE you leave home. An emergency medical situation is an exception to the network rules. You should go to the nearest healthcare provider when dealing with an emergency.
Employer group plans: Most employer plans offer nationwide coverage. The network that you use to access providers may change when you go to a different part of the US. BlueCross BlueShield of NE offers coverage through the Blue Card program. United Healthcare’s networks are also nationwide. PHCS is an example of a network that may be used to offer benefits in an area that is outside of your plan’s local network.
Medicare: Medicare offers coverage throughout the United States with any doctor, hospital, or other provider that is a “participating provider.” However, you must consider what additional benefits you have added to original Medicare to determine what provider you can see. A Medicare Supplement follows the same guidelines as original Medicare. A Medicare Advantage plan includes a specific network of providers that members can use to receive “in-network” benefits. These networks may be broad-based or very limited.
Individual health insurance: Medica utilizes two networks in Nebraska and Iowa; Medica with CHI and Midlands Choice. Other networks are offered when you leave NE and IA. BCBS plans continue to use the national BCBS network.
International travel: International coverage varies widely. You may have coverage that is the same as the US, coverage for emergencies only, or no coverage at all. Please note that Medicare provides no international benefits, but your Medicare Supplement may offer a lifetime maximum benefit of $50,000.
Travel agencies and cruise lines may offer additional insurance coverage. Frequently those plans focus on protecting the investment in your trip and may offer some medical benefits. A Travel Medical policy focuses on the medical benefits and may offer trip protection coverage. It is a wise choice and is typically quick and inexpensive to obtain.
The medical billing systems and networks that exist in the United States are generally not available in foreign countries. You can expect to pay the bill at the time your medical services are received and then submit it to your insurance company for reimbursement if it is a covered expense.
Best advice: 1) Call your insurance company or your agent to find out how to access your health insurance benefits while you are traveling. 2) Do NOT leave the country without a Travel Medical policy. Call ComPro for a quote. ComPro…helping you connect the dots.