PORTLAND, Ore. — Summer vacation has arrived and while you’re planning where to go, what to do and how much it will cost, insurance experts encourage you to also plan ahead when it comes to health insurance.
Traveling in-state versus out of the country makes a difference, but there are some important basics to know no matter where you're going to ensure an unexpected health event while on vacation doesn’t turn into a bigger financial problem.
"It's important to know before you go," said Renee Balsigner, vice president of sales for Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oregon. "Understand where you're going, what you're doing, the risks involved, to determine what kind of coverage you may need."
Some of the most common injuries or illness are falls, fractures, car accidents, and respiratory and heart issues, Balsigner said.
No matter where you’re going there are three key things to remember:
- Bring your health insurance ID card
- Download your health insurer's app
- Take a photo of your prescriptions, with the correct dosage
"Short trips around the state, we always feel a little more comfortable because we’re not that far away from home," Balsigner said. "So just to have those basics is real important."
If you’re traveling within the U.S., your personal health insurance should cover an illness or injury while on a trip, but Balsigner suggests a quick call to your insurance customer service line is a good idea.
If you’re traveling outside the U.S., your insurance plan will provide zero to very little coverage and Medicare isn’t accepted aboard. So it's a good idea to sign up for additional coverage.
"[Medical care abroad] can be very expensive. Many times, in many countries, they're going to make you pay upfront," Balsigner said. "There is no insurance piece to it, it's, 'you pay me to get this care or to move you from one facility to another, or we're not doing it.'"
Even more expensive than medical treatment is an emergency medical evacuation. Medical evacuation and transportation can cost anywhere from $15,000 to more than $200,000.
"And to have an extra medical policy can help you out quite a bit," Balsigner said.
So just remember, when you're putting all that time into planning your trip, just make sure your health is part of it.
"We need to invest in our health just as much as we invest in our trip," Balsigner said.