Furriners Traveling to USA, Bring Extra Health Insurance

W/ the solar eclipse 4 weeks away I know many folks from other countries will be visiting the US. There may be fantastically affordable health care in those countries so these folks would be forgiven for not realizing that healthcare in the US can be prohibitively expensive and if non-emergency care cannot be paid for it may not be provided. Likewise, urgent care can run into the thousands of dollars; if you’re working through a National Park and get bitten by a snake or trip and fall into a crevasse, you will receive medical care. But that emergency care can come w/ a bill whose every line item is separate and expensive compared to what the patient is used to paying at home. If you require additional treatment/surgeries/medical evacuation soon after and cannot guarantee payment or prepay it you might be declined that care.
Please do yourselves a favor and buy a travel health policy, do NOT roll those dice or it could be something that comes back to haunt you.

The UK government advises its citizens to take out at least $500,000 insurance when travelling to the USA.

I’ve visited Las Vegas a few times with the security of $1,000,000 insurance.

Fantastic! Even in a health insurance gamble the house has an advantage. Do you recall how much it ran you? Does coverage kick in when your plane lands or before?

Health insurance is the most important purchase when I travel south.

That, and a return ticket to get me home in an emergency. :slight_smile:

My relatives in Canada have purchased extra health insurance when traveling to the states for decades. Decades. This is not in the least something new.

I pay quite a bit more into my former employer’s supplemental health insurance than I have ever collected. The main reason is the coverage I get when traveling, especially to the US. A neighbor had a heart attack in New Orleans about 30 years and the (same) insurance paid $25,000 to medevac him to Canada since that was going to be cheaper for them than paying for treatment in the US. Even 30 years ago.

I’m another who always buys health insurance when I visit the USA.

I cannot remember the cost (it costs $X per day, but that’s as much as I can tell you). But as I recall, it is effective all of the day that you leave to all of the day when you return. And I mean all of the day: all 24 hours.

For example, if I fly out of Calgary, bound for Las Vegas, at 5:00 pm on Tuesday, the insurance takes effect at 12:01 am Tuesday. Similarly, if I leave Las Vegas, on my homeward flight, at 2:00 pm Saturday, the insurance is effective until 11:59 pm Saturday. It may seem that you’re covered for time you’re not actually in the US, and that’s true; but it just makes the pricing model much easier: $X per day, instead of complicated formulas involving 1/24 of $X times hours until your flight.

Short answer: it typically kicks in before your plane lands in the US.

That makes great sense for the traveler, if something happened en route either way you’re still set.

I’ve bought coverage for Mrs Iggy when she travels to visit me in Cayman. Generally premium has been less than $100 for a six week trip.

However premiums go up based on age of insured and go up much more if you are traveling to the United States.

I ran a sample quote for the Patriot Travel Medical Insurance for a 45 year old Canadian male traveling to the United States from August 1 to August 31. There are a variety of deductible and coverage limit options. For their maximum $1 million coverage limit and $0 deductible the premium is $166.25 for the month. They do offer as low as a $50,000 coverage limit and a deductible as high as $2500 which together would result in a premium of $51.10.

If the same 45 year old Canadian male was traveling to the Cayman Islands (or really to most any country other than the US) those premiums would drop. A $1 million coverage limit with $0 deductible would only cost $78.75 for coverage for a trip to Cayman, just a bit less than half the price of coverage for a trip to the States. And the low $50,000 coverage limit with $2500 deductible would run $32.90.

There are a couple optional riders, for Extreme Sports and for Evacuation Plus which I did not price into this example.

Ah, I thought you were saying there was something new that meant travellers to the US should purchase even more health insurance than they already do for trips to the USA, then realised you were talking about people who already pay directly for health insurance, that they shod up theirs.

From the UK, when buying plane tickets to the US you get a lot of warnings about buying insurance. They don’t like it when I click no. I do that because I buy worldwide health insurance annually and include the USA in that if I plan a trip there that year. It bumps the cost up by about 400%. IOW insuring myself in the rest of the world barring the USA costs 4 times less. I have pre-existing health conditions and pay extra for coverage for them.

I’ve gotten the same warning going to the UK but only when I wanted to participate in races/runs/walks, since insurance won’t always work overseas. But I didn’t get the same warnings just flying to the UK, so maybe the systems works better for the casually uninsured over there (shocker, I know, but on the gripping hand, when I did enter the UK they made a big show of stamping my passport as “NOT ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE WELFARE BENEFITS”).

Better stay away, foreign peoples.

Health care is in a grim state in the U.S., and even worse portends.

Welfare benefits doesn’t mean anything WRT healthcare, though. It means your visa doesn’t allow you to claim unemployment benefits and the like.

Over here we’re not “casually uninsured” - we pay via the tax system and those who do not purchase private healthcare are the majority. We are all aware that going abroad, esp to the US, is not included in that.

US citizens who néed emergency healthcare here are charged. They won’t be refused treatment but efforts will be made to get the money back. It’s odd that a warning doesn’t come up for you like it does for me - I’d rather have to click no while rolling my eyes than just not know I need it.

When I was living overseas (I am American BTW), I had full health insurance that covered me everywhere in the world except the USA. They would not sell USA coverage to a US citizen, and no US company would sell insurance to an American that did not live in the USA.

We ran into a similar situation. My husband was offered a tempting job through an Australian company, but turned it down after reading the fine print for the health insurance they provided. Neither he nor his dependents would have been covered for health care received in the US. As Americans, we couldn’t risk injury/illness during a trip back to visit home.

Hard to see how anyone traveling abroad (whatever their destination) would be naive enough to expect free health care.

Obtaining travel insurance is advised for Americans heading to Europe, and also to Canada.

Even British expats returning to the U.K. face being hit up for big medical bills.

I always carry health insurance when I travel. US or elsewhere.

They are People who don’t?

The same people who, if they were Americans, wouldn’t have any health insurance, and for the same reasons.

Standard travel insurance in Aus comes with exclusions. For more money, you can get options for ski-ing, scuba-diving, extreme sports, traveling in the USA… All the things that might blow out your medical costs.

A lot of countries with UHC have reciprocal agreements in place, where citizens are treated as locals regarding medical treatment.

So yeah, some of us can indeed get free (or at least local rate prices), health care in several countries abroad.

What happens if your return flight gets cancelled or delayed a day (or two or three or four)? Is there some easy way to get an extension?