Find the Best Travel Health Insurance for Your Client
Travel health insurance is essential for anyone traveling internationally, as most individual and group health insurance policies do not provide coverage outside of the United States. If you require medical care in another country, you will be responsible for the cost. Some countries can even detain your visa until medical bills are settled.
If you think your client may be traveling outside of the country, you can take the opportunity to introduce them to travel insurance and offer to help them find the right plan. This can be an effective way to deepen your relationships with current clients and even attract new ones.
What is travel health insurance?
Travel health insurance is a health insurance policy that protects you if you require medical care while traveling outside of the United States. Because not all individual and group domestic health insurance plans will provide coverage internationally, your client should factor the cost of a travel health policy into their budget when traveling abroad to protect against potential medical expenses.
Most need policies only for the duration of travel time. This makes travel health insurance more cost-effective in comparison to individual or group plans. There are different plans available based on the amount of coverage provided and the allotted amount of time of coverage. These plans can also accommodate long-term travel. Some policies offer international travel coverage year-round, which is a good option for frequent travelers or expats. If your client has traveled internationally for work, they should check with their employer to see if and where their domestic health policy will extend coverage.
Most travel health insurance plans offer translation services to help the policyholder and local medical providers communicate. This service means that your client will not have to worry about a language barrier in a medical emergency.
What is and is not covered by travel health insurance?
Travel health insurance policies may have limitations that you need to keep in mind. For example, most policies have time limits to report an incident and make a claim. Also, some policies will not cover pre-existing conditions, so be sure to keep in mind what coverage your client may need when looking into policies.
Additionally, it is vital to consider which country or countries your client will be visiting. Some countries require particular health coverage from their own country or a neighboring nation. Some countries which are considered high-risk are not covered. These countries are typically those experiencing political upheaval, are at risk of a severe natural disaster or weather threat, and those experiencing significant health-related outbreaks such as ebola.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also affected travel health insurance. Most countries have updated their requirements to gain entry, including proof of a negative COVID-19 test and specific travel policy coverage that includes COVID-19 treatment coverage. You will need to check with the carrier to determine if COVID-19 treatment is included in the policy or if it needs adding.
How do I select the best travel health insurance for my client?
Finding the right travel health policy can be time-consuming. Be sure you look at carriers experienced in the travel medical insurance industry and are in tune with the current market.
Pay attention to the details, such as the length of time coverage may be needed and the countries covered. Be sure to prioritize the quality and coverage of the policy over price. Cheaper plans may be more appealing but fail to provide the necessary protection.
You should also make sure to understand the difference between travel health insurance and other forms of financial protection. Other forms of financial protection may include trip cancellation policies. It is common for people to assume these are the same and leave themselves without medical coverage.
Carriers will provide a link for your clients to enroll online at their leisure. However, going directly through a provider is not always the best option, as you may find yourself trying to navigate the very tedious process once the enrollment application is submitted. Working with a travel health insurance brokerage is the best way to save time and avoid being routed to multiple departments to finalize the policy.
Frequently asked questions about travel insurance.
Do you have a policy that covers me in “x” country?
Generally, yes, the foreign travel insurance policy goes anywhere that you or your client are traveling. Most people will purchase a policy for a specific amount of time to cover their stay. However, some countries may not be covered. Be sure to check before purchasing to be sure your client is covered for the duration of their travels.
If they are a frequent traveler, they can purchase a policy that will cover them for a year. Expats and frequent travelers typically have options through their company.
Does medicare cover your client when they are outside of the US?
Medicare will not cover your client when they are out of the country. Some Medicare supplement plans have a foreign travel benefit, but EMG does not recommend solely relying on that.
Does individual health cover a traveler when they are outside of the US?
No, it does not.
Does group health cover a traveler when they are outside of the US?
No, group health plans do not cover travelers outside the US.
Should I sell travel health insurance through a brokerage general agency?
The simple answer to this is yes. A brokerage agency will shop the current market for you and help you find the best travel health policy options based on your client’s needs. Brokerage general agencies have access to multiple carriers who compensate them for extending their plans to clients. That means that a brokerage general agency can help you find policies at no cost to you. There is a huge benefit and no risk to working with a travel health insurance brokerage agency.
How do I find the best travel health insurance brokerage agency?
When shopping for travel health insurance, you will want to seek out insurance brokerage agencies that understand the market and the nuances of travel health insurance. Asking for referrals from your network is one of the best ways to find brokers. Consider connecting with your state’s underwriting association, a trusted resource for licensed health insurance agents and benefits professionals.
You can also do your research by prospecting several insurance brokerage general agencies in your area. We recommend looking for these qualities in a brokerage agency:
- Responsiveness and attentiveness. Are they knowledgeable of the products and solutions available to serve you and your clients’ needs?
- Back-office support. What happens after an application is submitted?
- A good team instead of just a good salesperson: make sure that the service is as good as the pitch. Service can make or break a relationship.
- Do the owners invest back into the agency or focus on paying themselves?
You can also learn a lot about the brokerage by calling them and asking pertinent questions, such as:
- How long have you sold travel insurance?
- Have you had any complaints with the state?
- Who are your primary carriers?
- What are the carrier ratings?
- What types of products are the affiliate carriers selling?
Do your homework and determine if the brokerage agency gravitates towards products with the most commission. Most importantly, visit the agency. Do an onsite visit and speak with the brokers in person.
EMG can help.
As a brokerage general agency, EMG handles everything from submission to commission. Our team of experts is devoted to providing consistent and reliable support for you. Our presence in the travel health insurance market since the 1980s has allowed us to build a vast network of carriers, and we select the best carriers for agents to choose from.
With our network and experience, EMG is a one-stop shop. In addition, our team makes sure the process is done efficiently by providing dedicated front and back-end support to all of our agents.