New York State

Insurance

Department

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NEWS

RELEASE

Contact:
Public Affairs
(212) 480-5262
www.ins.state.ny.us

James J. Wrynn    Superintendent of Insurance    25 Beaver Street  New York, N.Y. 10004

ISSUED 01/22/2010 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CHECK YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE BEFORE TRAVELING OVERSEAS

There is more to overseas travel than just developing an itinerary. It makes good sense to review your health insurance policy before you start your trip.

“Most health insurance excludes emergency services outside the United States, its territories, Canada and Mexico, so it’s important to know your options before you leave home. Becoming seriously ill or injured could make you personally responsible for significant expenses,” Insurance Superintendent James Wrynn said.

While some health insurance policies may cover “usual and customary” emergency hospital costs overseas, most policies specifically exclude such coverage. Few will pay for emergency medical evacuation back to the United States, which can cost $10,000 or more depending on your location and medical condition. Medicare and Medicaid also exclude emergency medical treatment overseas.

Wrynn urged consumers to review their health insurance before traveling abroad to see if their policies cover emergencies, and, if so, how they can access benefits should it be necessary. He suggested obtaining a copy of any medical records in the event of an emergency before leaving an overseas medical facility.

If your insurance does not cover you abroad, it’s a good idea to consider buying short-term emergency health coverage available through a travel insurance policy. Travel insurance may also include other benefits, such as trip cancellation coverage or lost luggage coverage. Travel insurance policies can be obtained through many travel agents, who are also licensed as insurance agents.

Wrynn suggested these guidelines for consumers considering such policies:

Consumers with questions about health insurance while traveling abroad should contact their insurance company, broker or agent. Consumers may also obtain information by accessing the Insurance Department’s website, www.ins.state.ny.us or by contacting the Department’s Consumer Services Bureau from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday toll-free at 800-342-3736.

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