The following is an excerpt from a recent interview with TripInsurance.com CEO Dan Skilken on Cruise Radio.
QUESTION: I was browsing travel insurance policies and I noticed a lot of “pre-existing condition” wording in the fine print. What exactly is that?
ANSWER: That’s a great question because pre-existing conditions are among the most confusing terms in a policy. Let’s eliminate a lot of the mystery here to make sure you will have the medical coverage you need.
When you purchase travel insurance with health coverage, it may not cover everything if you have pre-existing medical condition exclusion in your travel insurance policy. You probably already know this, but exclusions are language in your policy that specifically eliminates coverage for certain risks.
Insurance typically only covers you for unknown risks at the time you buy the insurance. If you know that a risk already exists that could affect your ability to travel, then you might not be covered for this risk. Pre-existing medical conditions are medical problems that you or your traveling companions have that are present before you travel. If your travel insurance policy includes a pre-existing conditions waiver, then the insurance company will cover your medical treatment even if the problem existed before you bought the policy.
Let me give you an example of how a pre-existing condition waiver can improve your trip insurance coverage. Let’s say you are diabetic, and you have been having trouble balancing your insulin, and you have been treated by your doctor for this condition in the 90 days before you bought your travel insurance. If you don’t have a pre-existing condition waiver in your trip insurance policy, then you are not covered for medical problems on your trip having to do with your diabetes. This includes any medical treatment or even medical emergency evacuation because this problem would be considered a pre-existing condition. Now if you have a pre-existing condition waiver, then medical treatments would be covered. Some policies include this pre-existing condition waiver as a feature of the policy, provided you buy the coverage within 14 days of paying your initial trip deposit.
QUESTION: Do you always need this kind of waiver?
Well let’s say you have a diagnosed heart condition or are diabetic. You are on prescribed medication, but your doctor has not had to change your medication in the last 90 days, and the condition is “under control.” The ailment is probably not considered a pre-existing condition because your medical condition and treatment is considered stable. So if (God forbid) you suffer a heart attack or have an insulin attack while traveling, it may be covered because this is a new and dramatic change in your health condition.
The determination of whether or not a medical condition is covered has a lot to do with your doctor’s reports and whether your medical records show that you have been treated for the condition in the 90 days prior to the purchase of the travel insurance. The insurance company will try to figure out whether you knew about the medical problem when you bought the insurance. If you buy within the 14 days of your initial deposit, and have a pre-existing condition waiver, then the claims process becomes much easier because it eliminates the debate as to whether the medical condition was a problem when you bought the insurance. Having the pre-existing condition waiver will save a lot of time processing your claim because the insurance company doesn’t have to request a copy of your prior medical records to investigate the claim.
If you are worried about insuring yourself or a loved one because of a current health problem, always look for a policy that contains a pre-existing condition waiver, and always buy your insurance within 14 days of your initial trip deposit. Smart buyers always travel with a pre-existing conditions waiver because it eliminates a lot of hassles with claims. Two of the “good” plans and all of the “better” and “best” plans on TripInsurance.com have a pre-existing conditions waiver if you buy the policy within a specified number of days of your initial trip deposit. If you have any questions give us a call any time day or night and we can help you find a policy that includes a pre-existing conditions waiver.
Hear the Cruise Radio episode here.