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5 Health Insurance Tips for Overseas Travelers

No one wants to think about mid-vacation health scares. But emergencies happen, and your regular insurance may not cover your care overseas. To avoid any expensive surprises, lay the groundwork before you board a plane.

Mind the gaps

Once you go abroad, most policies cover emergencies that jeopardize your healtha heart attack, for instance, or broken hip. But it will be out-of-network care, so you may face high deductibles and coinsurance paymentsand youre on your own for lesser issues. If you get a bad cold and decide to get it checked out, expect to pay out of pocket, says San Diego insurance agent Craig Gussin. Details vary, so check your plans non-US rules, co-insurance rates, and out-of-pocket maximums.

Medicare is a special case: It rarely covers services outside the US except in certain circumstanceson a cruise ship within six hours of a US port, for instance. Youve got some coverage built in if you have one of the Medigap plans (C, D, F, G, M, N) that pay 80% of bills for emergency care as long as its during the first two months of a trip abroad. (Theres a $250 annual deductible plus a lifetime limit of $50,000 for foreign-travel emergency care.)