Think twice before buying travel medical insurance in India . . .  

The importance of having travel medical insurance is now a well known fact by people all over the world. Indian residents today are well aware of the high costs of medical services overseas. Whether you are visiting Europe, North America or any other western country, medical costs have skyrocketed and beyond the reach of many. The only option left to travelers is to get insurance. The purpose of this article is not to highlight the necessity of getting insurance, but to stress my reasoning as to why those traveling from India, should NOT buy insurance from Indian insurance companies. To be fair, those who have a different opinion, can send me their comments and they will be posted on this page.

Why you should not buy travel medical insurance from

India

Most people who are going on a visit overseas to visit friends or family members, or perhaps going on a vacation abroad, are made aware of travel medical insurance these days by their travel agents. Travel agents not only recommend buying travel medical insurance but also sell policies or steer clients to insurance companies that may give them a commission in the form of a finders fee. Let us first consider the scenario of buying insurance from a travel agent in India. Remember, these are travel agents who sell airline tickets. They are not in any manner insurance agents. The chances that they may not even have read a policy that they recommend to all their clients. Travel agents, sometimes may verbally confirm all sorts of coverages that the insurance policy will cover. Talk is cheap! and does not obligate an insurance company to payout anything. What matters is the wording in the insurance policy.

Buy travel medical insurance from the country

you are visiting

Suppose you are visiting USA, you may be better off buying visitors medical insurance from insurance providers in the United States. Why it is better not to buy travel medical insurance from India Consider the following: Hospitals and medical clinics abroad would prefer to deal with local insurance companies, in fact they deal with these companies on a daily basis and are well aware of the procedures involved in dealing with such insurance companies. In some cases, Indian insurance companies may have provisions where the insurer pays the hospital and files a claim for reimbursement with the insurance company when they return to India. This problem is usually avoided when you have coverage with a local insurance company. Furthermore, getting reimbursed for medical expenses incurred abroad from an insurance company may not be easy as it sounds. Loads of paperwork and documentation will be demanded by insurance companies before you get paid. Local insurance companies normally have negotiated lower rates with most hospitals for medical services they provide. In case you are wondering why this should bother you, if insurance will pay the cost anyway, think again.  In some cases, regardless of the maximum amount coverage under your policy, medical procedures may have a cap. In case more money is charged for a said procedure, then you will have to pay the difference. Additionally, in the event a medical procedure turns out not to be covered due to for example a pre-condition, you may be responsible for paying the bill. The lower the better. Regardless of any type of insurance policy being considered for purchase. Insurance purchasers must look at not only what is covered under the policy but the Exclusions that are attached to the insurance policy they are considering to purchase. For the benefit of those considering the purchase of travel medical insurance in India, here is an example of some of exclusions you should think about when buying insurance. ICICI Lombard offers Coverage Amounts from US$50,000 to US$250,000 for travel medical insurance. Some people will purchase the $250,000 coverage, without reading the policy wording that states that The maximum amount that can be claimed per illness or injury is US$ 100,000. In a scenario where a person with a coverage of $250,000 required medical services while visiting the United States and the hospital visit bill ends up being over $100,000, then the insurance policy would only pay a maximum of $100,000 despite the fact the insured person has a coverage amount of $250,000. Any amount over the $100,000 becomes the responsibility of the insured person. A medical bill over $100,000 from hospitals in the United States or Canada is not unusual.

Sub Limits on your policy - May lead to a person paying

themselves despite having insurance

ICICI Lombard in their policy also clearly state that for those persons aged 56 and above, further sub-limits may apply. Here is an excerpt from their policy document: For persons aged 56 years and above , the maximum eligible medical expenses per sickness, disease or accident sustained or contracted within the period of insurance whilst on the trip abroad, that may lead to one or more medical expenses and/or hospitalization expenses are as follows, irrespective of the plan/option purchased. These limits are further restricted to the maximum sum insured specified in part 1 of the schedule. a) Hospital Room and board, and hospital misc. expenses – maximum US$ 1,600 per day up to 30 days. b) Intensive Care Unit - maximum US$ 3,000 per day up to 7 days. c) Surgical treatment – maximum up to US$ 12,000 d) Anaesthetist services – up to 25% of surgical treatment. e) Physician’s visit – maximum US$ 75 per day up to 10 visits. f) Diagnostic and pre-admission testing – maximum US$ 750. g) Ambulance services – maximum US$ 500. Consider each of these sub limits carefully, to ensure you don’t put yourself in a position to pay medical bills abroad despite having insurance. Take for example a maximum of US$ 1600 per day to 30 days. This amounts to a total coverage of $48,000. Now $48,000 may be a lot of money in India, unfortunately when it comes to medical expenses in countries such as USA/Canada, this amount may fall short. Don’t put yourself into a false sense of security when it comes to insurance coverage. Ask questions, read and understand the policy wordings before buying insurance. Don’t take any verbal assurance from salesmen, if its not written in policy its not covered.
Disclaimer: Information provided is for general knowledge only and should not be deemed to be professional advice. For professional advice kindly consult a professional accountant, immigration advisor or the Indian consulate. Rules and regulations do change from time to time. Please note that in case of any variation between what has been stated on this website and the relevant Act, Rules, Regulations, Policy Statements etc. the latter shall prevail. © Copyright 2006 Nriinformation.com
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Think twice before buying travel

medical insurance in India 

The importance of having travel medical insurance is now a well known fact by people all over the world. Indian residents today are well aware of the high costs of medical services overseas. Whether you are visiting Europe, North America or any other western country, medical costs have skyrocketed and beyond the reach of many. The only option left to travelers is to get insurance. The purpose of this article is not to highlight the necessity of getting insurance, but to stress my reasoning as to why those traveling from India, should NOT buy insurance from Indian insurance companies. To be fair, those who have a different opinion, can send me their comments and they will be posted on this page.

Why you should not buy travel

medical insurance from India

Most people who are going on a visit overseas to visit friends or family members, or perhaps going on a vacation abroad, are made aware of travel medical insurance these days by their travel agents. Travel agents not only recommend buying travel medical insurance but also sell policies or steer clients to insurance companies that may give them a commission in the form of a finders fee. Let us first consider the scenario of buying insurance from a travel agent in India. Remember, these are travel agents who sell airline tickets. They are not in any manner insurance agents. The chances that they may not even have read a policy that they recommend to all their clients. Travel agents, sometimes may verbally confirm all sorts of coverages that the insurance policy will cover. Talk is cheap! and does not obligate an insurance company to payout anything. What matters is the wording in the insurance policy.

Buy travel medical insurance from the

country you are visiting

Suppose you are visiting USA, you may be better off buying visitors medical insurance from insurance providers in the United States. Why it is better not to buy travel medical insurance from India Consider the following: Hospitals and medical clinics abroad would prefer to deal with local insurance companies, in fact they deal with these companies on a daily basis and are well aware of the procedures involved in dealing with such insurance companies. In some cases, Indian insurance companies may have provisions where the insurer pays the hospital and files a claim for reimbursement with the insurance company when they return to India. This problem is usually avoided when you have coverage with a local insurance company. Furthermore, getting reimbursed for medical expenses incurred abroad from an insurance company may not be easy as it sounds. Loads of paperwork and documentation will be demanded by insurance companies before you get paid. Local insurance companies normally have negotiated lower rates with most hospitals for medical services they provide. In case you are wondering why this should bother you, if insurance will pay the cost anyway, think again.  In some cases, regardless of the maximum amount coverage under your policy, medical procedures may have a cap. In case more money is charged for a said procedure, then you will have to pay the difference. Additionally, in the event a medical procedure turns out not to be covered due to for example a pre- condition, you may be responsible for paying the bill. The lower the better. Regardless of any type of insurance policy being considered for purchase. Insurance purchasers must look at not only what is covered under the policy but the Exclusions that are attached to the insurance policy they are considering to purchase. For the benefit of those considering the purchase of travel medical insurance in India, here is an example of some of exclusions you should think about when buying insurance. ICICI Lombard offers Coverage Amounts from US$50,000 to US$250,000 for travel medical insurance. Some people will purchase the $250,000 coverage, without reading the policy wording that states that The maximum amount that can be claimed per illness or injury is US$ 100,000. In a scenario where a person with a coverage of $250,000 required medical services while visiting the United States and the hospital visit bill ends up being over $100,000, then the insurance policy would only pay a maximum of $100,000 despite the fact the insured person has a coverage amount of $250,000. Any amount over the $100,000 becomes the responsibility of the insured person. A medical bill over $100,000 from hospitals in the United States or Canada is not unusual.

Sub Limits on your policy - May lead

to a person paying themselves

despite having insurance

ICICI Lombard in their policy also clearly state that for those persons aged 56 and above, further sub-limits may apply. Here is an excerpt from their policy document: For persons aged 56 years and above , the maximum eligible medical expenses per sickness, disease or accident sustained or contracted within the period of insurance whilst on the trip abroad, that may lead to one or more medical expenses and/or hospitalization expenses are as follows, irrespective of the plan/option purchased. These limits are further restricted to the maximum sum insured specified in part 1 of the schedule. a) Hospital Room and board, and hospital misc. expenses – maximum US$ 1,600 per day up to 30 days. b) Intensive Care Unit - maximum US$ 3,000 per day up to 7 days. c) Surgical treatment – maximum up to US$ 12,000 d) Anaesthetist services – up to 25% of surgical treatment. e) Physician’s visit – maximum US$ 75 per day up to 10 visits. f) Diagnostic and pre-admission testing – maximum US$ 750. g) Ambulance services – maximum US$ 500. Consider each of these sub limits carefully, to ensure you don’t put yourself in a position to pay medical bills abroad despite having insurance. Take for example a maximum of US$ 1600 per day to 30 days. This amounts to a total coverage of $48,000. Now $48,000 may be a lot of money in India, unfortunately when it comes to medical expenses in countries such as USA/Canada, this amount may fall short. Don’t put yourself into a false sense of security when it comes to insurance coverage. Ask questions, read and understand the policy wordings before buying insurance. Don’t take any verbal assurance from salesmen, if its not written in policy its not covered.
Disclaimer: Information provided is for general knowledge only and should not be deemed to be professional advice. For professional advice kindly consult a professional accountant, immigration advisor or the Indian consulate. Rules and regulations do change from time to time. Please note that in case of any variation between what has been stated on this website and the relevant Act, Rules, Regulations, Policy Statements etc. the latter shall prevail. © Copyright 2006 Nriinformation.com
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