Being prepared for unexpected health problems is an important step when making travel arrangements. This preparation takes on a heighten level of importance when foreigners are traveling in the United States and not familiar with the U.S. health system. While the United States healthcare is recognized for having some of the best doctors and hospitals in the world, it can also be some of the most expensive care worldwide.

Before departure, whether for business or pleasure, travelers should consider the benefits of securing travel insurance. The following FAQs may be of assistance to travelers who are unsure of what travel insurance is, if they need to purchase it or if they will need it.

If you are a Policyholder and New Frontier Group has been identified as your domestic case handler, please refer to the the Policyholder FAQs for more specific information on how New Frontier Group can assist you when you need medical attention.

Before setting off to travel.

What is travel insurance and what are the benefits of obtaining travel insurance?

Simply put travel insurance is insurance that you purchase to help you if you get sick or have a medical need while traveling. Depending on your coverage your travel insurance team will help direct you to a medical center and/or assist in the financial settlement of the charges. Travel medical insurance can be purchased through your travel agent, insurance broker or your employer’s insurance provider. Regardless of how you obtain travel insurance, it is very important that you understand the eligibility requirements, terms and conditions, limitations, restrictions and exclusions of the policy you purchase. Be sure that your travel insurance corresponds with your travel dates.

Doesn’t my credit card have travel insurance?

Some credit cards do have some limited travel insurance but rarely is the coverage for medical needs. The limited coverage is nowhere near the comprehensive coverage that is needed for travelers who experience a medical issue.

How do I decide what travel insurance plan is best for me?

Research! Research! There are lots of travel insurance companies to choose from and a wide range of policies that vary in costs and coverage. You will be able to select the coverage that best fits your travel needs but it is your responsibility to explore all your options and make an informed decision. Make sure that your insurance has an Assistance Team center with emergency contacts accessible worldwide, 24/7. This again varies from policy to policy. You will need to work with your insurance to obtain quotes on what coverage and cost of coverage is best for you. You may never need to use your medical travel insurance, but without a doubt. this is one time it is always better to be safe than sorry. Without proper coverage, U.S. medical costs can be incredibly expensive. When deciding on what coverage is best for you, always review if the policy you select has a co-payment or deductible that must be met.

Are there limitations within my policy that I should be aware of, especially when related to coverage of treatment? What about pre-existing conditions?

Coverage differs from policy to policy. When exploring travel policies, ask for clarification on any limitations, waivers or pre-existing condition in how it relates to the cover you may be purchasing. Many times pre-existing conditions are not covered by travel insurance policies and you need to know what limitations and restrictions apply.

Does the insurance company have a United States contact with a U.S. phone number?

Many International Insurance Teams do have a U.S. contact that is their domestic partner. New Frontier Group works with hundreds of international insurance and Assistance teams serving as their North American point of contact.

Does my coverage apply nationwide throughout the United States?

Yes, when traveling to the United States , travel insurance applies nationwide.

Once an incident has occurred.

What is my first step to take if I determine I need to seek medical attention when I’m traveling abroad?

Immediately contact your insurance or Assistance Team center. Notify them of your medical issue and they will determine if it is covered within your policy. If covered, they will assist in directing you to a facility close to your location that can treat your need.

Will I have a co-payment or any out of pocket expenses with my travel insurance?

This depends on the policy you have purchased. You should discuss with your Assistance Team whether your plan has a deductible or co-payment.

What is the difference between going to an Emergency Room or Urgent Care?

Urgent Care or Walk In Clinics are facilities that can treat illnesses that are not extremely complex and can be serviced on an outpatient status. Emergency rooms are almost always located within a hospital and prepared to handle all levels of treatment. While wait times are generally shorter when going to an Urgent Care, careful evaluation of the symptoms is important to determine if treatment should be sought at an Urgent Care or Emergency Room.

How is it determined where I should go if needed medical treatment?

You will need to discuss with your insurance or Assistance Team based on where you are located. They will assist you in determining a facility to go for treatment. If you plan to be visiting one specific area for a significant length of time, it might be advisable to familiarize yourself with the hospital closest to your area. This way you can offer this information to the insurance team when contacting them to discuss where to go for treatment.

What do I do if I have to be admitted to a hospital?

You should always let your insurance or Assistance Team know if you are being admitted into the hospital. Consideration of an admission must be reviewed with your policy.

Can a facility deny me treatment if I do not have the funds and do I have to give a credit card if requested for payment assurance?

While the United States does have legislation that all providers must abide by related to under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, entitled treatment varies from situation to situation, facility to facility, physician to physician and state to state. Travel insurance is not accepted by all providers in the U.S., just as some providers only accept certain insurance plans. In order to avoid being denied treatment or being asked to provide a credit card, it is best to contact your Insurance or Assistance team for guidance.

What do I need to obtain from the facility or Doctor when I am ready to leave or be discharged?

It is advisable to obtain a copy of a detailed report, discharge summary and/or invoice from the facility. Submit a copy of the documents you receive immediately to the insurance center or Assistance Team center. This information can be very helpful when trying to settle the charges and help in ensuring that unnecessary delays in payment.

What happens if I need a prescription filled?

Unfortunately, the cost and arrangements of having a pharmaceutical needs filled is just another added inconvenience many travelers have to deal with once they have been treated. Some travel insurance do not automatically cover the costs of prescription and require the traveler to pay for the medication up front and get reimbursed from their insurance once they are back home.

Is dental treatment also covered under travel insurance?

Many medical travel policies do not include dental coverage. Be sure to review this coverage when selecting your policy. Often times, U.S. dentist will not accept travel insurance and will require the patient to pay up front and get reimbursed from the insurance.

What is a claim?

Medical claims are medical bills or invoices that identify the patient’s treatment and diagnosis by medical coding. More than likely you will not receive a claim for your treatment, but rather an invoice or statement from the provider.

It is recommended that you make a copy of the statement you are given at the time of check out or if you receive an invoice later in the mail, send a copy immediately to the Insurance or Assistance Team. Be aware that when receiving medical care in the U.S. you may incur additional bills that are affiliated with the main treatment. For example, if you are seen in an Emergency Room and you had an X-Ray, when you leave the ER you may only receive a statement for the ER facility visit. However, there will ultimately be three bills: the hospital ER facility bill, the Emergency Room physician bill and the radiologist bill for the professional that read your X-Ray. Again, it is important to be aware that unlike many European health services, additional charges may be arise some time later than the original date of service, but the charges still need to be addressed as soon as possible.

What happens if I have submitted my invoice to the insurance or Assistance Team center and I still receive a statement in the mail asking for payment?

Often times, U.S. medical billing services do not properly record the insurance information or they have an electronic billing that automatically goes out even when coverage has been provided and claims are in the process of being paid. Do not become overly alarmed if you receive a notice. If you have previously had approval for coverage (and even sometimes if you failed to get approval at the time of service), it just may require some follow up with your Insurer. Once again though, it is important to always forward a copy of any documents you receive to the Insurance or Assistance Team.