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Will Travel Insurance Cover Pre-existing Conditions?

Audrey M. Jones
Passport and Cash

Most travel insurance plans do not cover pre-existing conditions. However, some companies provide coverage or offer waivers for the exclusion. Depending on the insurer, a pre-existing condition may be defined as one for which the insured sought treatment within the 60-365 days immediately prior to the trip.

Companies Offering Coverage for Pre-Existing Conditions

The companies below offer travel insurance plans that cover pre-existing conditions. The policy must typically be purchased within a specific period of time and the insured must meet certain conditions for coverage to apply. Additionally, many plans have a maximum coverage amount for pre-existing conditions. However, when coverage is available, companies do not specify which pre-existing conditions it covers. Each of the companies listed below has been highly reviewed or ranked.

CSA Travel Insurance

This company's Custom Luxe plan includes coverage for pre-existing conditions, but only if the policy is purchased within at least 24 hours of the final trip payment and the insured is medically able to travel at the time of purchase. The policy also provides medical and dental expense coverage, emergency assistance, and air flight accident coverage. This company was rated an 'A+' by the Better Business Bureau.

Global Alert

All three of this insurer's plans provide coverage for pre-existing conditions, provided that the insured purchases the policy within 15 days of the initial trip deposit. Policies also provide accident and sickness medical expense coverage, medical evacuation coverage, and accidental death and dismemberment coverage. rated this company with three stars, mentioning the fact that all policies offer pre-existing condition waivers and that the company offers secured online access to medical records as beneficial to individuals who have pre-existing conditions.

Travel Guard

This insurer's Gold plan covers pre-existing conditions if purchased within 15 days of making the initial trip deposit. The policy also provides coverage for accidental death and dismemberment, medical expenses, and medical evacuation. The Travel Guard Group is rated an 'A+' by the Better Business Bureau.

Travel Safe

Pre-existing conditions are covered under this company's Classic policy if it is purchased within 21 days of the initial trip deposit. The policy also provides coverage for accidents, sickness, and emergency evacuation. Given 9.35 stars out of 10 by, this company's generous benefits and excellent customer service are identified as positive aspects to their policies.

How to Investigate Current Coverage

Have you already purchased travel insurance and are curious about whether it covers pre-existing conditions? To find out, check your policy documents. Most policy contracts and other documents directly address this issue because they want purchasers to be clear about what the policy does and does not cover.

If you're still unsure or are uncertain about whether you met the qualifications for a pre-existing condition waiver, contact the person from whom you purchased the policy - either your agent or the insurance company. Your agent or a company representative will be able to provide details about the pre-existing condition coverage on your plan.

Coverage Rules

Provided you meet the qualifications for pre-existing coverage, you usually do not need to notify the insurance company that you have a pre-existing condition or obtain any special forms or documents from the company or your physician. However, not all policies are the same. Check with your insurance company by contacting it directly or by calling your agent, if you have one, to make sure that this is the rule.

Travel Insurance and The Affordable Care Act

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), in effect as of January 1, 2014, states that health insurance companies may not discriminate against policy applicants seeking a "qualified health plan" based on pre-existing conditions. However, pursuant to Subtitle D, Part 1 of the Act, travel insurance plans are not "qualified health plans." As such, the PPACA does not apply to travel insurance policies and, as such, insurers may continue to factor pre-existing conditions into their policy terms.

If Your Policy Doesn't Cover Pre-Existing Conditions

Unfortunately, if your plan doesn't provide coverage for pre-existing conditions, you usually have to rely on your main insurance. Some health insurance plans provide worldwide coverage and allow insured individuals to file claims for medical expenses incurred while overseas once they return to the United States. Check your policy documents or contact your agent or health insurance company to determine if your policy includes this coverage.

Supplemental insurance plans typically do not provide coverage for pre-existing conditions. A supplemental plan is one that adds to your current insurance plan but is in effect only when you travel. Therefore, in this situation you would also have to make any claim for medical expenses related to a pre-existing condition on your regular insurance.

Buying a Policy

If you plan on taking a trip and suffer from a pre-existing condition, investigate each travel insurance plan's coverage of pre-existing conditions prior to booking your trip. If you have already booked a trip and are unable to purchase a plan that provides coverage for pre-existing conditions, check with your current health insurer to determine if you have overseas coverage.

Will Travel Insurance Cover Pre-existing Conditions?