US health care costs and need for visitors insurance for USA visitors

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Here is a short article by Dr Chandra Reddy, an orthopedic surgeon based in Philadelphia.

The number of visitors to the USA has been increasing every year. Unfortunately, while traveling, one can fall sick anywhere and at any time. Perhaps one is more vulnerable while traveling due to a new climate and food, not to mention new strains of cold and flu viruses. Medical insurance costs for visitors are quite high in the United States and Canada and is rising in other countries as well (Japan and Singapore for example). Wouldn't it be best to travel with the peace of mind that should any emergency arise, your costs will be covered so you can expect the highest quality care without worry?

From my perspective as both physician and sponsoring family member, I would rate getting travel insurance as high in importance as getting your airline tickets. When we plan to travel, most of us are healthy and assume that we will not fall ill during our travel. However sickness and accidents cannot be prevented and health care in the USA is prohibitively expensive. Always look at insurance as a precautionary measure, a measure that can save your family a lot of money should ill health befall you.

Physician perspective on how the travel insurance plan works?

Recently a patient of mine injured her ankle. It was a simple slip at home, but she sustained a fracture and dislocation of her ankle. My patient was an American and had health insurance. I operated on her ankle and fixed it with plates and screws, the patient did well and was discharged after 3 days. When the patient came to see me in the office she still had to pay the hospital $1000 in arrears. The insurance company was billed $48000 of which they paid $47000 and my patient was billed for the remainder.

Visiting USA and visitors insurance

The previous example was for an American citizen with Insurance. Imagine what a huge bill you would get as a foreigner without insurance; remember that the person who sponsors you from the USA will be legally liable for this bill. For most emergency procedures, I would imagine it could run into $100,000 easily, especially if it involves a stay in the ICU. Many of the visitors from India are elderly parents and relatives with pre-existing conditions (not covered), if you have a heart attack, stroke or fall and break a hip you will need emergency treatment in the US and even before you realize it you will be in some Emergency Room or Trauma center. It is extremely important for all of us to be aware and try to take some preventive insurance against these unfortunate accidents. If I were in charge of visas I would mandate travel insurance just like my state here mandates that I obtain malpractice insurance before I practice medicine. The most common ailments travelers may suffer from are Heart attack (MI), Stroke, Fractured limbs or Hip, and chest pain. Here are some examples of cost of few healthcare precedures in the US. The cost of routine physician visit is very expensive in the US. The common ailments like Diabetes Mellitus with Hyperglycemia admitted to an emergency room would cost around $25,000. Stroke resulting in ICU for about 10 days would cost $120,000, Heart attack treatment with medical bills for ambulance, hospital emergency room, ICU, EKG and MRI heart scans and continuing care from cardiologists would cost about $20,000, The average treatment cost of acute kidney failure in the USA was over $22,000 in 2018. There are visitor insurance plans from INF cover these pre-existing medical ailments.

You can come prepared to a certain extent. Bring enough medications for your pre-existing diabetes and blood pressure, etc.

Ex-A plavix pill costs $ 5 per pill here compared to Rs 40 in India. You can also pack a kit for coughs, cold, and headaches, and include basic antibiotics. However, if you have the misfortune of landing in an Emergency Room you best bet by far is to have adequate travel insurance. A rule of thumb is to buy the maximum coverage you can afford.

Do I need travel insurance for the USA?

The US immigration authorities do not insist on health insurance for visitors to the U.S. for issuing the US tourist visa. However given the high cost of US healthcare, it is very risky to travel to the US without the visitor medical insurance for USA visitors. International tourists can compare the best travel insurance for visitors to the USA plans online and then buy health insurance for foreign visitors to get coverage as early as the following day.

Which is the best visitor insurance in USA?

The best visitor medical insurance USA will vary from visitor to visitor depending on their unique needs. There is no single visitors insurance for USA visitors which will work best for all US visitors. While some visitors will look for the cheapest visitors insurance plan, others will look for the most comprehensive and best visitor insurance usa. The price will be higher if you need health insurance for visitors to usa with pre-existing conditions. It is recommended to compare different travel Insurance for USA visitors plans based on price as well as benefits coverage options. Visitors should also read different visitor health insurance usa reviews before they buy the best visitor insurance USA.

How much does visitor health insurance cost?

The cost of visitors medical insurance in USA depends mainly on the following factors; The age of the visitor, the duration of travel insurance for USA visitors coverage, type of visitors insurance (fixed vs comprehensive coverage), any add on medical insurance in the USA requirements, or the need for health insurance for visitors to usa with pre-existing conditions.

Visitor medical insurance USA resources


Travel insurance for USA visitors resources

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Claims Procedure

USA travel insurance Claims Procedure

Travel insurance online claims process for getting medical treatment in USA for foreign visitors.

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