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It May Not Cover Pandemics

Talk about fine print surprising and hurting consumers…if you read the fine print on most medical travel insurance policies you will discover that they exclude coverage for pandemics, including COVID-19.  

This means, even if you purchase medical travel insurance that is intended to cover medical expenses while traveling, you aren’t covered if you get sick because of a pandemic.  

Many people purchase such insurance before traveling outside the United States or when going on cruise ships.  

Before COVID-19, the exclusion for pandemics had little meaning or impact. After all, how many pandemics were there that broadly affected travelers?  

However, in the “new post-COVID-19 normal”, medical travel insurance is suddenly much more important and travel insurance that excludes pandemics isn’t worth purchasing.  

I discovered this gap in coverage by accident when I was reading an article published by Kaiser Health News.  

Kaiser Health News reported that because of the pandemic exclusion most travel insurers “will not pay for a traveler’s medical expenses if they are related to an outbreak such as the coronavirus.”  

Such policies will also not pay for the related expenses of loved ones straying with the sick traveler, which can quickly mount up into the thousands of dollars. And, of course, the cost of intensive care if an uninsured traveler comes down with COVID-19 can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

So, what’s the moral of the story?  

Read the fine print on all insurance but especially medical travel assurance policies.  

To access the original Kaiser Health News article please click this link

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