If your parent is planning a visit from another country, they should buy health insurance to cover them during their stay in the United States.
Travel medical insurance provides short-term health care coverage for visitors to the U.S. works more like traditional U.S. health insurance—with deductibles, copays and provider networks—than traditional travel insurance.
Can Foreigners Buy Travel Medical Insurance?
Foreign visitors to the U.S. can buy travel medical insurance, or visitors medical insurance, from U.S. companies.
This short-term travel health insurance is important for foreign visitors because the U.S. has some of the highest health care costs in the world. Without the coverage, international visitors could be in financial trouble if they’re hurt or injured while in the U.S.
What Does Travel Insurance for Parents Visiting the U.S. Cover?
Travel medical insurance plans typically cover inpatient and outpatient services, emergency medical services and other health care services ranging from dental to prescription medication.
A comprehensive visitors medical insurance plan bundles together several types of insurance. This could include:
- Travel medical insurance
- Emergency dental
- Coverage for Covid-19
- Emergency medical evacuation coverage
- Coverage for pre-existing conditions
- Coverage for trip cancellations and interruptions
Travel medical insurance
Travel medical insurance is crucial for parents visiting the U.S. because our health care is very expensive, and older travelers are more likely to require medical care overall.
While insurance policies vary, a travel medical insurance plan for international visitors typically covers:
- Emergency room care
- Nursing care at home
- Intensive care
- Lab work and X-rays
- Local ambulance service
- Physical therapy
- Physician visits
- Prescription medications
- Walk-in clinic visits
- Urgent care clinic visits
Note that these plans may offer full coverage if you seek care from a doctor in the preferred provider organization (PPO) plan network, while only offering partial coverage for a certain amount of eligible expenses out of their PPO network.
Depending on the plan, deductibles and coinsurance can apply for short-term travel medical insurance policies as well. This means that, even after paying for the plan, your parent can still be on the hook for thousands of dollars in medical bills if they become sick or injured while visiting the United States. Read the travel medical insurance policy carefully to understand how much your parent will be responsible for paying out of pocket if they are injured or become ill.
Emergency dental insurance
Emergency dental coverage may be included in a policy, although coverage limits tend to be low. The CoverAmerica-Gold plan from VisitorsCoverage, for example, offers just $250 in travel dental coverage, subject to a $50 deductible.
Medical coverage for Covid-19
Many travel health insurance plans for international visitors provide coverage for Covid-19. With the Patriot America Plus plan from IMG Global, for example, testing and treatment for Covid-19 is covered the same as any other illness covered by the policy.
Quarantine required for those who test positive for Covid-19 may also be covered by some plans. The Quarantine Indemnity benefit offered through VisitorsCoverage, for instance, can be worth up to $50 per day for 10 days toward quarantine costs.
Emergency medical evacuation coverage
Emergency medical evacuation pays to transport your injured or ill parent to the nearest medical facility (or to the airport closest to a suitable hospital) for emergency treatment and services.
Upon release from the hospital, this coverage may also pay for ground or air transportation back to your parent’s temporary residence in the U.S., or to their home country.
Needing to be transported by air for medical treatment can lead to exorbitant bills in a hurry, so this insurance is important for parents visiting the U.S. Travel medical insurance plans often offer emergency medical evacuation coverage of up to $1 million, but plans with more coverage are also available.
Coverage for pre-existing conditions
Pre-existing conditions are typically excluded from coverage. But travel medical insurance can include coverage for the acute onset of pre-existing conditions. There is typically fine print for this coverage.
For example, the CoverAmerica-Gold plan from VisitorsCoverage offers coverage for the acute onset of pre-existing conditions up to the policy limit for people under 70. But for ages 70 to 79, coverage is limited to $30,000. This plan also limits cardiac coverage for angina, heart attacks and strokes to $36,000.
Coverage for trip cancellation and interruption
Some travel medical insurance plans also include some traditional travel insurance elements, such as trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage.
The CoverAmerica-Gold plan from VisitorsCoverage, for instance, offers coverage of $100 for a travel delay of 12 hours or longer, and $10,000 of trip interruption coverage.
How Much Does Travel Medical Insurance Cost for Parents Visiting the U.S.?
The typical cost of travel medical insurance is between $200 and $400, according to VisitorsCoverage.
Travel insurance for parents visiting the U.S. will vary in cost depending on the plan you choose, the age of your parents and the length of their visit.
The Patriot America Plus from IMG Global, for example, costs about $212 for 29 days of coverage for a 60-year-old parent visiting the U.S. This sample plan has no deductible and a $1 million maximum limit.