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Understanding Visitors Health Insurance

What is Visitor’s Insurance?

While the United States healthcare system provides excellent treatment and care, receiving easy and affordable access to that treatment is next to impossible without health insurance. Additionally, while the treatment and care is exceptional in the U.S.A., medical costs in the United States are the highest in the world.

Visitor’s Insurance, or Visitor’s Coverage, can go a long way in safeguarding your visiting friends or family by providing them excellent and affordable health coverage. Visitor’s Insurance covers most medical emergencies and offers financial protection against illness or injury. 

G1G offers you a excellent choice of Visitor’s Insurance plans, however there’s a lot out there to choose from. In this article, we’ll let you know a few basic thing about purchasing Visitor’s Insurance so you can select the right plan for your friends and loved ones.

How it works

Visitor’s Insurance, like any other kind of health insurance, offsets (or even sometimes absorbs) the cost of care and treatment. The amount you pay for insurance depends on the type of policy you purchase and a few other factors, such as the age of the insured and the duration of one’s trip.

To purchase a policy, you need to have a little bit of information ready. Whether you’re buying for a friend or a relative, have the insured's full name, passport number, and date of birth on hand. You’ll also be asked to specify a plan’s start and end date. Here’s a few things to keep in mind about those:

If you’re buying a Schedule Benefits Plan (more on those in a little bit), the start date should be the day the insured arrives in the U.S.A. 

Comprehensive Coverage Plans (more on these in a bit too) include international coverage, providing coverage on the journey to the destination as well as on the journey home. Since these plans include inflight coverage, choose as the start date as the day the insured boards the plane. Often, these plans can be activated during the travel period as well, so if you forget to purchase before the departure date, it might not be too late to get a policy. If you’re buying insurance for someone who has already arrived in the  U.S.A./Canada, the earliest start date available is the day after you purchase the plan. 

In general though, it’s advisable to purchase these plans in advance of the insured’s arrival in the U.S.A.

Schedule Benefit (Economy) Plans or Comprehensive (Premium) Coverage Plans?

Typically, the most confusing aspect of choosing a Visitor’s Insurance Plan is deciding on a Schedule Benefit Plan or a Comprehensive Coverage Plan. We’ve put together some main points about each of these plans to help you reach your decision.

Schedule Benefit Plans are also known as Fixed Coverage Plans, Limited Benefit Plans, or Share Policies Plans. A Schedule Benefit Plan, depending on how much risk you're comfortable with assuming on your own, might not provide you with coverage in all the areas you might want. However, if you are looking to cut down on cost and willing to assume a bit of risk on yourself, a Schedule Benefit Plan might be the right one for you.

Here's what else you need to know about Schedule Benefit Plans:

Schedule Benefit Plans have the more inexpensive premium (the amount you pay for the plan itself) compared to Comprehensive Benefit Plans. Usually they are around 50% the cost of Comprehensive Plans.

With a Schedule Benefit Plan, you can see most doctors and seek care in most hospitals. Unlike Comprehensive Coverage Plans, Schedule Benefit Plans do not come with a provider network. This often means discounted fees, waived co-pays, and the option of direct billing.  

The amount the policy pays for treatment is pre-determined according to a benefit summary. The benefit summary lets you know exactly how much your plan covers for a given hospital visit, procedure, course of treatment. Any costs that run in excess of the coverage offered by the plan falls on the insured. The benefit summary is scaled to cover the costs of small medical emergencies, but often fall shorts of covering the entire cost of major surgeries or lengthy hospital stays.

Schedule Benefit Plans offer little to no trip protection benefits. Minor trip protection coverage, such as medical evacuation, comes standard in most Schedule Benefit Plans, however often at lower limits. Other trip protection benefits, ones that you may want, simply aren’t there, including important ones such as baggage loss or trip interruption coverage.

In the event of a significant medical emergency, a Schedule of Benefit Policy will prove to be more costly to you than a Comprehensive Benefit Plans. 

Schedule Benefit plans do not have a co-pay.

The deductible is applied per illness or injury. For example, this means that if you visit the doctor for cold or flu-like symptoms a deductible is required. However, if you visit the doctor again for another unrelated claim then your deductible is due again. 

We consider Schedule of Benefit Policies share-policies. That is that they contribute a predetermined amount to a given medical cost and any remaining costs falls on you. We recommend these policies for shorter duration trips (up to two weeks) and for individuals lacking any pre-existing conditions. As mentioned previously, these trips are ideal for individuals who are willing to take on a certain degree of risk onto themselves.

Here's what else you need to know about Comprehensive Coverage Plans:

Comprehensive Coverage Plans, also known as Premium Policies. offer more expansive and flexible coverage than Schedule Benefit Plans. 

Comprehensive Coverage Plans have slightly higher costs up front than Schedule Benefit Plans, but offer a broader spectrum of coverage and result in major savings in the case of a significant medical emergency.

Comprehensive Coverage Plans include trip protection benefits. Premium Policies offer rich trip protection coverage, such as baggage loss or trip interruption. These policies often have higher limits on especially costly claims, such as medical evacuation (which in and of itself can exceed $50,000). 

Often, your deductible is applied only once during the life of the policy. This means while that a deductible will be required for your first claim, for any subsequent claim your deductible will likely not need to be paid again. Keep in mind that deductibles are cumulative.  In an instance where a claim doesn’t fulfill your entire deductible,  a separate claim would require you to contribute toward your deductible. For example, if your policy holds a $500 deductible and an office visit cost $200, a separate claim of $300 would be required in order for your deductible to be met.

Premium Plans come with a co-pay.  The most common form of co-pay in Visitor Coverage is an 80% - 20% split of the first $5000 in medical expenses. This means you incur 20% of medical expenses, up to a total of $1000, and your insurance covers the rest, up to your policy’s maximum. Many products offer discounted co-pays for those who receive treatment within that product’s provider directory (PPO). Common discounts include a 90%-10% split or, in some cases, a complete waiver of the co-pay. Look for discounted co-pays on our product page.

Comprehensive Coverage Plans offer the option of going within a provider network but also allow you to visit any doctor. It is recommended that you look to receive treatment from within your plan provider's network, however, as you will be offered higher discounted rates of treatment. You stand to save up to 35% on your medical costs by staying inside your provider network. Do not let provider networks scare you off Comprehensive Coverage Plans. More often than not, provider networks for Visitor Insurance Plans are much more comprehensive than those for domestic health insurance policies. You’ll have numerous treatment options to choose from.

The cost of receiving treatment is split between you and your provider. You cover the cost of the deductible and your provider covers the remaining cost of treatment, up to the maximum limit of the policy.

A Comprehensive Coverage plan provides a wide range of coverage and is perfect for the risk-averse traveler. However, if you are cost-sensitive and willing to assume a bit of risk on yourself, consider a Schedule Benefit Plan.

Before choosing between Schedule Benefit plans or Comprehensive Coverage plans, is important to assess your budget and your comfort with taking on risk. Those two factors will dictate which plan is best for you.

Selecting your Maximum Limit and Deductible

A policy’s maximum limit and deductible is up to you. There are several factors that go into choosing these and we’ll break those down for you.

Schedule of Benefit Plans have a hard maximum. That means any cost of medical treatment that exceeds the maximum of your policy has to be covered by you. The maximum a Schedule of Benefit Plan will pay, per type of treatment, is listed in the benefit summary.

Comprehensive Coverage Plans split your cost of treatment, as we mentioned before, with 80% - 20% being the most common split. You cover 20% of the cost, up to a maximum of usually $1000. Your provider covers the remaining 80%, and any additional, eligible costs, up to your policy’s maximum.

The most important factor in choosing a maximum limit and deductible is the length of your trip. Consider how long the Visitor Insurance Policy is for. 

For a longer trip (30 days or longer), consider a higher maximum, since the risk of illness and injury only increases with time. For such trips, consider selecting a lower deductible, since there’s a greater chance of you having to receive treatment, and thus paying a deductible.

Shorter trips (30 days or less) usually require coverage for serious illnesses and accidents, ones that would require immediate medical attention. For such trips, select a high maximum (since serious injuries usually entail expensive treatments). If you’re comfortable assuming a degree of risk, you can select a higher deductible. This will save you money upfront, since your premium will be less, but you would need to pay more when receiving treatment, should you need to do so.

Now, these are just our suggestions and finding the exact policy limit and deductible best for you is ultimately your decision, and an important one in that. Factors such as age, health, past medical history, all play a part in this.   In fact, when searching for a plan our site uses information such as your age and travel duration to select the best plans for you. All of our plans are held to the g1g standard, so you can rest assured that you’re covered with the best possible policy. We’re here and happy to assist you with making the best and most informed choice possible.

In Conclusion

Our site is designed to help you find the best plan by letting us know what coverage you’re after and what you want to spend. We encourage you to take advantage of our other educational resources as well. At G1G, we want you to be an informed consumer and we’re happy to answer any questions you might have about any of our products, including our Visitor’s Insurance plans.


**All values shown above are subject to error or slight variation from actual figures. For final pricing and details please continue on to the product application. **

"G1G.com is very well designed and allowed me to run simulations for Visitors Insurance coverage. It also provided automatic recommendations for the most comprehensive coverage plans to make the best educated decision." - Faisal Hanif.

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