When my parents decided to visit me last year, I was excited and anxious for them at the same time. This was going to be their first international trip and I had a well laid out plan for the places I would be taking them. But I wanted to make sure I had all the bases covered as far as their health and medical insurance was concerned. My parents had pre-existing conditions and I wanted to make sure, god forbidden if need arises, they get the best of medical facilities and it doesn’t hurt me financially as much. I did extensive research on how to choose visitor medical insurance for Indian parents and came up with a plan that I am going to share with you in this post:
- Where to buy: There are tons of insurance broker websites available which have tie ups with multiple insurance providers with varying premiums and services. In my experience, I found visitorscoverage.com and insubuy.com as the two most reputed brokers. They have tie ups with good insurance providers like Atlas America, Patriot America Plus etc and are known for good support and service.
- VisitorsCoverage.com: This is the most popular choice to buy & compare various different insurance plans. They have more than 35 plans to choose from with varying premiums and coverage catering to various needs of visitors. I have heard really good reviews about Atlas America and Patriot America Plus plans as both cover Acute Onset of Pre-Existing conditions up to the policy max. I personally used them to buy Atlas America plans and was quite pleased with the overall experience. Their customer support, web portal is good too. Their website has video library with nice tutorials to help users understand some of the tricky insurance terminologies. They are one of the few brokers listed on the US Department of State site as an reputed insurance provider for visitors.
- Insubuy.com: Another good broker for comparing various insurance plans and options. They also provide various options of insurance plans with varying premiums and coverage. Again, I would recommend, Atlas America and Patriot America Plus plans as they have best coverage plans. They too have good customer support too. They allow you to renew and refund if visitor’s travel plan changes. For any specific questions, call insubuy.com support and ask them for the options. They too have articles and blog posts to help customers understand insurance scenarios and terms. I found this post quite useful on Insubuy, it takes you through various scenarios and suggests the plan one should choose.
- There are some other options available at www.kvrao.org, www.sevencorners.com, www.nriol.net, www.indnet.org with similar insurance plans and options. I do not have much experience with them though. If you have any feedback from using them, let me know.
- PPO network – For smooth and cashless experience, find out a hospital/medical center near your home you are most likely to visit. Ask them if they are covered under Atlas/PatriotAmerica plans. Choose the one that does cover the hospital under PPO network. What does PPO mean you may ask? – Most insurance plans have the advantage of having a Preferred Providers Network (PPO). This means that if you go to doctors within the PPO Network, you get a reduced rate, negotiated between the providers and the insurance company. However you are not obligated to go to doctors within the network. Also the Providers within the PPO Network tend to bill the insurance company directly, than asking the member to pay upfront. If you know the provider you are most likely to visit (a hospital near by), check if they are part of the PPO network.
- Pre-existing condition coverage – Most of the plans DO NOT cover pre-existing conditions. However, a few do cover acute onset of pre-existing conditions i.e. if a person has diabetes, this won’t cover for the treatments for diabetes and regular medicine, but will cover any complications due to diabetes. Read through the policy terms & conditions before buying though. Atlas America and Patriot America Plus both cover offer these coverage. If you limit your visits to PPO providers, Atlas America is a great option. You can read more about it here. Also, read through this article which explains how onset of pre-existing conditions are covered
- Avoid Insurance from Indian Providers – Indian companies like ICICI Lombard, TATA AIG, HDFC Ergo etc offer medical insurance for tourists visiting USA. But try and avoid them as they do not have tie ups with medical providers of USA and the transactions are not cashless. You will be required to pay the cost upfront and reimburse the cost later. Reimbursements are a painful and frustrating. Read through this post for more information.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at firstname.lastname@example.org.