Some Countries Now Require International Health Coverage for Tourists
The COVID-19 pandemic’s toll on economic activity and has been incredible. More importantly it has infected over 20 million people and claimed over 740,000 lives. One of the biggest issues early on in many countries was that the instant spikes in cases overwhelmed hospitals and put a strain on medical equipment and resources. So now, as many countries around the world start to reopen, they are seeking to protect their own national healthcare systems from the potential financial ruin of having to treat travelers with COVID-19.
International healthcare coverage is usually separate from the standard U.S.-based health insurance and any trip-cancellation insurance. It is rarely included in existing healthcare policies for Americans. Additionally, even if you have international coverage, you might find out that some areas might be excluded due to being COVID-19 hotspots. Credit cards could provide some additional coverage, but you have to get into the fine print or call and see what they offer exactly and what they exclude.
“What frequently happens is that domestic health insurance is simply not accepted by healthcare providers outside the U.S.,” a spokesperson for travel insurance provider Allianz told Conde Nast Traveler. International healthcare coverage prevents local providers and governments from having to foot the bill for uninsured travelers he said, but also helps travelers themselves from avoiding huge unexpected “medical bills or emergency medical transportation costs.”
Aruba is one of the countries that has the most strict policies when it comes to health coverage. Visitors must purchase a new pre-determined healthcare policy offered by the Aruban government, which covers $75,000 in hospital expenses. That’s regardless of whether you have your own coverage. You can see the premium cost here. A 40 year old staying for a week for example would have to pay $105.
Other countries such as Costa Rica, Turks and Caicos, Tahiti, United Arab Emirates and more also require travelers to provide proof of health insurance. That’s in addition to providing proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test.
Many people are itching to start traveling again. But now more than ever, you need to do your homework before you get on a plane, or even in a car for a road-trip around the country. There’s still many countries that have travel bans, quarantine requirements, or additional requirements such as COVID-19 tests or additional heath insurance.