Though you might not realize it, your regular old health insurance might not cover you when you travel to a different country. Nearly all private health insurance companies as well as Medicare programs, do not extend their services beyond the country’s borders leaving both you and your family at risk should an emergency occur while you are traveling. In addition to the physical danger that this poses, it also means that you might be stuck with hefty medical bills that you are left to pay out of pocket.

While travel specific insurance is important for anyone planning on leaving the country even for a short period of time, it is possibly even more important to those that need critical illness health coverage. Critical illness health coverage is, in a sense, a long-term sort of insurance policy that is meant to help you out if you are ever diagnosed with a serious illness (but only one of the ones covered by your plan). Basically what happens is that you are given a one-time lump sum, a tax-free chunk of cash that is meant to help you pay off any debts that you may have accumulated in addition to retrofitting your house for medical reasons (such as the need for wheelchair access).

As briefly mentioned above, critical illness health coverage is absolutely essential if you are traveling overseas and you have critical illness health coverage in the United States. Many people get this sort of insurance policy because they are getting up there in their years, don’t have savings to help with medical bills if something happens to them, or they have been sick for a long time. Explained below are a few of the illnesses that such a policy would help cover while you are traveling.

Heart Attack

Many people do not consider the possibility of heart attack when they are traveling. But if you are older or have a known heart condition, and even if you don’t, they can sometimes strike without warning. This is why it is especially important to be prepared for these instances when you are traveling. It is difficult enough to get affordable emergency treatment in the United States when you have a heart attack and it is far harder when you are overseas.


Another type of critical illness that is almost always covered by critical illness health coverage is stroke. It is very important to be covered by a policy that includes this when you are traveling to a different country. Like with a heart attack, the medical costs associated with stroke in other countries can be extremely high. Furthermore, your benefits from the United States – the lump sum for instance – might not transfer over unless you are also insured for traveling.


In the United States, cancer is another illness that is nearly always covered by critical illness health policies. However, when seeking your own critical illness coverage for traveling, it is of utmost importance to make sure that it lists the particular types of cancer that is covers. Most policies do not cover every type; they only cover a handful of kinds. If you are at risk for a certain type, it is, obviously, smart to make sure this type is covered in your particular plan.

Critical illness health coverage is a very smart thing to look into when you are traveling abroad. This is especially true if you have it in the United States, are elderly, or are at risk for heart attack, stroke, cancer or a handful of other critical diseases and illnesses. The three conditions discussed above are three of the most common that you will see covered in one of these types of plans.

Author's Bio: 

John Wycliffe has extensive experience as a personal finance consultant. He enjoys sharing his insights in the industry by blogging about it. Find out why most people don't know what's covered in their policies, visit the link.