Acute Onset of Pre-Existing Conditions When Traveling Overseas

If you’re in the market for travelers health insurance, you should know that most policies were not designed to cover pre-existing conditions. For example, you can’t expect to buy an international medical policy for the purpose of seeking overseas healthcare for known health issues. With that said, some policies may offer to help pay for care for the acute onset of pre-existing conditions.

What is Meant by the Acute Onset of Pre-Existing Conditions for Travel Health Insurance?

This term refers to the sudden, unexpected, and unpredictable symptoms of a pre-existing condition while traveling.

In addition:

  • The event must occur while the policy is in force.
  • The covered person typically must seek treatment within 24 hours of onset.

For instance, a visitor may manage asthma with medication. A sudden asthma attack that requires urgent medical care despite taking regular medication may be considered an acute onset of that condition. If an individual has asthma and needs to seek a doctor to get a prescription filled for a regular inhaler, that would not be considered acute onset of that condition.

As another example, the visitors health insurance policy might cover urgent care for a heart attack for an insured person with high blood pressure. It won’t cover treatment for a heart attack that occurred before the policy’s effective date. Even if the heart attack occurred while the policy was expected, you should only expect it to cover necessary treatment for a life-threatening situation and not ongoing care.

The event must occur when traveling, be unexpected, and require urgent medical care. International travelers insurance is not intended to cover routine maintenance or anticipated treatments for any illnesses. The examples above are quite simple, and the claims department of the visitors insurance company will make a determination for the claim. Even if the required medical treatment for a pre-existing condition isn’t covered, some insurers will provide a phone number you can call to get referred to quality medical facilities in the area you are visiting. Some policies do have medical evacuation coverage, so this kind of insurance can cover the cost of stabilization and then returning home for further treatment.

You can shop for travelers insurance that offers some coverage for acute onsets of pre-existing conditions here on this website.

Before making a final purchase, you must thoroughly read the policy information published by the insurance carrier, including their policy brochure and certificate. The insurance company's documents provide the definitive explanation of plan features, benefits, exclusions, limitations, claims handling, and other critical details. If you find any conflicts between our website and the insurance carrier’s documents, be advised the insurer’s documents take precedence.