Selecting Coverages for Your Group Travel Medical Program
|Initially we think, how hard can this be? But two issues often get in the way.
First, whenever you make a selection of a benefit or a limit on behalf of somebody else, it can be a source of liability. This is why organizations often buy higher limits and more coverage than they really want to. It was a major incentive to our creation of Core Travel Insurance, because travelers under that program can adjust many of their own limits.
But typically when you’re considering medical insurance limits that apply to all travelers, consider the most expensive place that your travelers go, and engineer backwards from there. Don’t assume that the US is the only place with the potential for big medical expense; several other countries in the Americas, Europe, and the Asia Pacific can produce impressive bills too.
Do a little research on emergency hospitalization costs not only on the countries to which your travelers are going, but also in the countries to which they might be medically evacuated, should for some reason the care in their area not be considered adequate for their case.
When thinking about the medical evacuation risk, consider the distances that can apply to getting your travelers home. Sometimes this turns out to be as compelling a cost factor as the medical severity of the emergency.
This is important too when considering limits for benefits like trip interruption or reunion, which allows travelers or their family members to come together quickly in a medical emergency. How far might they have to travel on a minute’s notice? The cost of that pricey ticket should inform the minimum limits for those benefits.
Second, comparing benefits across the board is tricky. Throw out the idea that it’s apples to apples with the highest limits winning. Even when the benefits seem to be the same, the ways that the coverage responds can be so different.
The biggest buying mistake we see is comparative charts created straight from travel insurance marketing brochures or summaries. These don’t contain enough information to allow a good decision.
Sometimes a nice high limit is offered because critical coverage is excluded. Sometimes a definition deep in the policy terms, like for a long pre-existing condition term, can make an awesome difference in what might be paid.
Some benefits look fantastic but are so rarely used that this may be why they can be so generously offered. Some seem stingy but are workhorses. Aspects of benefits that seem trite or unloveable, like Accidental Death & Dismemberment, could play a key role when there’s been some serious trauma, if the wording is right.
Our advice is not to focus on limits when you are selecting coverage, but compare the way the benefit is described and they way your travelers will use it. Focus on the coverage that both of you will want in place when that travel insurance is called into play.