How visitor insurance for parents works
You typically purchase a visitor insurance policy before you travel from a foreign country, but you can still get coverage if you’re already in the U.S. Visitor health insurance coverage starts as early as the day after applying with an insurance company. Policies typically range from five days to a full year. Some insurers allow you to extend or cancel your policy under certain conditions.
Like other insurance types, visitor insurance is there to help, if needed, for new and unexpected illnesses and injuries while traveling. It doesn’t extend to routine medical treatments, like regular doctor’s visits, eye exams, vaccines, or dental checkups.
Visitor insurance is considered secondary coverage, meaning it doesn’t kick in until after filing a claim through your primary medical insurance provider. Also, visitor health insurance may cover a higher percentage of medical bill costs when you use providers within the insurance company’s PPO network.
Coverage policies and procedures may vary between insurance companies. Generally, there are no copays involved with visitor health insurance, but some companies may charge one. Your policy may include co-insurance, which requires you to cover a specific percentage of medical costs.
Medical providers may work with the insurance company or require payment up front for medical costs. In that case, parents must file a claim through the insurance company to get reimbursed for those out-of-pocket medical costs.
Good to Know
Visitor insurance works similarly to other types of medical insurance. Insurers offer various plans with different levels of coverage, policy maximums, and deductibles. Companies may offer add-on policies like accidental death and dismemberment and pre-existing condition coverage. Premium rates and coverage can vary, so shop around to find the best value.
Visitor insurance claims
Insurance companies have their own process for filing insurance claims. Generally, if you’re not required to pay out of pocket up front, the medical provider submits the claim on your behalf to the insurance company.
The company will contact you directly. It may ask you to provide documentation or submit a claim form to continue the claims process. This is typically done online, but the insurance company may accept claims by email or mail. The claims department will determine your responsibility, if any, and you’ll receive a bill from the insurance company or medical provider.
If the provider requires payment up front, you must pay for any medical services received. Then, you can file a claim through the insurance company. If approved, you’ll be reimbursed for all, or a portion, of the cost based on your plan and policy maximums.
Claims are typically processed within two to four weeks but sometimes can take longer.
Types of visitor insurance for parents
Two types of visitor insurance for parents are available. The best visitor insurance plan depends on your needs.
Fixed visitor insurance plans
Fixed visitor insurance plans are low-cost alternatives to comprehensive health plans but offer less coverage. They come with an overall coverage maximum and set limits for each type of medical service or expense. Also, fixed plans come with deductibles for each type of medical event. Fixed visitor insurance policies are geared toward family members visiting short-term with lower health risks.
Comprehensive visitors insurance plans
Comprehensive coverage plans are more expensive than fixed policies but offer more complete coverage. Also, comprehensive policies have one overall deductible and policy maximum. Once you meet the deductible, insurance covers all eligible medical expenses up to the policy limit. Comprehensive visitor insurance coverage is ideal for family members visiting the U.S. short-term or older parents with higher medical risks.