Pre-Existing Conditions for International Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance For Pre existing Health Conditions

Majority of the aged people traveling abroad have some form of pre-existing conditions (Blood pressure, Diabetes, Arthritis, Heart problems, dialysis, tumor, etc). Some insurers namely Religare, Tata AIG and Cholamandalam MS cover preexisting conditions in life threatening emergency situations till the patient is stable, or to relieve acute pain. In Cholamandalam plans, the cover is up to the sum insured, Tata AIG restricts it to US$1500 and Religare to 10% of the Sum Insured up to a maximum of US$10000. Unfortunately, there is no travel medical insurance plan which fully covers pre-existing conditions.

A question one might ask is whether it is feasible to buy a travel health insurance, when pre-existing conditions are not covered. The answer lies in practicality. It must be noted that not all health issues are due to pre-existing conditions. The probability of any health hazard due to pre-existing condition in most cases is 5 to 10%. It is the other 90%, you should think about. You surely need a health insurance to protect yourself from escalating health expenses.

Two common health concerns are general sickness/illness due to change of weather, food habits etc. and road accidents, as one road trips most of the time while travelling abroad.

Having a travel health insurance will give you the peace of mind and you can enjoy your vacation or business trip.

Is There Any Solution for Visitors with Pre-Existing Conditions?
The most common pre-existing conditions we hear about are blood pressure and diabetes. Even though, people with these conditions can be in good and stable condition, they may be dependent on medicines, insulin or regular checkup.
While it is true that, pre-existing conditions might not be covered , there are certain ways you can take precautions to prepare yourself for such a situation and avoid it from taking toll on you.

  • Here are few common and proven tips:
  • Buy a good Overseas Medical Insurance Plan.
  • Get a thorough and complete medical checkup done before you travel abroad. This will be useful for your trip and also help diagnose any hidden medical issue/s. It helps you stay assured and feel secure.
  • Carry sufficient amounts of medicines from your home country.
  • People with High-blood pressure and/or Diabetes should consider buying self measuring equipments .These are inexpensive and very useful. The price of these vary between $15 to $100.
  • Pay attention to your eating habits, walk/exercise regularly, make friends, measure your blood pressure and sugar on a regular basis.
  • Host children should not make hectic plans for their parents. They must ask them from time to time whether they have any problems. Parents should not feel offended to receive instructions from their children as it is for their well-being and safety.

How can one determine the pre-existing medical conditions for travel insurance?

In simpler terms, any medical condition that existed before you secured your international travel insurance is a pre-existing condition.

There are 3 general ways in which a health condition can be linked with a pre-existing condition:

1. Health History Form
All new patients are required to fill out this form before visiting any doctor in the United States and other countries. The form seeks information about the general health history of the patient and makes it binding on the doctor to properly diagnose and treat the patient.

2. Attending Physician's Opinion
During the consultation, the doctor or physician may ask the patient specific questions about his/her health history for proper diagnosis and treatment. The information will be used by the doctor to form an opinion about the health history of the patient, whether there was any pre-existing condition, and share the same with the travel insurance company.

3. Diagnosis and Lab Results
The doctor will communicate to the travel insurance company, the diagnostic results of the patient in the form of Doctor Notes , should there be any relevant information pertaining to a pre-existing condition.


Q1. What are pre-existing conditions? How do insurance companies determine these conditions?
Ans. Generally, pre-existing conditions include all such medical or physical conditions that cannot occur overnight, including high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis and any such condition. However, each insurance plan has its own definition of what is considered a pre-existing condition, hence you are advised to read more about the plan before purchasing the same. Any injury, illness, or medical condition that meets any of the following criteria will be considered a pre-existing condition: a) condition that requires you to seek medical advice, diagnosis, care, or treatment before the Effective Date of coverage under the policy, 2) condition for which manifestation, medical advice, diagnosis, care or treatment was recommended, received, or noticed prior to the Effective Date of coverage under the policy.

Q2. Who determines if it is a pre-existing condition?
Ans. The insurance company evaluates the attending physician's (doctor's and hospital's) statement, past and present medical records, history, and nature of treatment to determine if the condition is pre-existing.

Q3. Why pre-existing conditions are not covered by overseas health insurance plans?
Ans. Travel insurance plans are short terms plans. If they start covering pre-existing conditions, they will end up paying much more than they receive from the premiums they generate, and they will not be able to run their businesses profitable.

Q4. Why should I purchase visitor medical insurance if it does not cover pre-existing conditions?
Ans. Medical and health service costs in the USA and other countries are very high. The costs can be financially devastating especially in case of any emergency or accident and subsequent hospitalization. Visitors insurance is a means to insure against such unforeseen medical emergencies and should not be seen as a means to get medical treatment for existing medical problems.

Q5. I want to get my surgery done for some problem. Will my international travel insurance help?
Ans. No. Such situations come under pre-existing conditions; hence they will not be covered. Also it is one of the major exclusions of travel insurance.

Q6. I want to get a complete physical checkup done while in USA. Will my visitor insurance cover expenses for the checkup?
Ans. No, none of the visitor insurance covers physical checkup and any other preventive care.

Q7. I want to have a vision/eye test and get new pair of eyeglasses. Is this covered in the insurance?
Ans. No

Q8. Is pregnancy and prenatal care covered?
Ans. No