Pre-Existing Conditions Waiver - 2021 Review
For many people, the term Pre-existing Conditions makes you believe insurance won't cover any medical condition you've ever had. That might be the case for health insurance, but it's rarely the case for travel insurance.
If you have a Pre-existing Medical Condition, don't worry. Your travel insurance can probably cover it if you buy it early.
Look for travel insurance plans that offer a Waiver of Pre-existing Condition Exclusion. A policy with a Waiver lets you cancel or interrupt your trip, or receive medical treatment if it's tied to a Pre-existing Condition.
In this article, you will learn what travel insurers consider a Pre-existing Condition, how a Pre-existing Medical Condition Waiver works, and what to do if you cannot get one.
Understanding Pre-Existing Conditions
All travel insurance policies exclude coverage for Pre-existing Conditions. But, Pre-existing Conditions are not nearly as ominous as they are in health insurance.
Most insurers do not care about your entire health history. Instead, they only want to know about the 60* days immediately before you bought the policy.
They call it the Look Back Period because that's how far they look back at your medical history to determine if you have a Pre-existing Condition.
The Look Back Period wants to know in the past 60* days if you had:
- New medical condition (injury or illness)
- Worsened medical condition
- Medical treatment
- Medical test
- Taken new medication
- Received medication change
- Doctor recommended treatment or test not yet performed
If your condition is older than 60* days, stable and unchanged, with no medication changes/additions, then it will be covered without a Pre-existing Condition Waiver.
However, if you went to the doctor last week for kidney stones, you have a Pre-existing Condition and want travel insurance with a Waiver.
*The most generous policies have a 60 day Look Back, while others may have 90 or 180 day Look Back Periods. The shorter the Look Back, the more generous the policy.
Why Does It Matter if Pre-existing Conditions Are Covered?
As discussed, travel insurance excludes coverage for Pre-existing Conditions. You might think, "I'm healthy, I don't have any Pre-existing Conditions," and we hope that's true.
But Pre-existing Condition coverage applies to the main elements of travel insurance: Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Medical Insurance, and Medical Evacuation.
If your colitis acts up a week before you leave on the trip, and the doctor says you need to stay home for treatment, you have a problem. The policy will not cover Cancellation claims because it excludes Pre-existing Conditions. Now, you lose money on trip cancellation penalties and a travel insurance policy that does not cover your needs.
So, you need a Pre-existing Medical Condition Waiver.
How to Buy a Pre-existing Medical Condition Waiver
One of the most important things to consider when buying travel medical insurance is the Pre-existing Condition Waiver.
A Waiver covers medical problems that occur before your trip causing cancellation, or during your trip requiring medical treatment.
For instance, if you experience a recurrence of a condition that causes you to shorten your trip, the Waiver also protects your Trip Interruption, so it is covered.
If you want a Waiver included in your policy, be sure you meet the eligibility requirements when purchasing travel insurance.
First, travel insurers require that you buy the trip insurance within a week or two of paying the deposit. Before you pay a deposit, research travel insurance. That way, you know which trip insurance plan you want when it's time to book.
Second, waiver eligibility requires that the traveler is medically fit to travel when you purchase the policy. If you're already injured or ill before buying the plan, this requirement prevents you from receiving fraudulent compensation for canceling a trip.
Third, most trip insurance Waiver programs require you to insure all prepaid, non-refundable trip costs. The John Hancock travel insurance plans are the only exception. In most states, they do not require you to cover 100% of prepaid, non-refundable trip costs to activate the Waiver.
Conclusion – Check Your Options
There are many factors to consider when dealing with Pre-existing Medical Conditions. Consider your family's situation carefully when buying travel insurance. Always be completely transparent about the health of anyone who might influence your trip and read your policy carefully.
If you want your travel insurance to cover Pre-existing Conditions, make sure you buy coverage with a Waiver. Get the plan early and cover all of your trip costs.
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