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Buy American or Foreign Visitor Insurance

Buying visitor medical insurance from an American insurance provider for visiting USA, or from a local home country non-american foreign insurance provider, is a common question and an important decision to make by all visitors to USA. The traveler to America can buy a policy in his/her home country from a local foreign insurance provider at a much lower price than policies offered by insurance providers in western nations. But should premium cost alone be a factor to determine the best visitor medical insurance plan to purchase? Let us review the options as to why buy American visitor insurance.

The United States has a much more advanced visitor health insurance system than many other western/developed countries such as UK, France, Germany, Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, etc. The insurance companies and the visitor insurance policies themselves offer relevant benefits that Americans expect in a health insurance policy. Most companies that offer visitor health insurance policies in the U.S. have been in business serving international visitors and expatriates for a long-time. The insurance company underwriting the visitor medical insurance plans offered by the visitor insurance providers are ranked by independent rating agencies for their financial stability. However, foreign insurance companies offering foreign visitor insurance policies in the visitors home country are not typically ranked in the same manner and their product reputation and durantion in business is not very clear.

Visitors insurance policies issued by U.S. companies typically use a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) network. These networks contract reduced pricing with health care providers to perform services at a lower rate. The PPO network also allows health care bills to be directly sent to the insurance company. This presents a huge advantage for the international visitor as claims for health expenses incurred is easy. On the contrary, foreign insurance companies are not well accepted by doctors/hospitals in the visiting country as promised by the foreign policy with coverage is accepted everywhere.

Visitors medical insurance from American companies provide customers with an insurance ID card. This card is generally the first thing that doctors’ offices ask for upon admission. Foreign based visitor insurance providers may or may-not give customers an insurance ID card. These ID cards cleary identify the PPO network which hospitals and doctor offices in western countries accept and understand easily.

With American visitor insurance plans, the international visitor can choose between a fixed benefit or comprehensive coverage policy based upon which plans best suits their needs and/or which visitor insurance plan is affordable. Foreign visitor insurance policies have age restrictions, convert to a fixed benefit policy after centain age limit and usally do not insure seniors over 70 years of age.

US visitor insurance plans offered by American Insurance providers are regulated by the Insurance departments of the various U.S. states in which they offer coverage. This provides the international visitor an additional advantage to purchase from a US visitor insurance policy as opposed to countries also do not have a legal system to regulate foreign insurance companies. If one has a problem with an American based insurance company not paying appropriately, one can file a complaint with the insurance departments in the corresponding US state.

International visitors and foreign travelers should remember that price is not the only factor to consider when shopping for insurance for visitors. When comparing U.S. company rates to foreign company rates, the customer will typically receive the level of coverage and service they pay for.

It is very important for the internationa visitor to buy visitors insurance for visiting USA or travel abroad. The process of comparing foreign or US providers should be undertaken carefully. U.S. based insurance companies guarantee payment and offer a high level of service, which is not always the same with foreign policies.