The preexisting-condition clause

By Wayne Wirtanen
This item appears on page 58 of the September 2012 issue.
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(Second of two parts)

Part one of this article (July ’12, pg. 58) was aimed at those who choose to take out a “zero trip cost” travel insurance policy, which I call the “Betty James Strategy” (Sept. ’10, pg. 54), but who want the preexisting-medical-condition clause to be waived. I included a chart that compared a few insurance companies that offer the “zero trip cost” policy (which covers overseas medical expenses and emergency medical evacuation ONLY) and which also allow the clause to be waived.

This second part of the article is for travelers who also want the preexisting-condition clause to be waived but who choose to get a standard, full-feature travel insurance policy, one which, in addition to overseas medical and emergency-medical-evacuation coverage, also includes coverage for trip delay/cancellation/interruption, baggage loss, etc.

Ten travel insurance plans

The chart below compares the types of coverage plus the requirements and costs of several popular travel insurance policies. To help you understand the chart, let me explain some of the insurance terms used on it.

1 2 3 4 5
Travel insurance company Insurance policy plan Primary/secondary medical coverage Emergency- medical- evacuation coverage Total trip cost must be insured
TravelSafe  Vacation Classic  Primary, $100K  $1M  No
M.H. Ross  Advantage Bridge  Primary, $100K  $500K  No
CSA Travel Protection Freestyle  Secondary, $50K  $250K  No
CSA Travel Protection Freestyle Luxe Secondary, $250K  $1M  No 
Travelex  Travel Select  Primary, $50K  $500K  No 
Travelex  Travel Max  Primary, $100K  $1M  No 
Travel Insured Int'l  Trip Protector  Secondary, $50K  $500K  Yes 
Travel Insured Int'l  Trip Protector Gold  Primary, $100K  $1M  Yes 
Travel Guard  Gold  Primary, $25K*  $500K  Yes 
Travel Guard  Platinum  Primary, $50K*  $1M  Yes 

 

6 7 8 9 10
Period in which to qualify for waiver after deposit Pre-ex look-back period For whom the pre-ex look-back period applies Cost of 30 days’ coverage for 75-year-old with ‘zero trip cost’ policy Cost of 30 days’ coverage for 75-year-old with full-feature policy on $2,500 trip
21 days  180 days  Traveler / Non-T family  $133  $314 
15 days  180 days  Traveler / Non-T family  $70  $286 
By final payment  180 days  Traveler / Non-T family  $54  $256 
By final payment  180 days  Traveler / Non-T family  $65  $312 
21 days  60 days  Traveler only  $69  $275 
30 days  60 days  Traveler only  $91  $370 
21 days  180 days  Traveler / Non-T family  $57  $254 
30 days  180 days  Traveler / Non-T family  $59  $300 
15 days  180 days  Traveler / Non-T family  $77  $290 
15 days  90 days  Traveler / Non-T family  $97  $296 

The chart above compares the coverage, requirements and costs of a few companies’ travel insurance plans, considering both “zero trip cost” and full-feature policies. All of the policies listed allow for the preexisting-condition clause to be waived; however, with the companies Travel Insured International and Travel Guard you must purchase a full-feature policy. Also, all of the companies listed will sell a “zero trip cost” policy (covering overseas medical and emergency medical evacuation only), but only TravelSafe, M.H. Ross, CSA Travel Protection and Travelex provide plans that allow for a waiver of the preexisting-condition clause.

*Secondary if purchased past 15 days from first trip payment/deposit. All rates are subject to change.

Column 1 lists a few popular travel insurance companies.

Column 2 lists the names of specific travel insurance plans that they offer.

Column 3 shows the maximum amount of primary or secondary medical coverage that is provided in each plan. (Generally, when filing a claim with a primary-payer plan, you’ll have less paperwork than if filing with a secondary-payer plan.)

Column 4 shows the maximum amount that each plan will provide for emergency-medical evacuation.

Column 5, titled “Total trip cost must be insured,” indicates whether or not you must buy a full-feature travel insurance policy in order to obtain a plan that allows the preexisting-condition clause to be waived.

Column 6 shows how much time you have in which to purchase the travel insurance policy, after making your initial deposit on the cost of the trip, in order to qualify for a waiver of the preexisting-condition clause. For example, for a waiver to be given by TravelSafe, you must purchase your insurance policy within 21 days of making your first payment for the trip.

Column 7 — Without a waiver, in order to collect on a claim, you will need to demonstrate that your pre-trip medical condition (for which you are filing a claim) has been stable for a certain period of time. Column 7 indicates the number of days — the “look-back” period — for which you will need to demonstrate that your pre-trip medical condition has been stable.

(“Stable” is defined, basically, as a person’s health having been unchanged, requiring no medical attention and requiring no change in medications, for a specified period of time.)

Column 8 indicates whether the look-back period applies to only the policyholder Traveler or to the Traveler and any Non-Traveling (Non-T) family member.

The following list generally defines who qualifies as a Non-T family member: your or your traveling companion’s dependent, spouse, child, spouse’s child, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, parent, brother, sister, grandparent, grandchild, step-brother, step-sister, step-parent, parent-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, guardian, domestic partner, foster child or ward.

When applicable, a claim will be paid if your trip is canceled due to an accident involving one or more of these family members. As the chart indicates, however, if your trip is canceled due to the unexpected illness of one or more family members, a claim will be paid only if the family member’s medical condition has been stable, as defined in the policy, for the number of look-back days designated in the policy.

For example, if Granny’s medical condition was the reason you canceled your trip, your Travel Guard Gold policy and most of the other policies on the chart would pay the claim only if Granny’s medical condition could be demonstrated to have been stable for the policy’s “Pre-ex look-back period” (60 to 180 days prior to the date of the purchase of the travel insurance policy, depending on the policy).

Notice that with a Travelex policy, a claim related to any one of the above family members would be paid without any look-back conditions. All that would be needed for a trip-cancellation/interruption claim to be paid if Granny had health issues would be the required documentation from a licensed physician indicating that her medical condition was sudden and unexpected or that a preexisting condition had worsened. A good reason to consider a Travelex policy!

Column 9 gives example costs of insurance in a particular scenario. For each plan, it shows the cost of 30 days’ coverage for someone age 75 who purchases a “zero trip cost” policy (which will provide coverage for overseas medical expenses and emergency medical evacuation only).

Column 10 gives example costs for a slightly different scenario. For each plan, it shows the cost of 30 days’ coverage for someone age 75 who is insuring a trip that costs $2,500 and who purchases a standard, full-feature policy (which will provide overseas medical and emergency-medical-evacuation coverage in addition to coverage for trip delay, trip cancellation, trip interruption, baggage loss, etc.).

Special notes

All of the policies on the chart allow the preexisting-condition clause to be waived. However, the companies Travel Insured International and Travel Guard will allow the clause to be waived only if you purchase a full-feature policy, with the full cost of the trip being insured. (Also, be aware that some of the most basic travel insurance policies you will run across will not waive the clause under any conditions.)

Alternatively, all of the companies listed on this month’s chart will sell a “zero trip cost” policy, but only four of the companies provide plans that allow for a waiver of the preexisting-condition clause: TravelSafe, M.H. Ross, CSA Travel Protection and Travelex. (The details of some of those policies were shown on the chart in part one of this article, in the July issue.)

For your reference

TravelSafe Insurance (40 Commerce Dr., Box 7050, Wyomissing, PA, 19610; 800/523-8020).

M.H. Ross Travel Insurance Services, Inc. (9225 Ward Parkway, Ste. 200, Kansas City MO 64114; 800/423-3632).

CSA Travel Protection (Box 939057, San Diego, CA 92193-9057; 800/873-9855).

Travelex (Box 641070, Omaha, NE 68164-7070; 800/228-9792).

Travel Insured International (52 S. Oakland Ave., Box 280568, East Hartford, CT 06128-0568; 800/243-3174).

Travel Guard (3300 Business Park Dr., Stevens Point, WI 54482; 800/826-4919).

By the way, the chart on page 59 was provided courtesy of Dan Drennen, a travel insurance broker at Travel Insurance Center (Omaha, NE; 402/343-3621).

Good news for senior travelers

Fortunately, for senior travelers, among travel insurance policies that offer a waiver of the preexisting-condition clause, most no longer have an upper-age limitation on those who wish to qualify for that benefit.

Happy trails!

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

(Second of two parts)

Part one of this article (July ’12, pg. 58) was aimed at those who choose to take out a “zero trip cost” travel insurance policy, which I call the “Betty James Strategy” (Sept. ’10, pg. 54), but who want the preexisting-medical-condition clause to be waived. I included a chart that compared a few insurance companies that offer the “zero trip cost” policy (which covers overseas medical expenses and emergency medical evacuation ONLY) and which also allow the clause to be waived.

This second part of the article is for travelers who also want the preexisting-condition clause to be waived but who choose to get a standard, full-feature travel insurance policy, one which, in addition to overseas medical and emergency-medical-evacuation coverage, also includes coverage for trip delay/cancellation/interruption, baggage loss, etc.

Ten travel insurance plans

The chart below compares the types of coverage plus the requirements and costs of several popular travel insurance policies. To help you understand the chart, let me explain some of the insurance terms used on it.

1 2 3 4 5
Travel insurance company Insurance policy plan Primary/secondary medical coverage Emergency- medical- evacuation coverage Total trip cost must be insured
TravelSafe  Vacation Classic  Primary, $100K  $1M  No
M.H. Ross  Advantage Bridge  Primary, $100K  $500K  No
CSA Travel Protection Freestyle  Secondary, $50K  $250K  No
CSA Travel Protection Freestyle Luxe Secondary, $250K  $1M  No 
Travelex  Travel Select  Primary, $50K  $500K  No 
Travelex  Travel Max  Primary, $100K  $1M  No 
Travel Insured Int'l  Trip Protector  Secondary, $50K  $500K  Yes 
Travel Insured Int'l  Trip Protector Gold  Primary, $100K  $1M  Yes 
Travel Guard  Gold  Primary, $25K*  $500K  Yes 
Travel Guard  Platinum  Primary, $50K*  $1M  Yes 

 

6 7 8 9 10
Period in which to qualify for waiver after deposit Pre-ex look-back period For whom the pre-ex look-back period applies Cost of 30 days’ coverage for 75-year-old with ‘zero trip cost’ policy Cost of 30 days’ coverage for 75-year-old with full-feature policy on $2,500 trip
21 days  180 days  Traveler / Non-T family  $133  $314 
15 days  180 days  Traveler / Non-T family  $70  $286 
By final payment  180 days  Traveler / Non-T family  $54  $256 
By final payment  180 days  Traveler / Non-T family  $65  $312 
21 days  60 days  Traveler only  $69  $275 
30 days  60 days  Traveler only  $91  $370 
21 days  180 days  Traveler / Non-T family  $57  $254 
30 days  180 days  Traveler / Non-T family  $59  $300 
15 days  180 days  Traveler / Non-T family  $77  $290 
15 days  90 days  Traveler / Non-T family  $97  $296 

The chart above compares the coverage, requirements and costs of a few companies’ travel insurance plans, considering both “zero trip cost” and full-feature policies. All of the policies listed allow for the preexisting-condition clause to be waived; however, with the companies Travel Insured International and Travel Guard you must purchase a full-feature policy. Also, all of the companies listed will sell a “zero trip cost” policy (covering overseas medical and emergency medical evacuation only), but only TravelSafe, M.H. Ross, CSA Travel Protection and Travelex provide plans that allow for a waiver of the preexisting-condition clause.

*Secondary if purchased past 15 days from first trip payment/deposit. All rates are subject to change.

Column 1 lists a few popular travel insurance companies.

Column 2 lists the names of specific travel insurance plans that they offer.

Column 3 shows the maximum amount of primary or secondary medical coverage that is provided in each plan. (Generally, when filing a claim with a primary-payer plan, you’ll have less paperwork than if filing with a secondary-payer plan.)

Column 4 shows the maximum amount that each plan will provide for emergency-medical evacuation.

Column 5, titled “Total trip cost must be insured,” indicates whether or not you must buy a full-feature travel insurance policy in order to obtain a plan that allows the preexisting-condition clause to be waived.

Column 6 shows how much time you have in which to purchase the travel insurance policy, after making your initial deposit on the cost of the trip, in order to qualify for a waiver of the preexisting-condition clause. For example, for a waiver to be given by TravelSafe, you must purchase your insurance policy within 21 days of making your first payment for the trip.

Column 7 — Without a waiver, in order to collect on a claim, you will need to demonstrate that your pre-trip medical condition (for which you are filing a claim) has been stable for a certain period of time. Column 7 indicates the number of days — the “look-back” period — for which you will need to demonstrate that your pre-trip medical condition has been stable.

(“Stable” is defined, basically, as a person’s health having been unchanged, requiring no medical attention and requiring no change in medications, for a specified period of time.)

Column 8 indicates whether the look-back period applies to only the policyholder Traveler or to the Traveler and any Non-Traveling (Non-T) family member.

The following list generally defines who qualifies as a Non-T family member: your or your traveling companion’s dependent, spouse, child, spouse’s child, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, parent, brother, sister, grandparent, grandchild, step-brother, step-sister, step-parent, parent-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, guardian, domestic partner, foster child or ward.

When applicable, a claim will be paid if your trip is canceled due to an accident involving one or more of these family members. As the chart indicates, however, if your trip is canceled due to the unexpected illness of one or more family members, a claim will be paid only if the family member’s medical condition has been stable, as defined in the policy, for the number of look-back days designated in the policy.

For example, if Granny’s medical condition was the reason you canceled your trip, your Travel Guard Gold policy and most of the other policies on the chart would pay the claim only if Granny’s medical condition could be demonstrated to have been stable for the policy’s “Pre-ex look-back period” (60 to 180 days prior to the date of the purchase of the travel insurance policy, depending on the policy).

Notice that with a Travelex policy, a claim related to any one of the above family members would be paid without any look-back conditions. All that would be needed for a trip-cancellation/interruption claim to be paid if Granny had health issues would be the required documentation from a licensed physician indicating that her medical condition was sudden and unexpected or that a preexisting condition had worsened. A good reason to consider a Travelex policy!

Column 9 gives example costs of insurance in a particular scenario. For each plan, it shows the cost of 30 days’ coverage for someone age 75 who purchases a “zero trip cost” policy (which will provide coverage for overseas medical expenses and emergency medical evacuation only).

Column 10 gives example costs for a slightly different scenario. For each plan, it shows the cost of 30 days’ coverage for someone age 75 who is insuring a trip that costs $2,500 and who purchases a standard, full-feature policy (which will provide overseas medical and emergency-medical-evacuation coverage in addition to coverage for trip delay, trip cancellation, trip interruption, baggage loss, etc.).

Special notes

All of the policies on the chart allow the preexisting-condition clause to be waived. However, the companies Travel Insured International and Travel Guard will allow the clause to be waived only if you purchase a full-feature policy, with the full cost of the trip being insured. (Also, be aware that some of the most basic travel insurance policies you will run across will not waive the clause under any conditions.)

Alternatively, all of the companies listed on this month’s chart will sell a “zero trip cost” policy, but only four of the companies provide plans that allow for a waiver of the preexisting-condition clause: TravelSafe, M.H. Ross, CSA Travel Protection and Travelex. (The details of some of those policies were shown on the chart in part one of this article, in the July issue.)

For your reference

TravelSafe Insurance (40 Commerce Dr., Box 7050, Wyomissing, PA, 19610; 800/523-8020).

M.H. Ross Travel Insurance Services, Inc. (9225 Ward Parkway, Ste. 200, Kansas City MO 64114; 800/423-3632).

CSA Travel Protection (Box 939057, San Diego, CA 92193-9057; 800/873-9855).

Travelex (Box 641070, Omaha, NE 68164-7070; 800/228-9792).

Travel Insured International (52 S. Oakland Ave., Box 280568, East Hartford, CT 06128-0568; 800/243-3174).

Travel Guard (3300 Business Park Dr., Stevens Point, WI 54482; 800/826-4919).

By the way, the chart on page 59 was provided courtesy of Dan Drennen, a travel insurance broker at Travel Insurance Center (Omaha, NE; 402/343-3621).

Good news for senior travelers

Fortunately, for senior travelers, among travel insurance policies that offer a waiver of the preexisting-condition clause, most no longer have an upper-age limitation on those who wish to qualify for that benefit.

Happy trails!