When you plan a trip abroad, one of the most important things you have to prepare is getting travel health insurance. This especially concerns travelers who have an existing ailment, which may appear during the trip.

However, finding health insurance with pre-existing condition coverage may not be possible.

Does US Travel Insurance Cover Pre-Existing Conditions?

Unfortunately, travel insurance companies do not really offer plans that cover pre-existing conditions. Travel health insurance is supposed to cover you for any medical emergencies that happen while abroad, such as an accident or sickness – but not an ailment you already had on the day that the travel health insurance plan came into function.


There are plans that will offer coverage for the acute onset of a pre-existing condition.

Pre-Existing Condition vs. the Acute Onset of a Pre-Existing Condition in Travel Health Insurance

In the travel insurance world, “pre-existing condition” and “the acute onset of a pre-existing condition” mean different things. The most important difference is that travel insurance companies will not offer coverage for the first, whereas some might offer coverage for the second.

Pre-existing condition

A pre-existing condition is defined as an illness, injury, disease, or another physical, mental, or nervous condition, disorder or ailment that you had at the time you applied for travel health insurance or at the time immediately preceding it (regardless of whether you knew about it or not).

Most travel health insurance companies do not offer coverage for a pre-existing condition. That’s because, as previously mentioned, travel health insurance is supposed to cover you for any medical emergencies that happened while you are in the US, not to substitute the health care you would have received for an illness or medical condition in your home country.

Acute onset of a pre-existing condition

The acute onset of a pre-existing condition is the unexpected and immediate reappearance of a previous condition that happens suddenly and without previous warning, is short-lived, progresses rapidly, and requires immediate medical care.

A pre-existing condition that is progressing over a period of time (and is present at the time your travel insurance coverage begins) does not qualify for acute onset of a pre-existing condition, and your health insurance plan will likely not cover it.

However, the exact conditions will change from one plan to the next.

Health Insurance Plans With Pre-Existing Condition Coverage for Green Card Holders

Green Card holders in the US are permanent residents and therefore qualify for ObamaCare. This means that they are subject to the rules of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for residents of the U.S.

According to these new rules, health insurance companies are not allowed to refuse coverage to US citizens or permanent residents on the basis of a pre-existing condition. Therefore, for Green Card holders, pre-existing medical conditions are covered in their health insurance plan and treated just like any other medical condition.

See the best health insurance plans for Green Card holders.

Note: If you are in the US temporarily, or you do not have a Green Card, you are considered a visitor, so you are not eligible for coverage under the ACA. You have to get visitors’ health insurance.

Best Health Insurance Plans for Travelers With Pre-Existing Conditions

Here are six of the best plans that offer health insurance coverage for the acute onset of a pre-existing condition: