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Complete guide to purchasing travel health insurance for elderly travellers visiting the United States

Seniors over 80 are usually at a higher risk of falling ill or getting injured when traveling, so it’s vital they have a good travel insurance plan— especially if they are traveling to the US, where healthcare costs are so high. 

Without a valid travel insurance policy, seniors may pay huge amounts of money for a doctor’s appointment, hospital visit, or medical attention while abroad.  While travel insurance for seniors over 80 is not obligatory, it will be beneficial as seniors can travel with peace of mind.

Do Seniors Over 80 Need Travel Insurance for the US?

Seniors over 80 who want to travel, should have valid travel insurance that includes medical coverage. Because of their age, they are more likely to require medical attention while abroad or require an emergency trip cancellation, repatriation, or evacuation. Hence the importance of a good travel insurance policy, even though it may not legally be required.

How Can Seniors Over 80 Find an Insurance Plan?

Despite the fact that it’s very important for seniors to have a good insurance plan, they still have difficulty finding a suitable travel insurance policy because of their age. In addition, most insurance companies limit the overall pay of the insurance policy. For example, for people under 60, the maximum limit can go up to $2,000,000, while for seniors over 80 can go up to $50,000. While this may seem a lot, when it comes to emergency medical evacuation and advanced medical care, the policy will barely cover those costs. 

However, many insurance companies offer policies for persons over 80; you just have to shop around and read the fine print carefully to ensure that your travel insurance plan covers the areas you need. 

Coverage Options for Seniors Over 80 

In case you are a senior over 80, you have to make sure that in addition to basic coverage, your plan includes the following benefits as well: 

  • Medical emergency expenses cover. 
  • Trip cancellation cover.
  • Emergency medical transportation. 
  • Repatriation of remains in case of unexpected death. 
  • Acute onset of pre-existing conditions. 

Cost of Travel Insurance for Seniors

Travel insurance policies for seniors usually cost around 7% or 9% of the whole trip costs. However, each insurance company offers different prices based on your specific age, destination, length of the visit, and the cost of the whole trip. One of the most affordable prices for a comprehensive plan for seniors is around $390— the price of travel insurance for persons over 80 can go up to $700. Usually, travel insurance policies tend to be more expensive the older the policy buyer is. 

How Can Seniors Save Money on Travel Insurance?

Here are a few tips to keep in mind to save money when purchasing travel insurance: 

  • Use a comparison website. Use an insurance comparison website such as Insubuy or tool to compare different insurance plans and see what benefits they offer and which plans are more affordable. 
  • Don’t buy benefits you don’t need. Don’t buy insurance for refundable options. You don’t need insurance if you have a refundable trip or airplane ticket. Plus, you save up if you opt not to buy the “cancel for any reason” policy. 
  • Match your insurance with your destination. Travel insurance tends to be more expensive when the US (and other countries like Japan and Canada) is included. If you aren’t visiting any of these countries, opt to exclude them from your insurance coverage. 
  • Buy directly from an insurance company. Don’t buy insurance from your travel agent. In these cases, your insurance will come at a higher price so that your travel agent can make a profit; that is why you should buy the insurance policy directly from the insurance company or an insurance broker. 

Can Seniors Over 80 Get Coverage for Pre-Existing Conditions?

Finding a travel insurance plan that covers pre-existing conditions for seniors over 80 can be very difficult. However, there are a few ways your travel insurance can help you reduce the costs of medical attention due to your pre-existing conditions. 

Firstly, ensure your travel insurance policy includes a pre-existing medical condition exclusion waiver. If you purchase an insurance plan with this waiver, your insurance will still cover you for any issues related to your pre-existing conditions. However, most insurance companies require you to meet the following requirements to make this waiver valid: 

  • You bought your policy 14 days before your trip. 
  • You had no medical issues stopping you from traveling when you purchased your insurance policy. 

Secondly, you can look for specialist insurance that deals specifically with coverage for seniors over 80. You can tailor your insurance plan according to your medical problems, but you must remember that this insurance policy tends to be more costly than your average plan. 

Best Travel Insurance for Seniors Over 80

Travel insurance policies for seniors over 80 tend to have restricted policy maximum options, fewer benefits, and higher premiums. So, the best type of health insurance policy for seniors is those that offer an affordable premium by including a higher maximum limit for medical issues plus pre-existing conditions. Some of the best insurance plans for seniors include the following:

  • Safe Travels USA Comprehensive
  • Patriot America Plus
  • Atlas America
  • Patriot Platinum

Tips for Buying Insurance for Seniors

To make sure you are buying the best policy possible for your travels and according to your age, then follow the tips below:

  • Make sure that your insurance covers at least $250,000 of medical expenses. 
  • Buy an insurance policy that offers a wide range of coverage related to medical expenses, anything from a simple hospital visit to emergency medical evacuation— with at least $250,000 in medical evacuation coverage. 
  • Check whether your insurance plan includes a waiver for your pre-existing conditions and whether they offer coverage for your pre-existing conditions. 
  • Shop around and compare travel insurance plans, check different companies, and what policies they offer for seniors over 80. 
  • Buy your insurance as early as possible, especially if you’re still 79. Buy your insurance plan before your birthday, as your policy is designed to protect you with your current age and not for your future birthday. 

Is Senior Travel Insurance Worth It?

Here are a few reasons why senior travel insurance is a smart purchase: 

  • Seniors are more likely to get injured. While it’s unpleasant to think about, the truth is that according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), seniors over 80 are more likely to get injured due to falling. They’re also most likely to visit a healthcare center due to high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart attacks. That is why it’s important to have valid travel insurance that covers possible medical issues.
  • Accidents can always happen. Whether you are a senior or not, accidents, injuries, medical complications, and travel emergencies can always occur— having travel insurance lowers the risks of paying high medical fees during your trip.
  • Your health insurance does not cover travel. Most home health insurance won’t cover trips abroad; even if it did, it would only offer a basic coverage plan without any important additional benefits when you travel. 
  • You may have no choice. Even if you have a good health policy from your home country that covers you during travels, you may still be required to purchase a travel insurance policy. If you need to apply for a visa for the country you’re visiting, you’ll be required to present proof of valid travel insurance covering your trip. In addition, some embassies may have a preferred insurance company, so make sure you check that out before applying for a visa. 
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