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Travel Medical Insurance and Pregnancy Coverage

When traveling overseas, it is prudent to purchase travel medical insurance, as healthcare costs are very high in many developed countries and your domestic health insurance at home may not cover you abroad.  Additionally, there are many other travel-related benefits provided in travel medical insurance.

For a young family traveling abroad, one common situation is when the lady is pregnant and the customer wants to know whether pregnancy and childbirth are covered in travel medical insurance.

Travel medical insurance is generally meant to cover any new medical conditions, injuries, or accidents that may unexpectedly occur after the effective date of the policy. They are not meant to cover routine expenses or any expenses that you are certain to incur. Pregnancy is a known event for which you would have to go for routine checkups, ultrasounds, and dealing with morning sickness, as well as childbirth and newborn care.

No short-term insurance policy can afford to cover such expected expenses, as that is not what they are designed for and they don’t charge a high-enough premium from everyone to be able to do that. Some people want to travel specifically to countries like the U.S. so that their child can become a U.S. citizen, and they are looking for the insurance company to pay for all the costs. Insurance obviously does not work like that.

As an exception: Atlas Travel insurance provides coverage for complications of pregnancy up to first 26 weeks. This coverage is for symptoms which are entirely different from the regular expenses associated with pregnancy and childbirth.

Atlas America provides coverage for persons whose travel includes the U.S., while Atlas International provides coverage for persons whose travel excludes the U.S.

Even though travel medical insurance does not cover pregnancy-related expenses, you should still consider purchasing it—because you never know what other new sickness, injuries, or accidents may occur while on the trip. While being pregnant, you need to consider not only your baby’s health and safety, but your own as well.

If possible, you should avoid traveling abroad while pregnant. If you must travel at all during pregnancy, taking various precautions might help you, some of which are listed below:

  • Before traveling, you should consult your gynecologist for a thorough examination to make sure that you are completely fit to travel abroad. If you have any complications or a high-risk pregnancy, your doctor would advise you to not travel at all. Don’t go against your doctor’s advice.
  • Avoid traveling to places that have extreme temperatures – either too cold or too hot. Make sure to drink lots of bottled water throughout the day to avoid any heat issues or dehydration.
  • You should travel only during the early phases of your pregnancy, preferably in the first trimester, and at most in the second trimester. Avoid traveling during third trimester by all means. In any case, various airlines have restrictions on traveling, depending upon how far you are into the pregnancy.
  • Do not participate in any hazardous activities or rides that may be dangerous to you and your baby. Many theme parks in developed countries would not allow you to ride in such cases anyway, and there would be signs posted for each ride regarding what to expect and who should not ride. Please follow these instructions strictly.
  • Avoid traveling to areas where there are frequent diseases (dengue, malaria, chikungunya, typhoid, cholera, flu) and where sanitation is poor, water quality may be questionable, and healthcare facilities are poor in general.

In any case, you should inquire about the delivery costs, including the costs for delivery complications arising while on your trip. In the U.S., the regular delivery costs may range from $15,000 to $20,000. If you or the baby run into unexpected complications, the cost may be over $100,000 or $200,000. Make sure that you will have the funds available to pay for such unexpected expenses, as no travel insurance companies would cover that amount.

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