Inviting parents or other relatives from a foreign country to visit them in the US and spend some time together is a wonderful thing. While looking for visitors insurance, you may come across many products from many companies. Essentially, almost all of them fall into two major categories:
While comparing different products, especially from the US vs from the home country, it is very important to compare apples to apples. In other words, don’t compare the prices of a fixed coverage plan with comprehensive coverage plan.
Fixed coverage plans pay a fixed amount for each and every procedure, which are significantly lower compared to the high healthcare costs in the US. On the other hand, comprehensive coverage plans pay much high amounts, with many of them pay 100% to policy maximum, after the deductible, leaving you with minimal out of pocket costs in most cases.
We always recommend everyone to purchase only the comprehensive coverage plans. Of course, many people still purchase fixed coverage plans, simply because they are cheaper.
The following comparison highlights various features of fixed vs comprehensive coverage plans:
|Feature||Fixed Coverage||Comprehensive Coverage|
|Benefits||After deductible, pays a fixed amount for each and every procedure. You pay the entire difference yourself.||After deductible, pays a certain percentage (such as 80% or 90%) up to a certain amount such as $5,000, then pays 100% to policy maximum.|
|Deductible||Typically, per sickness or injury||Typically, once per the entire policy period|
|PPO Network||Most fixed coverage plans don’t participate in a PPO network.||Most comprehensive coverage plans participate in a PPO network, which makes it much easier with direct billing|
|Travel Related Coverage||It is generally not included||Included in most plans|
|Cost||Generally cheaper but leaves you liable to pay most of the expenses out of your pocket||Costs more but still reasonably priced and provides much better coverage|
|Policy Maximum||Typically, lower policy maximum, ranging from $25,000 to $175,000||Typically, higher policy maximum, ranging from $50,000 to $8,000,000|
Many people repeatedly hear that the healthcare is very expensive in the US. However, they may not exactly know how much expensive it is really is.
For example, if you fall down in a bathroom and break the hip, and if the surgery costs you $40,000, the fixed coverage plan may pay $3,300 minus the $50 deductible, for example. You will have to pay $36,700 out of your pocket. What good is such insurance?
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On the other hand, if you have purchased comprehensive coverage plan, after paying the deductible, it would cover most of the cost, with out-of-pocket maximums such as $500 or $1,000 or even nothing. That is really the adequate visitors insurance.
Even a simple visit to the emergency room may cost several thousand dollars. When you are covered only for $330, for example, you would have to pay the rest out of your pocket.
Therefore, it is highly recommended that you purchase comprehensive visitors insurance plan and be safe.
Before deciding to purchase a fixed coverage plan, you should read risks of purchasing fixed coverage plans.