Travel with Peace of Mind: Declare Pre-existing Conditions — It seems a reoccurring nightmare: a growing number of travelers to Bali land and begin their holiday only to wind up in an accident requiring medical emergency yet with rejected coverage due to not declaring their pre-existing conditions.
Take a recent incident of an American expat who lived in Bali for a number of years until a doctor’s visit revealed her diagnosis: what she thought was a mere sinus infection turned out to be five cancer masses on her brain with the largest at 5cm on her skull.
The California native became straddled with escalating medical bills and a flight home all of which her travel insurance would not cover simply due to the melanoma she had in her 20s and that according to her insurer was a pre-existing condition.
Another recent case involved a woman from New Zealand who died in a Bali hospital as she did not receive the lifesaving insurance payment. Once again she did not inform her insurer she had a pre-existing bowel condition.
The Kiwi was on her second honeymoon when she fell ill with a twisted bowel and was rushed to an intensive care unit where she underwent emergency surgery. The operation was a success although she developed acute respiratory distress syndrome and fell into an induced coma dying on Sept. 9 while her family frantically tried to raise sufficient money to medevac her home.
How does the pre-existing condition waiver work?
A pre-existing condition waiver is a way of overcoming the exclusion in your standard insurance coverage. Many travel insurance providers will automatically waive the exclusion on pre-existing conditions at no extra cost if you buy your travel insurance plan soon after your initial trip deposit date.
If you are medically stable during the travel insurance plan’s look-back period (this applies to family members and traveling companions as well — anyone who might cause you to have to cancel or interrupt your trip or seek medical care while traveling) then you can qualify for a travel insurance plan or upgrade to cover pre-existing medical conditions.
How to get travel insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions?
It’s important to think about your health (and the health of family members) before you buy your travel insurance. Here’s how travel insurance providers define a pre-existing condition:
A pre-existing condition is any injury, illness, disease or other medical condition that occurs prior to the travel plan’s effective date and for which you had symptoms and sought diagnosis, medical treatment, and/or new prescription medications or a change in your current prescription.
How do you know you need pre-existing condition coverage?
If you are unsure you have a pre-existing condition, ask yourself these questions: Have I visited the doctor in the last 60-180 days? These are the standard look-back periods that will be examined for evidence of an existing condition by the travel insurance company if you make a claim. If the answer to the first question is “yes,” then ask yourself “has my doctor verified there is no medical condition?”
But like the travelers mentioned whose conditions were long forgotten and who travelled with the assumption they were healthy, you need to double and triple think your medical history. Travelling safe is simple: just reveal all your previous health issues when taking out a policy and land in Bali with “peace of mind.”