Sick on vacation: the right international health insurance

Fall break is coming up.

Sick on vacation: the right international health insurance

Fall break is coming up. A holiday abroad is also an option. And the corresponding health insurance. Annual contracts are available for as little as ten euros - that's easy on the wallet, especially if expensive return transport is necessary. But especially here the insurers make differences.

Sometimes it costs less than ten euros: International health insurance doesn't cost much, but in case of doubt it protects against horrendous costs. According to the Association of Insured Persons (BdV), this includes, for example, the expenses for return transport - a service that the statutory health insurance (GKV) does not cover. "Many travelers underestimate the financial risk," says BdV board member Bianca Boss.

Only: It is not always easy to get an overview of the market: "The individual tariffs have considerable differences in performance," says the BdV. Consumers should make sure, among other things, that the insurer explicitly covers the costs for return transport "to the permanent place of residence or to the nearest and suitable hospital to the permanent place of residence".

It is also usually advisable for those who are fully insured with private health insurance (PKV) - because private health insurance often does not cover the return transport costs either.

Ideally, the insurance company not only bears the costs if the return transport is medically necessary, but already makes sense: the insured person has a claim, for example, if he is transportable or "more advantageous medical care is possible at home" - even though there is sufficient medical care in the travel country would be given. According to the insurance conditions, return transport should also be considered sensible if the inpatient treatment exceeds 14 days according to the medical prognosis.

Because alcohol can also play a role in some holiday mishaps, this should not undermine the benefits. The BdV recommends only taking out policies that do not state "alcohol-related health impairments" as a reason for an exclusion from benefits. Keywords such as "abuse", "consumption" or "participation" in the insurance conditions indicate this.

A closer look is also required when it comes to the topic of pandemics: Most contracts from German insurers do not provide for a pandemic exclusion. But they restrict their services in different ways when the Federal Foreign Office has issued a travel warning.

According to the BdV, the most advantageous regulation is if the insurer only restricts its benefits if an official travel warning was issued before the start of the trip and not only afterwards.

On the other hand, travelers do not have to pay attention to a certain sum insured, says board member Boss: "Reimbursement is made up to the amount of the treatment costs incurred or return transport costs." That is the “minimum standard” of international health insurance.

Annual contracts are available for individuals for less than ten euros, family tariffs from just under 30 euros. "From the age of 60, however, insurers often demand premium surcharges that vary," says Boss. As a rule, temporary trips abroad with a maximum duration of six to ten weeks are insured.

According to "Finanztest" (issue 5/2022), travel health insurance can be taken out up to one day before departure.

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