A pre-existing condition does not always mean lack of coverage when you purchase a short-term health insurance plan. Typically, in a short-term plan such as visitors� health insurance, the look-back period determines the coverage that pre-existing conditions are eligible for.

Each U.S. state has laws that restrict the look-back period that insurance companies can mandate. So, if you had an episode of hypertension six years ago, when your daughter pierced her navel, and no symptom or episode since, you are not considered to have a pre-existing condition, under most definitions.

Usually, international travel health insurance plans have a look-back period of one to three years. Insurance plans within the United States usually have a look-back period less than six months. However, these vary by plan; so, check with your insurance company about the exact definition of their pre-existing condition.

Also remember that some plans also consider manifest�that is, conditions that existed prior to the date of coverage even if you were not aware of or treated for it�as pre-existing. Remember to be honest and frank when asking questions about or applying for health insurance. It will save you a lot of heartache (and another uninsurable period) later!