The Fine Art of Reading the Fine Print-III: Pre-Existing Conditions

Continuing with our series on reading the fine print, let us now look at the exclusions that are not covered by a visitors’ medical insurance policy. The main exclusion is ???pre-existing conditions,??? defined as any injury, condition or ailment that already existed at the time of purchasing the policy. Normally, any lifestyle condition which cannot have occurred overnight???blood pressure or diabetes, for instance???is considered a pre-existing condition.

A visitors??? insurance plan will not cover conditions which exist on the effective date or a specific look-back period (two or three years prior to it). The look-back period varies by plan. Any subsequent complications arising from an existing disease are also not covered by the plan. For example, surgery for an existing condition is not covered.

Pregnancy and childbirth are also not covered. It is better to avoid foreign trips when one is pregnant, as it is a high-risk period which can result in major complications. In case the visit is unavoidable, then the sponsor and the visitor should be prepared to deal with the financial burden in case of emergency.

Cosmetic surgery, dental care, eye care and ear examinations are not covered except as a result of accidental injury. In addition, most policies have the following exclusions: injury in organized athletics; vocational, recreational speech or music therapy; and services considered investigative or for research.