As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, most countries have mandated that tourists can only enter if they have valid travel health insurance in place. This is to prevent their health services from having to foot the bill of visitors’ treatment in the event they contract coronavirus while abroad and need to be hospitalized.
However, even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of popular tourist destinations required US tourists – and visitors from other countries – to purchase travel health insurance valid in the country they’re visiting.
How Much Will I Need To Pay?
The amount you’ll be charged for travel health insurance depends on a multitude of factors, including the length of your stay, how expensive medical treatment is in the country you’re visiting, your age and general health.
The older or less healthy you are, the more you will have to pay per day, as you’re more likely to end up needing costly medical attention or treatment while on a trip.
Furthermore, the type of policy you buy and the specific level of coverage it offers also significantly impacts the cost, with more comprehensive policies costing considerably more than barebones ones.
Do I Need to Buy Coverage in Advance?
Some of the destinations require you to purchase health insurance in advance, but most have kiosks in their airports which allow you to purchase the required coverage upon your arrival.
However, you should keep in mind that it might be more expensive to purchase a like for like policy in an airport than in advance.
What Are the 9 Destinations?
The 9 destinations American tourists must purchase health insurance when visiting are:
- The Schengen Nations, which include most of Europe
- Ecuador (including the Galapagos Islands)
- United Arab Emirates
What About COVID-19 Coverage?
As mentioned, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many other countries now require all tourists to purchase health insurance. Without having a valid health insurance policy in place, tourists and other visitors won’t be allowed to enter many countries amid the coronavirus pandemic.
It’s important to note that the policy you purchase must not have a coronavirus exclusion, and it must be valid for the entire duration of your planned trip.
Other Entry Requirements
Aside from having valid health insurance, many popular tourist destinations now require visitors to provide proof of a negative PCR swab test at the airport. This test must have been carried out within 72 hours of your flight, and it must be a swab test, as other tests, such as an anti-body test, aren’t accepted.
Some countries, such as the UAE, are currently allowing tourists from certain countries, like the UK, to get a free test upon their arrival in the airport, but they must self-isolate in a hotel room while they wait for their result to come back negative.
Most countries also now require all visitors to complete a health declaration form prior to their arrival.
It’s important to check in advance if you are required to purchase health insurance when traveling abroad, as it’s not always possible to purchase a policy upon your arrival, and it might be considerably more expensive to do so.
Furthermore, even if purchasing health insurance isn’t mandatory, it’s nevertheless still a good idea as it insulates you from paying a very expensive medical bill if you get sick or injured and need urgent treatment while abroad.
A Quick Summary
- Most countries now require visitors to purchase health insurance, but even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of countries required US tourists to arrange coverage.
- These destinations include the Schengen Nations, Qatar, Russia, the UAE, and Turkey.
- It’s best to purchase health insurance in advance, as it might be more expensive in the airport.
- The cost of your travel health insurance will depend on things like your age, any existing health conditions you have, and the duration of your stay.