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Using Kaiser Permanente while traveling Internationally
Old 02-21-2016, 08:25 PM   #1
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Using Kaiser Permanente while traveling Internationally

Not sure if this right forum but at least it's the most active so hopefully somebody might have advice or have come across this problem.

I currently live on the West Coast and have Kaiser Permanente Health Insurance, but like others retired, I travel International (Europe) once in awhile and was wondering what happens if I have an emergency while on vacation that needs hospitalization. Does my Kaiser Insurance cover me or reimburse me later for medical/hospital bill's?

I've been searching the Kaiser web site but it doesn't really have any good info. I'm not so much worried about needing a few stitches or a broken hand or something. More of a true serious emergency that requires a hospital stay.

I know there are companies that sell Travel Insurance but I'm not sure if I need it if my Kaiser Insurance will cover it. I currently have the best plan Kaiser offers in case that makes any difference.

Thanks for any tips.
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Old 02-21-2016, 08:47 PM   #2
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I believe ACA compatible insurance would have coverage for emergencies while out of the country. Now the question is how good is the coverage.
As for a tip, just call them and ask what coverage you have when travelling both in the US and outside the US. Don't guess.
travel insurance also can provide extraction (move you back home for treatment). Does your insurance cover this?
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Old 02-21-2016, 08:56 PM   #3
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Probably a call to KP would be the best way to get the details of travel coverage.

This link came up on a Google search - https://healthy.kaiserpermanente.org...m_home_FAQ.pdf
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Old 02-21-2016, 08:59 PM   #4
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This has happened to us actually.

My dad had a medical emergency while visiting my grandmother in the Philippines and was hospitalized for almost 2 months. We immediately called Kaiser and asked if they would repatriate but they told us to just have him treated there and they'll reimburse us after. We had to pay out of pocket for everything. His total bill came to around PhP 3.6M (~$80K) and the hospital required progress payments every 3-7 days since he was racking up some major bills. Thank goodness the hospital accepted credit cards and we had a couple of no transaction fee cards (Chase Sapphire Preferred and Marriott). Since the credit limit on our cards was nowhere near $80K, we just paid the credit card from our checking/money market accounts after every transaction posted.

We submitted the detailed receipts to Kaiser when we got back to the US. We were eventually reimbursed but it took 4 months from when they received the claim and when we received the reimbursement (we constantly followed up). I've been told that sometimes, the reimbursement could take a year.

One thing you should definitely do, print a copy of your medical history and take it with you when you travel.

My parents are covered by Kaiser SoCal via employer.
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Old 02-21-2016, 10:33 PM   #5
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I was quite ill on a trip abroad at the end of 2014 and was able to communicate with my doctor by email. It really helped me since I didn't have a lot of confidence in the doctor that was caring for me. We didn't seek reimbursement because the amounts were way below our deductible for the year.
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Old 02-22-2016, 07:09 AM   #6
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I always purchase international insurance when traveling abroad. Too many clauses in most USA insurance policies. Do a search for some older threads - especially for those traveling frequently.

The cost for intl insurance is very reasonable. Along the lines of .$100-$150 per month depending on location, and the coverage is very good.
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Old 02-22-2016, 12:51 PM   #7
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Thanks for the replies, I do plan on contacting Kaiser before my next trip. I was under the impression that I'd be reimbursed as long as I contact them ASAP. But like the one message said, who has a credit card limit of $100,000. if need.

I'll also look into travel insurance for medical costs also.
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Old 02-22-2016, 03:59 PM   #8
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DW and I are also Kaiser members. When we travel we purchase a Travel Insurance despite the fact that if medical services are needed, Travel Med coverage is usually secondary to primer insurance. However there are other benefits like emergency evacuation (not sure but Kaiser may not cover it), return of travel cost for a reasonable cause of cancellation, etc. A few years ago I had to cancel an India tour we already paid for and got full reimbursement minus Visa and Travel insurance cost.
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Old 02-22-2016, 04:45 PM   #9
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I suppose this will differ depending on if your employeer has significant business interests overseas. When I was working the company had significant business interests overseas and employees needed to travel a good bit for company business, so the insurance was world wide. A company that did business mostly in the US would be different. (However when scuba diving I did buy a special policy thru DAN for that)
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Old 02-22-2016, 10:01 PM   #10
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Or if you're retired and don't have an employer !!! This is a retirement board after all...
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Old 02-22-2016, 11:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by papadad111 View Post
Or if you're retired and don't have an employer !!! This is a retirement board after all...
typically if under a retiree policy from the megacorp it has the same provisions as the active employee policy on what is covered where.

So then the change is when you go on medicare and only care in the us or on the road from the lower 48 to ak.
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Old 02-23-2016, 12:23 AM   #12
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So then the change is when you go on medicare and only care in the us or on the road from the lower 48 to ak.
Last I checked, Kaiser Sr Advantage covers medical emergencies even if you're overseas. After what we went throught trying to get reimbursed though, next time we travel internationally, we're definitely getting travel medical insurance which works as primary. I've also seen a repatriation membership/service mentioned here.
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