Know Your Insurance. Know Your Doctor Too

If you have any chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, osteoporosis or COPD, applying for travel insurance can be somewhat intimidating. After all, you’re not a doctor and the terminology in some of those medical questionnaires is not written in common everyday language. It is a legal contract.

Still, if you’re asking to be covered for a foreign trip—short or long—you need to give the insurer a clear, accurate picture of your health status: have you had any new diagnosis or recurrent symptoms over the past 3, 6, or 12 months; have you been treated by a physician, been referred to a specialist, undergone  tests, are awaiting tests or test results, been prescribed new medication, or had your dosage changed, during that time period?


Have you talked to your doctor?

In preparing for a trip, have you discussed the status of any chronic conditions with your family doctor? Has he or she urged you to curb any activities, to lose weight, to ramp up your daily exercise, to lower your alcohol intake or to finally stop smoking?

Has your doctor expressed satisfaction with your ability to keep your blood pressure or your blood sugar under control? Or, has he or she shown concern that you haven’t kept it under control, or that you haven’t complied with your medication regimen, or that you didn’t show up for scheduled tests, follow up visits, regular GP visits, or a consultation with a specialist?


Do you know what’s in your record?

If not, it’s time you did a reality check. Because it’s the content of your medical record—the objective, definable measures of tests, and EKGs, and blood sugar AIC readings—that ultimately determines if your chronic condition, will be considered stable and controlled by medical underwriters deciding whether or not to cover you. And a well-documented record, showing that you have complied with your doctor’s orders, that you have undergone scheduled visits and tests, that you did not avoid any tests or referrals for fear of discovering bad news, can be your best friend if a claim you submit is ever questioned on the grounds of medical instability.

Understand also, that though your doctor may be prepared to state that your condition was stable during your last visit, it may not be enough to substantiate that you met the definition of stability during the previous 3, 6, or 12 months as required by your policy. It’s ultimately the medical record that will determine stability.


Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor’s help

And it may also be a good idea, when completing your application, to have your doctor look at the questions asked, and your answers to those questions, to see if they really are consistent with your medical record. Don’t assume that your family physician is familiar with the rules and requirements of travel insurance. Many are not, unless they are frequent travelers and have purchased insurance. Travel insurance is not taught in medical school.

In the end, you’re the purchaser of insurance, you are responsible for the medical information you provide on your application, and ultimately, for knowing what is in your medical record.

Talk about your record with your physician.  Make your doctor your partner when applying for insurance. He or she may very well thank you for it.


Are you ready to get started on your travel insurance purchase? Contact a customer representative today.

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