Do I have to buy medical insurance to go to the USA?

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When arriving at an airport in the United States, immigration officials do not ask for any medical insurance to enter the country, for some visitors it is satisfactory information, but for others, it makes them think about how much the cost of medical care would cost in North America, if an emergency were to occur.

Although the purchase of travel medical insurance is not mandatory for Colombians entering the United States, a responsible traveler can buy a medical policy, for his and his family’s prevention and, above all, for the high costs involved medical attention there and migratory problems such as the cancellation of a tourist visa, of not having enough resources to cover medical care and becoming a public charge.

It is no secret to anyone that the quality of American medicine is excellent, but its costs are very high, so much so that the National Institute for Health estimates that the price of an average medical assistance in the emergency department, in a hospital in the United States, such as , a fracture, is 2,200 dollars, which a common medical consultation, ranges between 150 and 200 dollars, a laboratory blood test is worth approximately 1,200 dollars, an ambulance transfer around 600 dollars, an MRI about 1,000 dollars and a surgery, for example, the most common among travelers an appendicitis, with some days of post operative, close to 50,000 dollars.

 These prices not only surprise anyone, but they contrast with the fact of not making the purchase of medical insurance obligatory to avoid these inconveniences when it comes to becoming ill as a foreigner in the United States.

Contrary to this, to travel to Europe, you must have medical insurance, as it is the law of the entire Schengen territory, as happens for example in France and the United Kingdom, where health care is free, as in Canada, Neighbor of the Americans, moreover, every traveler must have their medical insurance at hand to “pass” immigration.
      Medical insurance is included in a package that covers from missing the flight, luggage, canceling the hotel to which it is headed and obviously healthcare, as long as it is an “emergency”, that is, a health problem that arose suddenly and not a medical condition that the person already brought from his country.

There are several physical risks that can occur when leaving the country of origin, from the change of climate, water, food, the environment, the use of hotels, the different viruses, an accident, among others, that can alter the course and programming made to enjoy the vacation or work trip.

Medical insurance may not even be used on the trip, but the prevention of both anguish for a collapse in health, and its costs, are surely sufficient reasons to acquire it before riding the plane. It is also worth saying that the assistance will be 24 hours, 7 days a week, with telephone or internet service in the user’s language and with immediate location of the emergency hospital service closest to where the person is located.

As for the prices of medical insurance, they depend on the country of origin of the traveler. Here in Colombia, for example, airports have physical representation of insurance companies, which generally sell their products before travel, although they can also be purchased online and cost a little over $ 100,000 for trips up to three months and from $ 500 thousand, for more than the quarter, depending on the benefits covered by the policy.

This insurance covers medical expenses, hospitalization and medications, transportation and repatriation expenses if the person must return immediately to their country of origin, civil liability if damage is caused to a third party and documentation, in case of loss or theft of the passport and the visa.

It is important to remember that when a person becomes ill in the United States, medical care for travelers does not exist, what there are are emergency hospitals but for American citizens with very low economic resources, who are subsidized by the government, for example Medicaid , which would provide a service to a tourist, as long as the situation or childbirth were out of life or death, with the prior authorization of the emergency doctor and with the commitment to return the money to the government, after the event.

Finally and for all the above, the best option is that everyone insures their trip before going to the United States, so that the stay is perfect, travelers are calm and are not economically ruined or without a visa.

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