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Health insurance to travel to New York

If you are planning to travel to New York, taking a good medical insurance with you is essential to take away any worries. I tell you how to choose the best one in this article

Isabel Catalán

Isabel Catalán

8 min read

Health insurance to travel to New York

Medical service in New York | ©Bermix Studio

When planning everything you want to do and see in New York, don't forget that there are a few things that will make your life easier in New York. Getting an ESTA visa or taking a good health insurance is one of them.

In the United States health care is private and can be very expensive for a traveler if a mishap occurs during the trip and you do not have medical coverage. That is why it is better to take precautions and before traveling to New York take out medical insurance.

1. Do I need health insurance to travel to New York?

Map of the United States| ©Joey Csunyo
Map of the United States| ©Joey Csunyo

The United States does not have health agreements with other countries, so even if you travel to New York with your European health card or your country's health card, they will not be valid if you unfortunately suffer a health problem during your vacation.

That is why you need to take out health insurance to New York to cover the costs of health care if you should ever need it. It is not mandatory, as you will not be asked at the airport security checkpoint if you have it, but in this country health care is private and, believe me, it can be very expensive for a tourist. Having it will save you a lot of trouble!

2. What are the medical costs in the United States?

Medical instruments| ©Unsplash
Medical instruments| ©Unsplash

My recommendation is that before you cross the pond you soak up how the health care system works in the United States and travel insurance. It is an added expense but if for some reason you need medical assistance during your trip to New York you can be sure that you will be taken care of and return home debt free. Otherwise, you will have to assume very high costs for not having coverage. Here are some reference prices:

  • The minimum fee for a consultation is $300.
  • A visit for a prescription can cost $350.
  • Treatment for a broken leg can cost $7,500.
  • The average cost of a three-day hospital stay is approximately $30,000.

In addition, if you do not have insurance, care in different hospitals in the city has different prices which can make you not know for sure how much a treatment will end up costing you. Therefore, I will never tire of repeating it: to avoid unpleasant surprises in your bank account, it is best to take precautions and take out medical insurance in New York before traveling.

3. When to take out medical insurance to New York?

Visit medical online| ©Unsplash
Visit medical online| ©Unsplash

Most medical insurance cannot be taken out once you are at your destination, you have to do it before you travel. My advice is to buy it as soon as possible. You can also add coverage in case of trip cancellation. In this case, it will include all health care coverage and reimbursement for the cancellation of your trip. What is included in the medical insurance? Medical assistance insurance: includes medical expenses, repatriation, early return, luggage and many other coverages.

4. Which travel insurance to choose?

Filling out the insurance online| ©Jeshoots.com
Filling out the insurance online| ©Jeshoots.com

New York is one of the cities with one of the highest healthcare costs in the United States. The most common coverage for travel to other countries is usually around €50,000 but here it may not be enough.

To travel to the Big Apple I recommend taking out medical and trip cancellation insurance with coverage up to 200,000 € minimum (better if it is higher). The higher the coverage the more expensive the insurance will be but I would not travel to the United States with less than that amount.

How to choose the best medical insurance to New York?

Preparing the trip| ©Annie Spratt
Preparing the trip| ©Annie Spratt

If you have already done some research on this subject you will have seen that there is a lot of choice on the market and insurance is often difficult to compare as each insurer has different conditions and coverages.

On top of that, insurers use very specific terminology that may sound like Greek to you if you are not familiar with the subject. So how do you choose the best insurance for you? In order to help you choose the most suitable one, here is what I think is essential in any insurance policy when it comes to contracting it with any company.

6. What is essential in a medical insurance to New York?

Flag of the United States| ©Joshua Hoehne
Flag of the United States| ©Joshua Hoehne
  • Medical coverage of up to 200,000 € minimum in accidents and illnesses (the higher the better). Make sure that part of this insurance is also earmarked for dental emergencies (treatment costs for infection, trauma or pain) in case a tooth decides to give you a hard time during your vacation.

  • Coverage usually includes the shipping of medicines available in Spain to a foreign country, although this is not so important in the case of New York, where you will be able to find any medicine you need.

  • Do not have to advance money: Health care is very expensive in the United States so it is essential that your medical insurance to New York does not make you advance money but that the insurer manages the payments directly with the hospital. Some require the traveler to make the payment first and then they will reimburse you, but paying such a large amount all at once can leave your bank account shivering and you may also lose money in the currency exchange.

  • Repatriation: It is very important that the insurance includes the insured's medical transfer or repatriation in case of illness or death.

  • Legal assistance and civil liability: The insurance you choose should include civil liability coverage for damages you may cause to third parties if for example you have a car accident as well as legal assistance to have the advice of a lawyer in case you need it.

  • Early return: Make sure that the insurance you choose includes early return in case of death or hospitalization of a direct relative or if a serious incident occurs in your habitual residence or in professional premises such as a robbery, fire, flood or explosion. In all these cases, you will have to provide the supporting documents and proof of these events.

  • Resumption of the trip: You should check if your insurance covers the resumption of the trip if you had to return to your place of residence early. If so, in these cases the insurance covers the cost of returning to the place where you were before the incident occurred.

  • Luggage: It will ensure that your luggage is protected against all the problems it faces when you travel. For example, in case of theft during the outbound journey. Also if your bag does not show up on the baggage claim belt or if the airline loses it and you are without luggage during your trip to New York.

  • Travel Delay: Travel to New York is expensive and requires a great deal of planning, so as a traveler you will probably want some compensation if your flight is delayed or cancelled. In this sense, it is advisable to read the fine print of the policies because insurance companies do not usually compensate if it is the airline's responsibility, if the delay has not been at least 4 to 6 hours or if it is due to a strike.

  • Trip extension: If you need to extend your stay in New York due to convalescence or if you need a relative to travel there to accompany you, insurance policies have a limit on accommodation per day and per person. Check that the amount does not fall short because hotels in this city are quite expensive, especially if you have to book at the last minute.

Isabel's Traveller Tip

Keep the invoices, complaints and all the documentation you have to send it to the insurance company.

7. How does the policy work if you need it?

Working| ©Annie Spratt
Working| ©Annie Spratt

Once you contract your medical insurance to New York they will send you all the documentation and will provide you with a phone number to contact the insurance company in case you need to use the policy. They will inform you which hospital you need to go to. This way you will not have to pay any money up front and your insurance company will cover the costs.

When you are abroad and an unforeseen event occurs that may cause you distress, it is essential to be able to communicate easily and quickly with the insurer to resolve the matter as soon as possible. All of them provide their clients with a 24-hour assistance telephone number, but the fact that they have a chat is a plus that you should value because you will have an open communication channel with the company and you will not have to repeat everything that has happened and the details every time you call them.

Is credit card insurance enough if I am covered in the United States?

Prepared documentation| ©Kelly Sikkema
Prepared documentation| ©Kelly Sikkema

Many travelers consider that the insurance coverage offered by credit cards when paying for airline tickets with them is sufficient to travel to New York. However, it is advisable to check the terms and conditions of the cards because the amount provided may not cover everything you might need.

Although taking out medical insurance to New York is an extra outlay that you may prefer to avoid because you are in excellent health, my advice is not to skimp on expenses because if unfortunately there is an incident during your vacation, with a policy you will save yourself a lot of headaches.

9. Does insurance cover coronavirus-related expenses?

Masks| ©Unsplash
Masks| ©Unsplash

Given the current circumstances, it is important that the insurance you take out for travel to New York also covers health care in case of coronavirus infection, including testing and extension of your stay in your accommodation if you need to quarantine.

10. In addition to medical insurance, how do I get an ESTA visa to travel to New York?

Traveling| ©Gabrielle Henderson
Traveling| ©Gabrielle Henderson

If you are organizing your trip to New York, in addition to medical insurance, you will need to obtain the ESTA visa to enter the United States as a tourist. It is very simple and quick to obtain! In this article I tell you how to do it online.