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Are Claims Easier With Primary Coverage?

Hey Steve, I was wondering if the policies that provide primary medical coverage are more or less of a hassle to process a claim than the ones that provide secondary coverage? Thanks, Jim

Great question Jim! There’s so much confusion about primary and secondary medical coverage in a travel insurance plan that it’s not as simple as saying “primary plans are better”.

If your regular health insurance company is a pain to deal with, then primary coverage in your travel insurance plan has a distinct advantage over secondary medical coverage because it’s a lot less paperwork and is a time saver.

The only drawback to a primary medical plan is if you have a medical claim that exceeds the policy’s primary medical limit.

For example, here’s what happens if you have a $70,000 medical claim with a travel insurance plan that has $50,000 Primary coverage:

  1. You submit the $70,000 medical claim to the travel insurance. It pays $50,000 (its maximum)
  2. You submit the remaining $20,000 to your medical insurance plan. Let’s say it has a $5,000 deductible with a 20% copay.
  3. Of the remaining $20,000 your medical insurance plan will pay $12,000 and you will be liable for at least that $8,000. You could be liable for more.

In this example, you would have been better off with a secondary medical coverage in your travel insurance plan. I cover this more in detail here:

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