What is a pre-existing condition?

Pre-existing Medical ConditionsOur most frequently asked question is:  What is a pre-existing condition?  Here is a short audio file that I put together to help you understand this important issue.  The text file is listed below.

Hi, this is John Cook, President of QuoteWright.com and today I would like to talk about the most frequently asked travel insurance question: “What is considered a pre-existing medical condition.”

It’s a common question because all travel insurance policies contain an exclusion for pre-existing medical conditions and, as required by law, travel insurance policies must define exactly what they consider is a pre-existing condition. Since medical reasons are the number one cause of trip cancellations and statistically, almost 30% of all claims maybe due to a pre-existing condition this becomes an important issue.

In general, a pre-existing condition is considered to be any medical condition where you or a family member has received care or treatment or have had symptoms that would cause an average person to seek care and treatment within a period of time immediately prior to the effective date of coverage. The effective date of coverage for plans with trip cancellation coverage is usually the day after the policy was purchased. The period of time that a company looks back varies by plan and can be as few as 60 days and as great as 180 days, with 180 days being the most common.

Most plans have an exception to the exclusion for controlled conditions that are being treated with a prescribed drug, as long as the prescription and the underlying condition remain totally unchanged during the look back period. If, both the condition and medication have remained totally unchanged during the look back period than that would be exempt from the exclusion.

One thing that is often misunderstood when it comes to the pre-existing exclusion is whether or not it applies to non-traveling family members. Plans are split on this with some plans only applying the exclusion to traveling family members and the others applying it to all members whether traveling or not.

One way to eliminate the complexities of this exclusion is to buy a plan that offers a waiver of pre-existing medical conditions which will prohibit the insurance company from denying a claim using the pre-existing exclusion. Many plans offer a “waiver” as an inducement to try to get you to buy the insurance early in your trip planning but that is a subject for another article.

At QuoteWright we believe that the most powerful consumer is one who is informed.

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