New travel insurance paying up to a million dollars in medical bills for Americans who become ill or injured while abroad sets an industry standard, and is evidence of a trend toward more comprehensive medical coverage than ever before, Squaremouth.com, the U.S.’s fastest growing comparison website for travel insurance, reported today.
Chris Harvey, chief executive of Squaremouth.com, said the extreme gap between traditional medical trip benefits and TripProtector, a new product from HTH Worldwide — one of the featured carriers on Harvey’s website — proves that American consumers are getting the vastly improved medical protections they have been demanding.
“There’s definitely a growing appetite for this kind of turbo-boosted trip medical coverage, so we’re thrilled to begin offering such a well-conceived new product to our customers,” said Harvey.
TripProtector, which launched in mid-September, pays for sickness, accident and emergency medical expenses while traveling abroad, including doctor’s visits, the cost of treatment in a foreign hospital and evacuation home, to a maximum of $1 million — far exceeding the industry benchmark limit of $25,000 or $50,000.
TripProtector offers a variety of extra features to help streamline care and cut through the medical bureaucracy that can be mind-numbing overseas. They include paying insured expenses directly — instead of requiring policyholders to fund their own treatment and seek reimbursement — and a 24/7 health concierge able to speed requests for things like doctor appointments.
Nearly 120 million Americans spent around $1.6 billion on travel insurance in 2008, according to the US Travel Insurance Association’s Travel Insurance Market Survey for 2006-2008. Although medical and medical evacuation policies represented just 5.5 percent of the total market, sales increased by a third from 2006.
Michael Hartung, chief product development officer for HTH Worldwide, said unexpected co-insurance, deductibles and somtimes large gaps in coverage under private medical insurance policies, and the fact that Medicare benefits do not extend beyond the U.S., are among the chief reasons why Americans are buying more travel medical insurance.
Long-term international medical plans designed for professionals on expatriot assignments have always featured higher limits. But this hasn’t traditionally been the case for policies with trip cancellation/interruption benefits that make up 90 percent of the travel insurance Americans buy.
Travel insurance policies designed for citizens from countries like Canada or Britain typically offer much higher medical limits as well.
“As an American traveling abroad, you can incur significant charges even though you may have some cover through your group plan at work,” said Hartung. “It’s the holes in the safety net that make our business at HTH go.”
Hartung added websites such as Squaremouth.com, which give Americans the ability to easily spot the best travel insurance policies, are likewise inspiring Americans to be choosier when it comes to medical coverage: “It helps set the expectation that products must be world-class.”
TripProtector’s million-dollar limit is a strong indicator of a new trend that’s “really just taking off,” confirmed Squaremouth’s Chris Harvey.
“For places like Canada and United Kingdom, $1 million in coverage is nothing,” he said. “In America, products are getting better and better, and this is the biggest leap we’ve seen in medical coverage so far.”
TripProtector and TripProtector Preferred are rated A- by A.M. Best and are currently available in 46 U.S. states. For more information, visit squaremouth.com.
Squaremouth is America’s fastest growing travel insurance comparison site, helping customers instantly quote, compare and buy policies from every major carrier. Squaremouth has web sites in the US and UK, and an extensive network of partner sites worldwide. The company is headquartered in St Pete Beach, FL., with offices in Fort Wayne, IN. Visit squaremouth.com or squaremouth.co.uk.
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About HTH Worldwide
HTH Worldwide provides health insurance plans and global medical assistance services for leisure and business travelers as well as students abroad. HTH programs are distinguished by a contracted community of over 6,000 hospitals and doctors in 180 countries. HTH combines its health and safety research, advanced Internet and mobile applications, and extensive experience in designing and delivering international health insurance plans to ensure customers’ health, safety and peace of mind. HTH was recently named one of North America’s fastest growing companies in Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500.
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