Secondary vs Primary Medical Coverage

Published by September 3, 2009

Most travel insurance plans offer emergency medical & dental coverage.  It is important to look closely as to whether the benefit is primary or secondary.  If it is primary medical coverage, then a claim can be filed with the travel insurance company first, without having to involve any other medical insurance that the traveler might have.  However, if the travel insurance plan offers secondary medical coverage, then the traveler must first file a claim with their primary health care.  Any remaining costs, deductibles or co-payments can then be claimed under the secondary travel insurance coverage.  In a case where the traveler has a primary health care plan, and supplemental health insurance, then the travel insurance becomes tertiary, or third in line.  If the traveler has no primary health care, then secondary travel insurance can accept the claim first.  Some travel insurance plans that offer secondary coverage require that the traveler be enrolled in a primary health care plan in order to buy the travel insurance.  When this is the case, Squaremouth prompts the traveler before they are allowed to advance to the purchase page.  Always refer to the certificate of insurance for details.