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Acute Onset Of Pre-Existing Conditions – A Must Have Coverage For Travelers with Pre-Existing Conditions

Published on July 31, 2019


There are many things to think about when searching for a travel insurance policy. If you have a chronic illness or ailment, or pre-existing conditions like a heart ailment, diabetes, high blood pressure etc, it should be considered while buying the insurance. It’s important to disclose if you have a pre-existing condition when applying for a travel insurance policy. You’ve probably seen this word before, but it can be hard to figure out exactly what it means. Different carriers consider different conditions to be “pre-existing,” so you have to be careful with your research.

Why Most Travel Policies Do Not Cover Pre-Existing Conditions

Since travel policies are usually short-term, these policies will often not cover routine or maintenance care for pre-existing conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, and others. This allows insurance carriers to cut the cost of premiums and save money on claims. Each carrier determines what a pre-existing condition is, so you need to look at each policy carefully. If you have a condition you worry will not be covered, ask the carrier or a licensed health insurance agent before you buy a policy. When a pre-existing condition is not covered, this means routine doctor visits, medications, and testing may not be covered. In the case of a life-threatening emergency, your policy should have acute onset of pre-existing conditions coverage.

What is Acute Onset Of Pre-existing Coverage?

When a medical condition becomes life threatening and urgent, insurance carriers refer to this as acute onset. Some travel policies will cover the acute onset of a pre-existing condition. This means that if a sudden re-occurrence or new flare up happens while on the coverage that is life threatening, you may be covered for treatment if you go to the hospital, urgent care or emergency room within 24 hours. A re-occurrence that is caught by a doctor prior to the start of the policy or that happens as a result of resisting treatment or medical advice will not be covered under this provision. The re-occurrence must be sudden and happen despite managing the pre-existing condition. Travelers with pre-existing conditions should get visitors insurance with acute-onset of pre-existing conditons coverage for any unexpected medical crisis that may arise during the travels.

The Difference Between Pre-Existing Conditions and Acute Onset

A pre-existing condition is an illness or ailment that is being treated or diagnosed prior to purchasing a policy. This includes heart disease, cancer, even diabetes. The acute onset of a pre-existing condition provision is the sudden and unexpected occurrence or re-occurrence of a pre-existing condition. With the acute onset provision, the occurrence or re-occurrence cannot be preventable. For example, if you have a heart condition while traveling and have the acute onset provision, you will not be covered if you have a heart attack as a result of not taking medication or following a doctor defined schedule/lifestyle. The acute onset provision only comes into play if the condition was in remission, dormant, or un-diagnosed prior to purchasing the policy and reoccurs or occurs while you are on the policy. The re-occurrence cannot be diagnosed by your doctor before your purchase date of the policy. All of these instances will be verified during the claims process after a procedure happens.

Best Comprehensive Visitors Insurance Plans for Acute Onset of Pre-Existing Conditions


Patriot America Plus

  • After deductible, the plan pays 100% upto policy maximum, in network
  • Provides acute onset of pre-existing conditions coverage up to policy maximum ($500,000) for travelers under age 70
  • Urgent care copay $25
  • Coverage up to 365 days
  • Most extensive PPO Network – UnitedHealthCare

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Liaison Travel Elite

  • After deductible, the plan pays 100% upto policy maximum, in network
  • Provides acute onset of pre-existing conditions coverage up to $50,000 for travelers under age 70 and up to $10,000 for travelers age 70-79
  • Coverage up to 1,092 days
  • Most extensive PPO Network – UnitedHealthCare

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Atlas America

  • After deductible, the plan pays 100% upto policy maximum, in network
  • Provides acute onset of pre-existing conditions coverage up to policy maximum ($2,000,000) for travelers under age 70 and up to $100,000 for travelers age 70-79
  • Urgent care copay $15
  • Coverage up to 365 days
  • PPO Network – First Health Network

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CoverAmerica – Gold

  • After deductible, the plan pays 100% upto policy maximum, in network
  • Provides acute onset of pre-existing conditions coverage up to $125,000 for travelers under age 70 and up to $30,000 for travelers age 70-79
  • Urgent care consultation co-pay $20-$25
  • Coverage up to 364 days
  • Most extensive PPO Network – UnitedHealthCare

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Best Limited Coverage Visitors Insurance for Acute Onset of Pre-Existing Conditions


Choice America Insurance

  • Best in-class Basic Fixed Benefits Plan
  • Provides an optional pre-existing condition rider, which provides limited and basic coverage for eligible pre-existing conditions that existed at or prior to the effective date
  • Coverage up to 365 days
  • PPO Network – First Health Network but can visit any doctor or hospital.

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None of these plans allow an acute onset provision for anyone 80+. You must meet the deductible before the plan begins to pay. If you live outside the USA and wish to travel there, these plans with acute onset of pre-existing conditions will be your best bet.

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