Travel Insurance Tips for Nomadic Retirement

Map of the worldThe other day, an NBC News article on so-called “nomadic retirement” caught our attention. The article featured retirees-turned-travel-gurus Lynne and Tim Martin, whose new book promises to chronicle their four years of living “home free” around the world and provide tips to those who may be considering following in their footsteps.  Is nomadic retirement, or joining the Martins’ “home free” movement, the next big trend?  It’s hard to say, but one thing is certain: If you’re planning a nomadic retirement experience, travel insurance could play a key role in your health and safety.

Many U.S. retirees are insured through Medicare, but once you travel outside of the States, Medicare no longer provides coverage for your needs.  Even those who aren’t on Medicare could find, depending on their individual insurance companies’ practices, that overseas travel leaves them vulnerable to big bills and low coverage. Many health insurance providers don’t cover expenses incurred outside of your home country, and those that do may pay only a portion of your costs. For these reasons, travel medical insurance has always been a crucial consideration for retirees who plan to travel abroad, and it’s even more important for those who intend to make traveling their permanent lifestyle.

In general, long-term travelers — those who will be away from their primary residence for six months or more — are best protected by purchasing a Travel Major Medical insurance policy. The key with Travel Major Medical is that it not only allows for reimbursements in emergencies, but also helps you to plan for maintaining your overall health. Most major medical policies will cover you for preventive care like regular well checkups, prescription drugs, and even, in some cases, dental care. Travel Major Medical can also be a good fit for long-term travelers because rather than working on a reimbursement basis, like most travel insurance plans, it usually follows a model that more closely resembles regular health insurance plans; you’d probably have a co-pay and a deductible under major medical, so you wouldn’t have to pay all your medical expenses up front out of pocket.

If you are insured through a Travel Major Medical plan, and you decide after your time abroad that you’d like to return home for good, the policy’s benefits will often carry over for a defined period of time after your return. The extension of your benefits for a few weeks or months, as defined by your individual policy, can help to reduce the stress of re-integrating into life on home soil again by easing the transition while you make arrangements for permanent health insurance.  In the meantime, you’d still be able to seek preventive care, refill prescriptions, and get treatment for emergency conditions, all covered through your major medical policy.

Travel Major Medical is a highly useful travel insurance product for long-term travel and those considering a nomadic retirement lifestyle, but there are a few caveats you should know before you look into making this type of purchase. First, while most travel insurance purchases don’t require any type of formal application process, Travel Major Medical is different. You’ll be required to fill out application paperwork and go through an underwriting process to seek approval for your insurance policy. Also, once you have been accepted by an insurance provider, it’s wise to take careful note of the policy’s time frames. Most plans will cover you for six months to a year, which means you’ll need to stay on top of the best times to begin the process of renewal if you intend to stay abroad somewhat permanently. Lastly, be sure that you are aware of your particular policy’s terms and conditions regarding visits to your home country during the term of the coverage. Many major medical plans limit the number of visits home you can make during the time that you’re covered by the policy, or specify that you can’t return home at all during that time period, without a lapse in your medical insurance benefits.

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