Can a Tourist get Health Insurance in USA

Wondering if you can buy travel insurance once you land in USA? Here’s your guide.

Did you know, the cost of health insurance in the United States is a major factor in access to health care? Why? This is because it is otherwise too expensive to get medical treatment in the country.

According to the latest data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Americans spent an average of $9,596 on health care in 2012 alone, which represents a significant increase from the $7,700 spent in 2007.

Currently, Americans pay $3.4 trillion a year for medical care (and, unfortunately, don’t get impressive results), according to an article on CNBC. Visitors who travel to the US need medical insurance to help them pay for the exorbitant healthcare costs.

But suppose you did not buy medical insurance, and you reach the US, only to get a fever. Would you be able to buy insurance at this time to protect your finances?

Can a Tourist get Health Insurance in USA

The US government does not provide health benefits to citizens or visitors. If you choose to get medical care, someone has to pay for it. The good news is, you can buy insurance after you fall ill too.

You can buy these plans at any time, before you start your journey to America or even after you arrive in the country. It is advisable, however, to buy the policy at least a day in advance of the plan’s effective date, says an article on

Insurance plans are accepted by hospitals and clinics in the PPO network of the insurer. All policies are regulated by the US Department of Insurance.

So, if you have already arrived in the United States, you could buy a plan any day you want the coverage to begin. The earliest start day would be the very next day. But, do you really want to fall sick and then go through this hassle? Would you have the energy to complete all formalities, rather than get treatment? This is why it is smarter to get the policy before you reach the country. It is an easy procedure.

How to Get Health Insurance if You’re a Visitor in USA

It is a simple process that can be completed online. After filling the application online, one has to take a print-out. The print-out can work as a virtual ID card, which is ready for use. It will serve as proof of insurance. You will receive an email with all the necessary information related to the policy. On a later date, you can get the hard copy of the policy, along with the insurance card.

On buying visitor’s insurance on US soil, you will always get an insurance card, which is the first thing they ask for at the reception desk of a health care facility. It contains all the necessary information, such as the policy number, PPO network logo and claims filing address in the US.

Most Indian insurance companies do not provide this card, which creates issues abroad. In such a situation, you have to pay the amount upfront, from your own resources, and then claim for reimburse upon return to India, along with documents of proof.

You must, however, keep a note of a few things before you buy health insurance in America:

  • Check whether the plan covers any pre-existing medical conditions. Do this especially if you are buying it for your parents.
  • Pregnancy and childbirth issues might not be covered.
  • Dental problems might not be included, along with eye checkups.

So, there you have it. All the best! If you are looking for good travel insurance plans when visiting USA from India, check out these.

Let me know your comments.

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Mani Karthik

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Mani Karthik

Entrepreneur, Mentor & Blogger.
I help business grow & scale. Have helped 15+ companies scale in US, Middle East and India.
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2 responses to “Can a Tourist get Health Insurance in USA”
  1. Mani Karthik

    Hi Raman, even though you can buy the policy after you’ve arrived in USA, it doesn’t mean you can buy it after a condition has appeared. Please refer to the link mentioned in the article for details. I hope your father is doing well. All the best!

  2. Raman Verma


    Your blog indicates that even if we didn’t buy visitors insurance after arrival in the US, we can buy after falling sick. Could you please recommend a suitable plan? My father is having chest pain and I would like to take him to a cardiologist.

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