If you’re planning to jet off for your next adventure overseas, you might want to consider whether your destination requires travel insurance or travel medical insurance for entry. Every year more countries consider implementing insurance requirements for their foreign visitors.
COVID-19 coverage is now mandated by many countries that have opened their borders back up to visitors. You can arm yourself with travel medical insurance for unforeseen medical emergencies you may face abroad.
Why Are More Countries Requiring Medical Insurance?
The list of countries that require travel medical insurance upon arrival had been gradually increasing over the years before the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Negative experiences of unpaid medical bills by foreigners have caused hospitals and healthcare organizations to push for insurance requirements so that these incidents are less likely to happen.
Many countries have now implemented testing requirements, quarantines, and proof of health insurance that includes COVID-19 treatment coverage upon their reopening.
See which countries require travel insurance, travel medical insurance, or COVID-19 coverage for entry.
Jump Ahead to See Your Travel Destination’s Requirements
- Schengen Area
- Sint Maarten
- French Polynesia
- The Bahamas
- Costa Rica
- Turks and Caicos Islands
What’s the Difference Between Travel Insurance and Travel Medical Insurance?
Travel insurance serves to insure a financial investment in a trip. The core benefit of travel insurance is the trip cancellation benefit, which provides reimbursement for nonrefundable prepaid expenses if you must cancel your trip due to a covered reason. Many travel insurance plans provide additional benefits related to other travel expenses as well. Coverage for medical expenses may or may not be included depending on the plan.
Travel medical insurance provides coverage for unexpected health expenses you might incur while outside of your home country. Your regular health insurance may not cover you abroad, and there’s always a chance you could get injured or fall sick and need medical care during your trip. Travel medical insurance typically provides additional coverage for various travel scenarios but does not include a trip cancellation benefit.
List of Countries that Require Travel Medical Insurance
Those planning to travel abroad to the following areas must ensure they have a medical insurance plan that provides coverage in their desired destination.
Those without health coverage outside of their home country can purchase a travel medical insurance plan to comply with the requirements. A plan like Atlas Travel can provide travel medical insurance coverage you may need for your trip.
Travelers planning to explore Europe may need to obtain a Schengen visa. This is a visa that citizens from certain countries—not including the U.S.—must carry in order to enter the 26 European states of the Schengen Area.
Those who apply for a Schengen visa must provide proof of travel medical insurance “covering emergency medical, hospitalization, and repatriation (including in case of death),” according to the European Commission.
The minimum coverage must be at least €30,000, and the insurance must be valid for the entire stay in the Schengen Area.
IMPORTANT! Do you know which countries are included in the Schengen Area? See the list of included countries below:
- The Czech Republic
- The Netherlands
Learn more about the Schengen visa.
Those visiting Brazil by air for up to 90 days must provide proof they’ve purchased a medical insurance policy that’s valid in Brazil. There are no specifics on minimums or coverage requirements, but travelers must present their proof of insurance to the airline company prior to boarding.
Brazilian authorities have the right to deny entry to those who cannot produce evidence of coverage.
PRO TIP: This requirement came about on July 29th, 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and may only be temporary. Find the most up-to-date information about Brazil’s health insurance requirement on the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Brazil website.
Cuba visitors must have proof of medical insurance before entering this Caribbean country. Cuba does not consider U.S. medical insurance as valid, so travelers must purchase a supplementary travel medical insurance plan. Contact the Embassy of Cuba for further information regarding medical insurance requirements.
There are no specific minimums or coverage requirements for Cuba—just proof of valid insurance.
PRO TIP: Visit the U.S. Department of State - Cuba website for up-to-date information about Cuba’s medical insurance requirements.
All visitors to Russia are required to apply for a visa to be allowed to enter the country. Upon application, the Consular Division of the Embassy has the right to request “medical insurance valid in the country to be visited and fully covering the period of the first trip” according to the Embassy of the Russian Federation.
Insurance minimums and coverage specifics are not listed, but ensure your medical insurance policy provides coverage while you are in Russia before applying for a visa. If your primary medical insurance doesn’t provide coverage, consider purchasing a travel medical insurance plan for your trip.
PRO TIP: Learn more about Russia’s visitor visa process at the Embassy of the Russian Federation in the USA website.
Not to be confused with its northern French counterpart Saint Martin, Sint Maarten is the southern Dutch half of this Caribbean island and is its own country. Sint Maarten requires all travelers to have health insurance coverage if this nation is their end destination.
Have a layover in Sint Maarten? Those with airplane layovers in the country are not required to provide proof of insurance. There are also no specific requirements for the insurance coverage.
PRO TIP: Those who want more information can visit the Sint Maarten website.
Any medical costs incurred in Thailand are to be charged to the traveler’s health insurance. Thus, visitors must ensure they have a medical insurance plan that provides coverage in the country. (There are no minimum coverage requirements.)
Though Thailand does not require COVID-19 coverage or other specifications for visitors’ medical insurance, the nation’s requirement for proof of valid health insurance came about because of the COVID-19 pandemic according to the U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Thailand.
Thailand advises visitors to get coverage for COVID-19-related expenses even though it is not required.
U.S. citizens visiting Thailand can review the U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Thailand website for updated information on COVID-19 procedures in the country.
IMPORTANT! Medicare typically does NOT provide coverage outside of the U.S. Medicare participants can purchase a supplemental medical insurance plan to visit countries that require proof of insurance. Read more about Medicare coverage outside the U.S. and additional options.
Visitors to French Polynesia, who do not have French nationality, are now required to provide proof of travel insurance for entry or be held liable for all local healthcare costs.
Other requirements include:
- SARS-CoV-2 (molecular) RT-PCR negative results within 3 days of leaving for the country
- A travel itinerary
- A passenger contact point in case of emergency
- A completed health commitment form online at www.etis.pf
- A valid e-mail address where you can receive your ETIS receipt
Though COVID-19 coverage is not required, individuals must plan “to cover the health costs incurred in French Polynesia [due to COVID-19]” according to the Polynesian government. Consider purchasing a travel medical insurance plan with COVID-19 coverage to possibly reduce the costs of an unforeseen medical emergency.
This mandate came about on July 12, 2020, because of the COVID-19 health crisis, so it may be only a temporary requirement. The Government de la Polynésie française website provides additional information on health insurance requirements in the country and up-to-date information.
Do you need COVID-19 coverage for your trip abroad? Price your Atlas Travel plan with COVID-19 coverage today. Just make sure to check your destination’s specific requirements to ensure Atlas Travel fits your needs.
IMPORTANT! United Arab Emirates (UAE) residents leaving the country are required to purchase international health insurance for the entire duration of their trip. Additionally, residents must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result before returning to the UAE.
Foreign visitors are NOT required to purchase travel insurance to enter the country, but should check the U.S. Embassy & Consulate in the United Arab Emirates website for updated information on country entry requirements.
List of Countries that Require Insurance with COVID-19 Coverage
Following the outbreak of COVID-19, many countries now require visitors to not only provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test with possible quarantine procedures, but also proof of health insurance that provides coverage for COVID-19-related expenses.
Consider the requirements in your desired location before traveling. A travel medical insurance plan like Atlas Travel can provide coverage for eligible COVID-19-related expenses along with coverage for other unforeseen medical emergencies.
Foreign travelers to Aruba are now required to purchase the country-sponsored COVID-19 health insurance prior to visiting. Any other medical coverage CANNOT be substituted for the required plan.
Visitors can purchase the plan from the official Aruba Visitors Insurance website.
Other Requirements for Visiting Aruba:
- Completed online immigration card prior to travel
- A negative COVID-19 PCR test taken with 72 hours of arrival
PRO TIP: Find the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 coverage requirements on the U.S. Consulate General in Curacao COVID-19 page.
The Bahamas requires all visitors to fill out a Travel Health Visa application for entry into the country. This visa requires applicants to opt-in to the COVID-19 health insurance plan that covers them during their stay in The Bahamas.
The mandatory health insurance covers:
- Medical expenses incurred in the country due to COVID-19 (up to $50,000)
- Trip interruption/delay coverage for necessary quarantine or isolation because of COVID-19 (up to $500 per day with a $7,000 maximum)
- Medical evacuation coverage due to COVID-19 (subject to medical necessity, up to $50,000)
The cost of insurance is dependent on the length of stay and is included in the Travel Health Visa application fee.
All visitors entering the country are also required to obtain a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test taken within 5 days of arrival.
PRO TIP: Check the U.S. Embassy in The Bahamas for updated information and a link to the Bahamas Travel Health Visa application.
This southeast Asian nation now requires foreigners to purchase a local health insurance plan for COVID-19 treatment from Forte Insurance Company. This plan costs $90 and is valid for 10 days.
Find this plan on the Forte Insurance Company website for details and purchasing.
Other Requirements for Entry:
- A valid visa issued by the Cambodian Embassy or Consulate (the Cambodian Embassies are currently not accepting applications for tourists)
- Pay a deposit of $2,000 upon arrival for a mandatory COVID-19 test and potential treatment services
- A COVID-19 negative medical certificate issued no more than 72 hours before the date of arrival
PRO TIP: The U.S. Embassy in Cambodia website provides additional information on the required health insurance policy and more information regarding COVID-19 in the country.
This country requires visitors to purchase one of two types of travel medical insurance plans that covers COVID-19-related expenses:
- A plan offered by authorized insurers in Costa Rica OR
- A plan offered by another international provider that provides COVID-19 coverage.
Travelers must purchase a travel insurance plan that covers accommodations in case of quarantine and medical expenses due to COVID-19. View Step 1 of the Republic of Costa Rica Health Pass for more details regarding coverage requirements.
Other Requirements to Enter Cuba:
- A negative COVID-19 PCR test 48 hours before the flight of origin
- Must not have symptoms compatible with COVID-19 (i.e., fever, cough, loss of smell or taste, respiratory symptoms, diarrhea, etc.)
PRO TIP: Find the most up-to-date information on the Costa Rica Republic Health Pass by the Ministry of Health website, as well as contact information for additional questions regarding COVID-19 coverage.
The Turks and Caicos Islands now require visitors to obtain-pre-authorization to enter the country through the TCI Assured Portal. Visitors must also have insurance which covers COVID-19 medical costs.
They must be covered for the following:
- Medical Costs
- Full Hospitalization
- Doctor’s Visits
- Air Ambulance
Additionally, visitors must provide results for a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 5 days of travel to the islands. Children under the age of 10 are excluded from this requirement.
PRO TIP: Find updated information at the U.S. Embassy in the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands COVID-19 Information page as well as the TCI Assured Portal.
Ukraine requires all foreigners to have proof of health insurance for entry. Insurance may be provided by one of several types of companies:
- A company registered in Ukraine,
- A foreign insurance company that has a representative office in Ukraine, or
- A foreign insurance company that is in the treaty relations with an insurance company partner in Ukraine.
The medical insurance plan must also cover costs related to COVID-19 treatment and must cover the entirety of the visit.
PRO TIP: Want more information on what type of coverage you need to travel to Ukraine? See the Visit Ukraine website.
Requirements Are Constantly Changing
Countries are continuing to implement medical insurance requirements and COVID-19 coverage requirements for their visitors. The U.S. Embassy websites for countries often have the most up-to-date information on what the country may or may not require. Stay informed for your next foreign adventure.