Arthritis brings extra stress and challenges to your travels. Not only do you have to manage the pain, but you must put more effort into travel organization and pre-planning.
An important part of planning a trip when you live with a chronic health condition like arthritis, diabetes, or others, is to make sure your travel insurance coverage includes arthritis-related incidents.
What does it mean? Well, travel insurance companies tend to discreetly exclude incidents related to a pre-existing medical condition from coverage. Unfortunately, all types of arthritis fall into that category of so-called "pre-existing conditions".
So, how to make sure you’re covered when you’re traveling with arthritis?
Related article: 8 Great tips for traveling with Rheumatoid Arthritis
Related article: Flying with arthritis: How to prepare for long-haul flights?
How to find good travel insurance when you have Arthritis?
Anyone living with a chronic health condition like arthritis should be aware that a regular travel insurance policy most probably won’t cover any incident directly or indirectly related to your medical condition. Most insurance companies insert exclusion clauses in their travel policies for these specific cases.
Travel insurances and pre-existing medical conditions
In the language spoken by insurance companies, a pre-existing medical condition can be any disease, illness, or injury that you know you have before your new insurance plan starts.
Long-term or chronic conditions like diabetes, cancer, asthma, high blood pressure, arthritis, lupus, and many other ones are considered pre-existing medical conditions.
It means that if an incident occurs during your travels and your insurance provider can link it directly or indirectly to your pre-existing arthritis, you won't be covered and won't be able to ask for a reimbursement. Let's take two basic examples so we understand better:
- You're on holiday in Mexico and your joint pain suddenly increases so much that you need emergency medical attention. You're going to the emergency room to get strong painkillers. This is a medical incident directly related to your pre-existing condition (arthritis). It won't be covered by regular travel insurance, and you won't be able to claim reimbursement.
- On the day of your plane to return home, you woke up in so much pain that it took you too long to pack your stuff and get to the airport. You missed your flight. This incident (missing your flight) is indirectly related to your pre-existing condition (arthritis). It won't be covered by regular travel insurance, and you won't be able to claim reimbursement
All types of arthritis including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, psoriatic arthritis, arthritis caused by lupus, and others, are considered pre-existing health conditions by most insurance companies.
But there are ways to waive the exclusion clause or to find a travel insurance policy that includes arthritis coverage.
Related article: Traveling with medications internationally
How to find travel insurance that covers arthritis?
The first step to finding travel insurance that does cover your chronic health condition (arthritis in that case) is to ask your current insurer to waive the exclusion clause. Most of the time, insurance companies agree (under certain conditions) because they simply don’t want their clients to go with the competition. Besides, waiving the restriction clause of your current insurance policy should cost you less money than buying a whole new policy from a new insurance company).
If that does not work, you will need to find a new insurance company that has specific travel policies for people with pre-existing conditions. Don’t worry, most of them do. But it will cost you extra.
Related article: How to find travel insurance for pre-existing medical conditions?
4AllFamily's travel coolers are designed to keep refrigerated medications like Humira, Enbrel, and other injectable biopics used for Arthritis. Check them out here!
What will your arthritis travel insurance cover?
What your travel insurance covers or not really depends on the clauses of your specific contract. Be aware that depending on what your insurance provider policies are, there are different terms and levels of coverage you can choose from. Here’s what you must be vigilant about before signing your new travel insurance policy if you have arthritis:
The look-back period
Also called the exclusion period, the look-back period clause is present on every travel insurance contract for people with pre-existing medical conditions. Basically, your insurer wants to make sure your condition is “stable” before departure.
Some may ask for medical proof that your arthritis has not recently gone worse, or that you did not have any complications or changes of treatments recently. The look-back period can be anything from 30 to 365 days prior to the starting date of your policy (the date of your travel departure). So, make sure you’ve cleared that point with your insurance company.
The scope of the coverage
Whether you have arthritis or not, all travel insurance policies will cover basic traveler’s needs in terms of health and safety, including medical emergencies, repatriation, flight cancellation, luggage loss, etc.).
Once the pre-existing medical condition exclusion clause is waived, your travel insurance should also cover arthritis-related incidents. But the scope of coverage depends on the specific agreement you’ve signed with your company. It should at least cover things like:
- The loss of your arthritis medications (ex: your luggage was lost or stolen with your medications inside)
- Full medical care including arthritis-related care (ex: you’re suffering from severe arthritis pain during your holidays and need emergency medical care)
- The missing of a flight because of your condition (ex: you were in such pain you could not get up and you missed your flight)
- The deterioration of your medications (most injectable biologic drugs used for Arthritis like Humira, Enbrel, Actemra, Simponi, Orencia, Cimzia, and others need to be refrigerated. If they deteriorate because of high temperatures, your travel insurance may cover the extra costs of purchasing new ones at your destination).
Related article: How to travel with refrigerated medications?
Remember that there’s no standard travel insurance contract for people suffering from arthritis. Before signing your new policy, make sure you’ve read all the clauses carefully and you’re covered for what you need to be covered!
Related article: 10 Great healthy travel snacks for people with arthritis