Best Travel Insurance for Travellers with Pre-Existing Conditions (2022)

Alevin Chan

Alevin Chan

Last updated 21 November, 2022

Having pre-existing conditions need not stop you from visiting your favourite holiday destinations. Here are three travel insurance plans that cover pre-existing conditions.

Travel insurance is a handy, cost-efficient way to ensure your ability to afford medical treatment should an illness, accident or emergency occur while overseas.

However, by default, medical insurance does not cover pre-existing conditions. So, should a diabetes patient require a trip to the emergency room while visiting another country, they will have to foot the hospital bill out of their own pocket.

As you can imagine, this can be expensive, especially because as a visitor in a foreign land, you won’t be entitled to any subsidies.

Thankfully, insurers have launched travel insurance plans with cover for pre-existing conditions, helping people with long-term health conditions travel with affordable insurance coverage.


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Travel insurance plans with coverage for pre-existing conditions

Travel plan

Highlights

MSIG TravelEasy Pre-Ex

- Covers all pre-existing medical conditions

- No co-payment or excess for medical bills due to acute onset of pre-existing conditions

- No upper age limit

TIQ Travel Insurance Pre-Ex

- Covers all pre-existing medical conditions

- No upper age limit

- Covers single trips, up to 30 days each

NTUC Income Enhanced PreX

- Covers all pre-existing medical conditions

- Offers up to 50% reimbursement for trip changes or cancellations due to pre-existing conditions (Enhanced PreX Superior and Prestige only)

- No upper age limit

Travellers with pre-existing conditions can choose between three travel insurance plans – MSIG TravelEasy Pre-Ex, TIQ Travel Insurance Pre-Ex and NTUC Income Enhanced PreX.

Rather than specially designed plans, each is modelled after their regular counterparts, so be sure to consider the entire suite of benefits and not just focus solely on the portions for pre-existing conditions.

All three insurers cover all pre-existing conditions, ranging from eczema and diabetes to cancer and heart disease – as long as the condition is stable and under medical control.

They also do not have any upper limits on the applicant's age, but the usual sub-limits apply (seniors are entitled only to a fraction of the coverage).

Of the three plans, two stand out:

  • MSIG TravelEasy Pre-Ex does away with any excess or co-payment (meaning 100% coverage) for medical expenses arising from pre-existing conditions, which means families won't have to worry about any additional costs while overseas.
  • NTUC Income Enhanced PreX offers reimbursement of up to 50% of your travel expenses should you need to cancel, curtail or change your trip due to a pre-existing condition. This gives you something to fall back on in case your airline or tour operator fails to reimburse you.


Things to note about pre-ex travel policies

1. Pre-ex travel policies cover four main areas

Coverage for pre-existing conditions in travel insurance plans mainly covers four areas: overseas medical expenses, hospitalisation cash, emergency medical evacuation and repatriation of mortal remains.

Unless otherwise specified, the other benefits included in your travel plan will not apply when you need to make a claim due to a pre-existing condition.

As an example, if you need to cancel your trip due to a particularly bad eczema flare-up, you may not be able to get a refund for your plane tickets or pre-ordered attraction tickets, even if your travel insurance plan offers trip cancellation benefits.

You will only be able to receive reimbursement if your plan specifically allows it, as is the case with NTUC Income Enhanced PreX, highlighted above.

 

2. You cannot use them to seek medical treatment overseas

Pre-ex travel policies will only cover your medical expenses in case of a medical emergency arising from a pre-existing condition.

However, if you choose to go for treatment overseas, your pre-ex travel insurance plan won’t cover you, and your claims will be voided.

Instead, what you need is a worldwide medical insurance plan that would cover you when seeking medical consultation and treatment in another country.

 

3. There are restrictions and limitations to note

Like with all insurance plans, pre-ex travel insurance comes with restrictions and limitations, and it is important to familiarise yourself with them, so as to avoid voiding your coverage.

At a very basic level, all pre-ex plans require that pre-existing conditions must be stable and under control.

This means that you should ensure you have sufficient medication with you at all times; this means bringing extra. If a relapse occurs because you ran out of medication halfway through your trip, your insurer may deny your claim.

Another precaution to take is to get permission from your healthcare provider – in writing – clearing you for your trip. Otherwise, your insurer may withhold coverage if they deemed you not medically fit for your trip.

Some insurers may also impose a limit on the duration of your trip for travellers with pre-existing conditions. If your policy contains this clause, be sure to observe it stringently, or your policy may be voided.

 

4. When in doubt, go for higher coverage

Yes, pre-ex travel plans will cost more, but the whole point of getting one is to ensure those with pre-existing conditions can travel with peace of mind.

This means that you should always err on the side of caution, and go for a plan with higher coverage. When it boils down to it, having more insurance than you need is always better than having less, and then scrambling to make up the difference from your own pocket.

But that doesn't mean you should blindly splurge on the most expensive and extensive plan you can find either. Make an estimate based on your own past experience, or check with your healthcare provider and/or insurer for guidance.


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An ex-Financial Planner with a curiosity about what makes people tick, Alevin’s mission is to help readers understand the psychology of money. He’s also on an ongoing quest to optimise happiness and enjoyment in his life.