Health Insurance for British Visitors to the USA
In the UK the NHS is free and therefore there is generally less requirement for health insurance, unless someone wants to pay to have private medical care. If someone requires urgent medical attention, they are able to go the hospital (or doctors for less urgent problems) without the need for health insurance.
The health system in the US is very different and medical treatment and consultation is not free, therefore US citizens usually take out health insurance in case they require treatment at some point, unless they are provided with health insurance through their employer.
If you are planning on travelling to the US for tourism, business, studying or even looking to immigrate there at some point, you will need to consider health insurance or you will be taking a huge risk. Medical bills for standard treatments run into thousands of dollars, so if you haven't taken out insurance and you need to go to hospital, you could end up with a bill that could end up putting you into a lot of debt. That’s not really the kind of scenario you want when you are going on holiday, so it is better to be safe than sorry and get your quotes for US health insurance.
Cost of health insurance
There are many companies that offer health insurance for foreigners so it is worth spending some time finding out what the best deals are. The cost will vary depending on different factors such as how long you will be staying, your age and your medical history. Other factors include the type of activities you intend to be doing whilst you are there.
If you are travelling to the US for a short holiday then you may be covered under an existing travel insurance policy, but it is important to read through all of the details of the cover to check what is and what isn’t covered. You should make sure that emergency medical care is covered, plus you should also check that you are covered for evacuation expenses, which essentially covers things like the ambulance to the hospital or even an airlift flight, should that be required. As you can imagine, those costs would be very significant.
Most standard travel insurances in the UK will not cover evacuation but this could be a requirement so it is worth ensuring you are covered. In fact, evacuation expenses can easily cost around $50,000 so that gives you an idea of the kind of costs you could be accumulating, should an accident happen whilst you are on holiday.
As well as understanding the situation with health insurance, it is important to be aware of the visa requirements as well if you are travelling to the US. British citizens are eligible to apply for an ESTA, which provides the authorisation to visit the US for up to 90 days at a time. The pplication process is very straightforward and you can find out more information under the application page.