Primary Coverage vs. Secondary Coverage

Travel insurance benefits are listed as either primary or secondary.

Primary coverage:

  • When a plan benefit is primary, the provider will pay you first in the event of a claim.

Secondary coverage:

  • When a plan benefit is secondary, the provider will pay you after any other collectable benefits.
  • If your plan benefit is secondary and benefits from primary sources have been exhausted, the secondary benefit on your plan will act as a primary benefit.
  • When a plan contains a secondary benefit, it is clearly noted on our site in red text.
Updated by on 8/24/13.
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If you are on Medicare, how does insurance cover?


An important fact to keep in mind is that Medicare is considered your Primary health insurance whether they cover you or not. Therefore, when considering a travel insurance policy, you will want to pay extra attention to the type of medical benefit it will provide. If you purchase a policy with Secondary medical coverage and need to file a claim, the travel insurance will still require you to file a claim through Medicare first. Since they will not cover, Medicare will provide a denial letter simply to show that they are not paying your medical claim. You would then be able to file through the travel insurance. With this in mind, it may be more convenient to consider a travel insurance policy with Primary medical coverage, which will save you the time and hassle of filing through Medicare first.
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