Planning a trip? Know COVID rules and insurance before you go

As pandemic-era restrictions start to fade, older Americans are eager to travel again. But while a good trip can improve mental and physical well-being, there’s no guarantee that travel plans won’t be disrupted by COVID-19 or other pandemic-related issues. That’s why preparation is key to make sure your things go as smoothly as possible. Here are some tips for seniors looking to get away this summer.

Check for vaccine and global entry requirements.

While most U.S. cities have lifted testing and vaccination requirements as of this writing, traveling abroad will require a little more research as border closures shift to vaccine requirements. Many countries have opted to lift their CVID-19 testing requirements for vaccinated travelers, but unvaccinated travelers may still need a negative PCR (polymerase chain reactiontest.

Purchase travel insurance.

Original Medicare plans travel with you between states, but if you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, you’ll have to check your individual policy to see if you may face higher costs if you have to visit a doctor or hospital out of your network. A travel medical insurance policy can cover any unexpected medical bills, hospital, physician, and ambulance services and prescription drugs. Anyone who is unvaccinated or at high-risk for serious COVID-19 infection may also want to consider a COVID-19 insurance policy that would cover any medical costs if COVID-19 is contracted.

When considering insurance policies for a trip, it’s important to keep in mind that trip cancellation coverage likely won’t be enough, as the loss is limited to the cost of the trip. Non-medical travel insurance will cover a trip that is canceled or interrupted due to unforeseen events such as flight cancellations and delays due to severe bad weather, or unforeseen war or acts of terrorism.

Check travel insurance requirements for international travel.

Many countries are requiring that tourists have travel medical insurance upon arrival, including coverage of costs for potential COVID-19 medical expenses as well as quarantines. In just the past few months, popular destinations have implemented travel insurance requirements for tourists. Keep in mind that not all travel insurance providers are the same. When comparing plans, carefully review medical coverage, trip cancellation, pre-existing medical condition exclusions, and if they include COVID-19 coverage


Source: Omar Kaywan, co-founder of Goose Insurance, a travel insurance vendor for the U.S. and Canada. The company is based in Vancouver, B.C.