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Primary vs. Secondary - Medical Travel Insurance

A Primary Medical plan will serve as your primary insurance coverage for any eligible medical expenses for the duration of your trip. A Secondary Medical plan, however, will act in conjunction with your primary (not travel-specific) health insurance, and may only cover expenses not otherwise covered by your health insurance policy.  

For clarity's sake, both policy types generally use the same process - you will be responsible for paying your medical providers for any medical expenses you incur during your trip, and will then be able to file a claim and seek reimbursement from your travel insurance provider.

Essentially the terms “primary” and “secondary” are there to identify the order in which a claim will be filed. 

If you purchase primary travel medical coverage, you will file your claim directly with the travel insurance provider.  If you purchase secondary travel medical coverage, you will first file your claim with your health insurer, and will be able to file a claim with the travel insurer only for the expenses that the health insurer will not cover.  This will often include deductibles, co-pays, or other out-of-pocket expenses.  In essence, if your health insurance does not cover an expense (or any medical expenses,overseas perhaps), your secondary travel medical insurance will step in and serve the same role as would a primary medical policy, up to the policy limits.

Emergency medical coverage, regardless of whether primary or secondary, will provide similar coverage while on your trip.  You will be able to seek reimbursement up to the policy limit if you require emergency medical treatment for an unexpected injury or illness during your travels.  

Our smart algorithm prioritizes plans with Primary Medical coverage. Most major medical insurance will not cover emergency medical expenses overseas, Primary Travel Medical would save significant amount of your time and aggravation should a medical claim be processed. However, if you do not have any major medical insurance coverage, you may want to consider Secondary Travel Medical as a less expensive option. In this case, the Secondary Travel Medical Insurance will step in as if it were your Primary coverage for purposes of eligible medical expenses incurred in your travels. Another unlikely scenario when a Secondary Travel Medical plan may be a good option for you is when your major medical plan does provide some, partial, coverage overseas. In this case, some of your expenses will be covered by your major medical policy, and the Secondary Travel Medical plan will cover all the deductibles and any other eligible medical expenses that were not covered by your major medical policy. Should you decide to go with a Secondary Travel Medical plan, just uncheck Primary Medical checkbox on the plans search result screen and TIM will suggest the best Secondary Medical plan for you.