About GeoBlue International Travel Insurance
Although GeoBlue International Travel Insurance has specialized in travel insurance policies for over 20 years, they became a major name in the industry in 2014. As part of a partnership between the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and British insurance company Bupa, the two companies created a global healthcare network reaching 190 countries with access to more than 1.2 million medical providers.
GeoBlue is actually the trade name of Worldwide Insurance Services, which is owned by Highway to Health Worldwide (HTH Worldwide). GeoBlue is also offered in connection with local Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies across the United States. If your health insurance agent offers you a GeoBlue travel insurance plan, the plan is not an extension of any current coverage you may have, but is instead an additional product under the GeoBlue trade name.
While GeoBlue prominently carries the Blue Cross and Blue Shield logos, it is not necessarily a direct product of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Instead, it is partially owned by HTH Worldwide and Bupa (through a 49 percent stake in HTH Worldwide), with the majority share owned by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and a group of Blue Cross Blue Shield companies.
Although HTH Worldwide also offers travel insurance products, the two operate as independent products with different benefits. Therefore, it is not safe to assume that the products are interchangeable, or that a HTH Worldwide product would offer the same coverage and access as a GeoBlue product.
How is GeoBlue International Travel Insurance rated?
With the trust of the Blue Cross Blue Shield name behind it, GeoBlue is understandably one of the best rated travel insurance products in the United States. Two of the three major travel insurance websites—Squaremouth and InsureMyTrip—give GeoBlue near perfect rankings based on customer feedback.
At Squaremouth, GeoBlue holds an overall customer rating of 4.62 out of five stars in 2019, with only four of 61 reviews being under four stars. Average monthly sales from 2013 to 2019 were 207 policies every month. At InsureMyTrip, GeoBlue has a nearly identical 4.7 overall customer rating out of five stars, based on more than 1,300 reviews through early 2019. Each individual policy also holds a rating of 4.5 (out of 5) at the insurance website.
But what about their financial outlook? GeoBlue travel insurance products are underwritten by 4 Ever Life International Limited, a Bermuda-based company. The company has an A- Excellent rating from A.M. Best Rating Services, with a “Stable” outlook. The company has held this rating for over a year, when it was first rated by A.M. Best on March 15, 2017.
What travel insurance does GeoBlue International Travel Insurance offer?
GeoBlue offers five main plan types, based on your needs. Although this review will focus on their single-trip and multi-trip insurance, the company also offers plans for student health, cruise ship crew members, expatriates, and missionaries who are living abroad.
Please note: all schedules of benefits are subject to change without notice. For the most up-to-date coverage information, contact GeoBlue directly.
Single Trip Travel Insurance
All single trip travel insurance plans from GeoBlue include doctor search resources, destination health and security information and the GeoBlue drug translation guide. You will also receive access to the medical term and phrase translation database to better communicate with doctors at your destination, along with automatic health and security news alerts. Both plans come with a 10-day money back guarantee. Your price also includes a $3.50 membership fee into the Global Citizens Association.
Voyager Essential: Voyager Essential is a single trip travel insurance plan available to those who live in the United States and are under 85 years old.
- This plan offers four tiers of maximum international medical coverage, from $50,000 to $1 million, with 100 percent coinsurance of reasonable charges.
- This plan also comes with a maximum benefit of $500,000 in emergency medical transportation coverage, a maximum benefit of $25,000 in accidental death and dismemberment coverage and a maximum coverage of $25,000 towards repatriation of mortal remains.
- Individuals are also covered for non-emergency and emergency medical care, with a deductible ranging from $0 to $500 per injured person per policy period. Outpatient prescription drug reimbursement is also available outside the United States, with a 50 percent reimbursement on costs up to $5,000.
- If you have a pre-existing condition, this travel insurance product may not be the best for you. The plan has a 180-day exclusion for pre-existing conditions, with no waiver period. If you have a pre-existing condition, consider purchasing Voyager Choice Instead.
- Although Voyager is primarily an international medical insurance plan designed to supplement other travel insurance you may have with a credit card, there are some common benefits attached to this product. Voyager also comes with a maximum baggage and personal effects benefit of $500 per trip period, limited to $100 maximum benefit per bag or personal effect. The plan also comes with a maximum post-departure trip interruption benefit of $500 per trip period.
- Costs for this insurance plan are based on your home ZIP Code, your age, and length of your trip. When we searched for a travel insurance plan for a 35-year-old traveling for two weeks, our cost was less than $30 for a $0 deductible, $1 million maximum international medical coverage plan—but your price may vary.
- Read the plan description here.
Voyager Choice: Between Voyager Choice and Voyager Essential, Choice is the stronger of the two plans, offering travelers more coverage and benefits on a single trip. Like Voyager Essential, Voyager Choice is available to those living in the United States under 85 years old. However, Voyager Choice requires travelers to hold a primary health insurance plan. Anyone who does not have primary insurance will only be given the choice of Voyager Essential.
- Like Voyager Essential, you have the option of four maximum international medical coverage limits, ranging from $50,000 to $1 million. Travelers also have a 100 percent coinsurance level of reasonable charges, $500,000 of maximum emergency medical transportation coverage and a $25,000 maximum repatriation of mortal remains coverage benefit.
- Where Voyager Choice differentiates itself is with maximum accidental death and dismemberment coverage. Under this plan, your coverage is extended up to $50,000. The outpatient prescription drug reimbursement benefit is also extended to 100 percent outside of the United States, up to $5,000 in costs.
- Voyager Choice also covers pre-existing conditions with no exclusion period – but as noted above, a primary health insurance plan is required. Deductible options range from $0 to $500 per injured person per policy period.
- Just as with the Voyager Essential plan, Voyager Choice also comes with coverage for baggage and personal effects along with post-departure trip interruption. Baggage and personal effects coverage is limited to $500 per trip period and $100 per bag or personal effect, while trip interruption is limited to $500 per trip period.
- When we searched for pricing, we found that based on our same criteria (35-year-old traveling for two weeks with $1 million maximum international medical coverage at $0 deductible), the price for Voyager Choice was around 22 percent higher than Voyager Essential. Your price may vary based on age, home ZIP Code, and length of trip.
- Read the plan description here.
Multi-Trip Travel Insurance
Like the single-trip plans, GeoBlue multi-trip travel insurance plans come with a doctor search database, the GeoBlue Drug Translation Guide, and the medical term and phrase translation database. You will also receive destination health and security information, along with health and security news alerts prior to departure and during your trip. Your price also includes a $3.50 membership fee into the Global Citizens Association.
Trekker Essential: Although it sounds like something you may purchase before going to a Star Trek convention, GeoBlue Trekker Essential is a multi-trip travel insurance plan that covers trips less than 70 days in duration over a 12-month period. This plan is available to all U.S. citizens and permanent residents under 85 years old.
- Under GeoBlue Trekker Essential, covered travelers have a maximum international medical coverage limit of $50,000, with no options to purchase additional coverage. Your coinsurance level remains at 100 percent of reasonable charges, with a maximum emergency medical transportation coverage benefit of $250,000.
- While the Trekker Essential plan does not come with accidental death and dismemberment insurance coverage, you are given a maximum repatriation of mortal remains benefit of up to $15,000.
- What truly differentiates Trekker Essential from the Voyager travel insurance plans is the outpatient prescription drug reimbursement benefit, pre-existing condition coverage and the addition of dental care for relief of pain benefits. With Trekker Essential, outpatient prescription drug reimbursement is 100 percent covered outside of the United States, with a maximum benefit up to $2,500. Pre-existing conditions you may have before your trip are covered with no waiting period.
- In addition, dental care for relief of pain is added under this plan. If you experience a dental emergency abroad, you may be covered for up to 100 percent of covered expenses, up to $100 maximum per trip period.
- This plan only offers a $50 deductible (which is waived when using a GeoBlue provider), but covers both coverage for non-emergency care and emergency medical care. This product also requires you to have a primary health plan. If you do not, you may not necessarily qualify for this product.
- Your price will vary based on your home ZIP Code, age, and effective date. When we searched for a 34-year-old from North Carolina starting in May, the 364-day Trekker Essential plan was $100.
- Read the plan description here.
Trekker Choice: For those who will be spending a significant amount of time outside of the United States, Trekker Choice may be the better choice due to higher maximum benefit limits. Like Trekker Essential, Trekker Choice provides multi-trip coverage for adventures outside of the United States for less than 70 days per trip. This coverage is available to U.S. citizens and permanent residents under 85 years old, who have a primary health insurance plan.
- Trekker Choice comes with higher insurance benefit maximums for those who will be using every part of their policy. The higher plan offers a $250,000 maximum international medical coverage limit, but is reduced to $100,000 for individuals between 70 and 84 years old. The plan still offers 100 percent coinsurance of reasonable charges.
- Under Trekker Choice, travelers have a maximum emergency medical transportation coverage of up to $500,000, as well as up to $25,000 of accidental death and dismemberment coverage. The maximum repatriation of mortal remains coverage is also increased to $25,000.
- The outpatient prescription drug reimbursement is also 100 percent covered outside of the United States, but is capped at a total of $5,000. This plan also offers the same level of dental care for relief of pain as Trekker Essential.
- Just as Trekker Essential, this plan also covers pre-existing conditions, alongside non-medical and medical emergency care. The plan has a $50 deductible (waived if seeing a GeoBlue care provider), with no other coverage options. Neither Trekker Essential nor Trekker Choice come with any other travel insurance benefits, such as trip interruption or baggage delay or loss.
- When we searched for prices using our standard search criteria, we found that the increased benefits also came with a higher price tag. If you plan on purchasing Trekker Choice, expect to pay around 75 percent more compared to Trekker Essential – but your price may vary.
- Read the plan description here.
What won’t GeoBlue International Travel Insurance cover?
Although GeoBlue offers one of the most comprehensive health plans in the marketplace today, there are several shortcomings that prevent it from being a fully comprehensive trip insurance plan. If you experience one of these situations with a GeoBlue travel insurance plan, you may not necessarily be covered.
- Trip cancellation, trip interruption, baggage delay or baggage loss: Because GeoBlue is a health insurance policy first, it does not offer traditional coverage for common travel loss situations, like trip cancellation or baggage loss. Although the Voyager plans do offer some coverage for trip interruption after departure, as well as baggage and personal effects, you should make sure your credit card offers coverage for these situations to compliment your GeoBlue plan.
- Elective medical treatment: Under the plan certificate, GeoBlue insurance will only cover services and supplies that are “medically necessary” as defined by the insurer. If you are going on a medical tourism trip, or participate in experimental or investigative treatments, your situations may not be covered.
- Pregnancy or maternity coverage: GeoBlue trip insurance plans will only cover complications of pregnancy during the trip period – not necessarily pregnancy or child birth. If you are planning on going abroad while pregnant, be sure to consult with your doctor before purchasing a travel insurance plan.
- Participating in a crime, insurrection, rebellion or riot: If you should decide to participate in a felony crime, insurrection, rebellion or act of rioting while abroad and get injured, you may not be covered under this plan. Additionally, any injuries that are a result of taking illegal drugs or intentionally misusing prescription drugs may also result in a claim denial.
- Sports and hazardous activities: If you plan on participating in a professional sports contest, intercollegiate sport, intramural sport, club sport or auto racing competition, this insurance plan will not cover you. Additionally, if you plan on participating in hazardous activities, such as sky diving, mountain climbing, or bungee jumping, don’t expect GeoBlue to pay claims for injuries resulting from these activities.
- Nuclear emergency: Finally, in the unlikely event you are involved in a nuclear emergency where nuclear energy is released, GeoBlue may not necessarily provide coverage. If government funds are made available for treatment of illness or injury, those funds will be used first.
This is just an abbreviated list of situations that may not be covered under GeoBlue trip insurance plans. For a full list, refer to the schedule of benefits of each plan, which are linked in the above content.
How do I file a claim with GeoBlue International Travel Insurance?
In the event you need to file a claim, GeoBlue makes it easy for you to do that. After you have purchased your GeoBlue travel insurance plan, you can create an account at their website, geobluetravelinsurance.com. The account allows you to find doctors and hospitals abroad, schedule appointments, or file and track claims online. The website also allows you to find travel clinics, pharmacies and personal health tools while abroad.
If you have a question about your travel insurance policy, including questions on what is and isn’t covered, GeoBlue customer service is available around the clock. Inside the U.S., you can call them toll free at 1-855-481-6647, or outside the U.S. you can call collect at +1-610-254-5850.
Who is GeoBlue International Travel Insurance best for?
Travelers who are primarily concerned about their health while abroad have the most to gain from GeoBlue international travel insurance plans. With a primary focus on health care, GeoBlue offers a well-rounded plan that allows travelers to access more than one million health care providers in 190 countries.
However, the key downside to GeoBlue plans are the lack of additional benefits. If you are hopeful for other protections for your trip, like trip cancellation or interruption benefits, this is not the plan for you. You would be better served by either ensuring your credit card offers additional coverage for traditional trip insurance situations, or looking for a policy that combines both health coverage and property and casualty insurance.