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Cigna Health Insurance (US) emergency claims only??

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I hope I have this in the right forum.  This is not about Covid insurance.  I receive Cigna Medical Insurance through being employed at my (US) corporation.  I just called them (Cigna) to inquire about coverage provided when I'm in Thailand (as opposed to normal coverage while in the US).  What they told me is that only claims marked "Emergency" would be honored.  I assume this means if you get suddenly sick or break your leg the claim would be paid but routine medical procedures and surgeries would be denied.  I'm not sure if I believe this.  If this is so how does Medical Tourism exist?  Why wouldn't the insurance company be delighted to reimburse a much smaller bill from outside the US?  Has anyone else encountered this?  Do expats simply mark all claims Emergency? Or did I get someone that doesn't know what she's talking about?

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Most insurances offer (or impose) country and/or time specific limitations for coverage. My own Cigna health insurance (bought in Thailand) offers 3 options: Asia (excluding China, Hong Kong, Singapore), Worldwide excluding USA and Worldwide. For all not covered countries, emergency treatment is covered for up to 180 days per annum, which is similar to a travel insurance. 

Details for all insurances (not only health) lay in the T&C 

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The OP does not state in what capacity he finds himself in Thailand. This can make a difference.


US multinational companies that send their employees to work abroad will usually have a separate medical insurance program for such employees.  It is often with the same carrier that provides health insurance for the company's US-based employees, but with coverage modifications to make it respond to medical expenses incurred outside the US.


If the OP is here in a personal capacity as visitor, then the provisions of the US-based health insurance likely apply and there may be a number of limitation as the OP has discovered.


Expenses incurred for medical tourism are usually paid out of pocket.

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As others have said -- entirely usual for US insurance policies to not cover costs outside the US. Even when there is provision for emergency care abroad it is usually timebound e.g. for trips of not more than 21 - 30 days.


There is no US based insurance I am aware of that would meet the needs of an expat living abroad. You need to get a specific expat policy, of which there are many. If expecting to make regular (short term) visits back to the US, and needing cover there as well, Cigna Global's Close Care policy might be a good fit (issued by Cigna Global, not Cigna US). Buit whatever you opt for, get it through a good broker familiar with expat health care. I suggest AA Brokers, www.aainsure.net


Or if you are in Thailand just temporarily, get a travel policy.


If here for work, discuss the insurance limitations with your employer.

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