5 min read

Here’s Why More Countries Are Requiring Travel Medical Insurance 

As the world continues to see a rise in international tourism, more countries are requiring that visitors have a health insurance plan to enter the country. Over the last year, there has been a 4.8% increase in airline passengers traveling worldwide. This steady growth along with the seasonal influxes of passengers has had countries reconsider having a travel health insurance requirement .

What is Mandatory Travel Health Insurance?

Some countries require you to have proof of health insurance before they will let you into their borders. If you don’t have insurance, then they will mandate that you purchase a policy before they will let you through customs. You always will want to make sure that you research your countries visa and entry requirements before you travel so you aren’t caught off-guard. 

Why Are Countries Requiring Travel Medical

According to an Allianz report about the increase of countries requiring travel health insurance, “This trend is set to continue, as countries seek ways to relieve themselves of the financial burden of medical bills left unpaid by tourists, whether that is travelers taking advantage of free healthcare or simply making a swift exit without paying their bills.” 

So there are some high level reasons why countries are requiring travel medical: 

  1. Travel medical coverage helps the country you are visiting with covering healthcare expenses. 
  2. Healthcare organizations are more adept to working with travel insurance companies
  3. The healthcare organizations (many of which are government run - so taxpayer money), don’t have to worry about someone not paying their bill if they have insurance coverage. 

What countries require travel medical insurance?

Schengen Countries

Schengen area countries in Europe which include: 

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland

Cuba

This is part of the agreement between the U.S. and Cuba that allows American travelers to visit the nation. 

Ecuador

This is one of the more recent countries to require insurance, which includes the Galapagos Islands.

Other Destinations

These other countries also require travel medical insurance. 

  • Antarctica
  • Thailand
  • Qatar
  • Russia
  • Turkey
  • United Arab Emirates

What if I don’t have travel medical when I arrive to my destination? 

Normally there will be kiosks available in the airport terminal where you can buy travel health insurance if you didn’t have an opportunity, or were unaware that you needed to have coverage before you arrived. You can also open your phone and purchase a plan instantly on our website

So, we think that in the next couple of years we’ll see an increase in the need for travel health insurance to travel to almost any country, especially with the current COVID-19 pandemic. We always suggest to get a quote to see how you can fit it into your travel budget, especially since buying a plan can be quick, easy and affordable. 


About the author:

James is the co-founder of Covered Traveler, and an avid traveler having visited 30 of the 50 states and multiple countries outside of the U.S. He enjoys traveling to places that are close to the water so he can fish, surf and relax on the beach.