How does travel insurance cover monkeypox?

Tens of thousands of monkeypox cases have been detected worldwide as the epidemic continues to grow.
Unlike COVID-19, it did not trigger border closures, leaving Australians free to take off overseas.
Some may be wondering if their travel insurance will cover them if they fall ill with monkeypox, especially after many insurers excluded COVID-19 claims at the height of the pandemic (although many have now issued coronavirus coverage options).
Many travel insurers will not cover losses resulting from or related to pandemics or epidemics. Monkeypox has yet to officially receive either label, but insurers will always treat it differently.
Indeed, one insurance brand, 1Cover, told SBS News that it provides no coverage for claims stemming from monkeypox after July 9.

Here’s what you need to know:

What is monkey pox?

Monkeypox , with symptoms that include, among others, fever, headaches, rashes and lesions that will scab over before falling off. Symptoms usually begin 7-14 days after exposure.
It can be transmitted from person to person through close contact with lesions, bodily fluids, or material contaminated with the virus, such as bedding or clothing.
People infected with the virus are infected from the time symptoms appear until the lesions heal and a new layer of skin forms underneath.
Many reported cases involved men who have sex with men. But the World Health Organization (WHO), medical professionals and LGBTQI+ advocacy groups have pointed out .

There is a monkeypox vaccine and its rollout in Australia has begun. Those most at risk have been prioritized for the initial phase, with more supplies expected to arrive later this year and through 2023.

Where was monkeypox detected?

An upsurge in monkeypox infections has been reported since early May outside countries in West and Central Africa where the disease has long been endemic.
The WHO declared the situation an international public health emergency on July 23.
More than 35,000 cases in 92 countries and 12 deaths have now been reported to WHO. In Australia, there have been 89 infections (confirmed and probable).

Almost all new cases are reported in Europe and the Americas.

Will travel insurance cover medical expenses related to monkeypox?

SBS News has contacted a number of travel insurance brands to confirm which monkeypox claims they will cover.
These included Cover-More (which also issues policies under the Flight Centre, Helloworld, NRMA Insurance, Commonwealth Bank, Virgin Australia, Malaysia Airlines, Air New Zealand, Webjet and Easy Travel Insurance brands), NIB (which has partners distribution companies, including Travel Insurance Direct and World Nomads), Medibank and 1Cover.
, and stated that claims for reimbursement of medical expenses arising from the treatment of monkeypox would be claimable like other medical conditions under the terms set out in their policies.

Will travel insurance cover the cost of self-isolation?

SBS News also asked these brands if they would cover the cost of self-isolation if a traveler contracts monkeypox and is asked to self-isolate by a doctor or government health authority.
Cover-More and Medibank said these expenses would be claimable as additional accommodation, which should be of the same standard of accommodation as originally booked.

The NIB said it does not cover expenses related to self-isolation or quarantine.

Australia’s monkeypox vaccine rollout has begun, with high-risk groups prioritized for the vaccine in the initial phase Source: PAA, APE / Cristobal Herrera-Ulashkevich

What else to be aware of

It’s important to read a travel insurance policy’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before purchasing cover so you know exactly what is claimable and any exclusions, said group director Steve Mickenbecker. financial services comparison site Canstar.
For example, NIB has a general exclusion in its policy which states that it will not cover a “loss resulting from an epidemic, pandemic or declaration by the World Health Organization (WHO) of a public health emergency of international concern”. The WHO said the latter on monkeypox.
This general exclusion does not apply, among other things, to medical expenses and hospitalization allowances. But NIB said that meant claims for holiday cancellation or rescheduling costs “may not be covered”.
“Some will cover an event like monkeypox or COVID but only for medical expenses,” Mickenbecker said.

“Some cover cancellation or interruption if it’s you and your travel companion, or a family member or business partner, and some won’t cover those events at all.”

Mr Mickenbecker said PDS can be long and complicated, and recommended contacting the insurer about any points of confusion directly before buying a policy.
A traveler who contracts monkeypox and needs to make a claim should contact their insurer as soon as possible, he said.
“Your policy will indicate how quickly you should do this,” he said.
He said this should be done before incurring any costs, as insurers will explain what you are entitled to and what you need to do to ensure your claim is approved.
“Keep all the records you can … and all receipts for expenses incurred,” he said.

– with AFP

Comments are closed.