Getting Health Care During Travel | Travelers' Health (2024)

Getting Health Care During Travel

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Getting Health Care During Travel | Travelers' Health (1)

You can get sick or injured during travel and might need health care. Before your trip, make a plan for how you will get health care when traveling. This plan is especially important for senior citizens, pregnant women, people with underlying medical conditions, and people who will be traveling for more than 6 months.

Make a plan

Before you travel, know how you will get health care.

  • Get travel insurance.Find out if your health insurance covers medical care abroad. Travelers are usually responsible for paying hospital and other medical expenses out of pocket at most destinations. Make sure you have a plan toget care overseas, in case you need it. Consider buyingadditional insurancethat covers health care and emergency evacuation, especially if you will be traveling to remote areas.

  • Enroll with the Department of State’sSmart Traveler Enrollment Program(STEP). Check for and monitor any travel advisories for your destination. Enrolling also ensures that theUS Department of Stateknows where you are if you have serious legal, medical, or financial difficulties while traveling. In the event of an emergency at home, STEP can also help friends and family contact you.

  • Take recommended medicines as directed. If your doctor prescribes medicine for you, take the medicine as directed before, during, and after travel. Counterfeit drugs are common in some countries, so only take medicine that you bring from home and make sure to pack enough for the duration of your trip, plus extra in case of travel delays. Learn more about traveling abroad with medicine.

  • Prepare a card that identifies your blood type, any chronic illnesses you have, any medicines you are taking, and your allergies. Have this information available in your destination's local language, if possible.
  • Wear a MedicAlert bracelet if you have serious medical conditions.

Health Care Resources for Travelers

The following list of resources may help international travelers identify health care providers and facilities around the world. CDC does not endorse any particular provider or medical insurance company, and accreditation does not ensure a good outcome.

More Information

Getting Health Care During Travel  | Travelers' Health (2024)


How does health insurance work when traveling? ›

Travel health insurance pays for emergency medical services while you're outside the country. These plans are designed for short trips, such as vacations, work functions or family visits.

How to see a doctor while travelling? ›

Where do I get care while I'm traveling?
  1. Advice hotlines. Many insurance providers include access to a 24-hour hotline that you can call for medical advice. ...
  2. Virtual care. ...
  3. Walk-in clinics at drugstores. ...
  4. Urgent care centers.

What to do if you get sick while traveling abroad? ›

The nearest US embassy or consulate can help travelers locate medical services and notify your friends, family, or employer of an emergency. They are available for emergencies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, overseas and in Washington, DC (888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444).

What is travel to obtain medical treatment? ›

Medical tourism refers to people traveling abroad to obtain medical treatment. In the past, this usually referred to those who traveled from less-developed countries to major medical centers in highly developed countries for treatment unavailable at home.

Can I use my US health insurance in another country? ›

Before you go, consider your insurance options.

U.S. Medicare and Medicaid do not cover medical costs overseas. Private U.S. insurance policies also might not cover any or all expenses. Check with your insurance before traveling to see if it provides coverage overseas.

Can you use travel insurance instead of health insurance? ›

Travel insurance isn't the same thing as health insurance.

Travel insurance with emergency medical benefits offers just that — benefits for losses due to covered medical and dental emergencies. It doesn't cover preventive, routine or elective medical care.

What happens if I need medical care in another country? ›

The U.S. government does not pay overseas medical bills. The patient must pay all hospital and other expenses. You can find lists of doctors and hospitals in the country you are visiting. Check the website of the U.S. embassy in the country you are visiting.

Can tourists go to hospital in the US? ›

The U.S. government does not provide health benefits to citizens or visitors. Any time you get medical care, someone has to pay for it. Healthcare is very expensive. According to a U.S. government website, if you break your leg, you could end up with a bill for $7,500.

What happens if an American goes to the hospital in Europe? ›

Be aware that you will likely have to pay out of pocket for any medical treatment, even if your insurance company provides international health care coverage. A visit to the emergency room can be free or cost only a nominal fee, or it can be expensive, depending on where you are and what treatment you need.

How much is travel medical? ›

According to our research, the average cost of travel insurance is $204, but you could pay anywhere between $14 and $765 for travel insurance. While this may seem like a wide price range, it's important to understand that travel insurance is not a “one price fits all” purchase.

Does insurance cover medical tourism? ›

Medical tourism insurance is a specialized type of insurance that provides coverage for patients who travel to another country for medical treatment. It covers various aspects of the medical journey, including pre-travel medical consultations, medical procedures, and post-treatment follow-up care.

What is the difference between travel insurance and medical travel insurance? ›

International health insurance is designed to provide a comprehensive level of health care to those relocating from their home country for a sustained period of time, whereas travel insurance provides cover for emergency treatment while you are in another country for a shorter space of time.

Do I need additional medical insurance when traveling abroad? ›

Before you go, consider your insurance options in case you need care while traveling. Travel health insurance is especially important if you have an existing health condition, are traveling for more than 6 months, or doing adventure activities such as scuba diving or hang gliding," the agency writes.

What happens if you have to go to the hospital in another country? ›

The staff at U.S. consulates throughout the world can help traveling Americans locate health care providers and facilities, contact family members in the U.S., and assist with the wire transfer of funds from the U.S. Even if your insurance company will cover part of the charges of your medical care abroad, you will ...

How much medical coverage do I need for international travel? ›

How much travel medical insurance do you need? Squaremouth, a travel insurance comparison site, recommends buying at least $50,000 in emergency medical coverage for international travel. For travelers going on a cruise or to a remote destination, the site recommends at least $100,000 in coverage.

Does travel insurance cover everyone on the trip? ›

Answer: Even though you are paying for the entire trip, each traveler would still need to be insured so they are covered as well during the trip. If you all live in the same state and travel on the same dates, you can all be on the same policy with most providers.

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