Your Health Abroad (2024)


Get Help with a Medical Emergency Abroad

If you or a U.S. citizen loved one become seriously ill or injured abroad, we can:

  • Help locate appropriate medical services.
  • Inform your family or friends, with your permission.
  • Helptransfer fundsto U.S. citizens overseas.

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 thewebsite of the U.S. embassy in the country you are visiting.


Check Your Health Insurance – Are You Covered Abroad?

Understand what medical services your health insurance will cover overseas before traveling. Carry your insurance card and a claim form if your policy covers you outside the United States.

Medicare does not cover medical care when you travel the United States. VisitMedicare.govfor more information.

Some health insurance companies pay for “customary and reasonable” hospital costs abroad. Very few pay for your medical evacuation back to the United States. The cost may exceed $250,000, depending on your location and medical condition. Consider buying medical evacuation insurance. For more information, visit our webpage on Insurance Coverage Overseas.


Traveling with Prescription Medications
  • Check with the foreign embassy of the country you are visiting or passing through. Check to make sure your medications are allowed, particularly prescriptions for medical marijuana. You may need an import license or permit to travel with certain medications.
  • Bring plenty of medicine for your trip. If possible, bring a few extra days’ worth in case of delays. You might not be able to get the same medication abroad.
  • Carry a letter from the doctor. It should describe your medical condition. It should also list any prescription drugs and their generic names.
  • Keep medications in their original, labeled containers.
  • Entering a country with a prescription medication, even if legally obtained in the United States, could be illegal and result in your detention or arrest overseas.


Medical Tourism Abroad

Between 150,000 and 320,000 U.S. citizens travel abroad for medical care each year. Medical tourism includes cosmetic surgery, dentistry, and other surgical procedures.

If you are a U.S. citizen considering travel abroad for medical care, you should:


Inform Yourself About Vaccinations

Some Countries Require Vaccinations

Before you travel, check country information. You may need to carry an International Certificate of Vaccination, also called a Yellow Card. You may also need to show proof of other inoculations or medical tests. Check also current requirements directly with the foreign embassies of the countries you are visiting.

Recommended Vaccinations and Malaria Prevention

Check theU.S.Centers for Disease Control (CDC)and World Health Organization (WHO)websites for recommended vaccinations and malaria prevention for your destination. Review the CDC’s webpage on Choosing a Drug to Prevent Malaria.


Travel Smartly with Prescription Medications
  • Bring an ample supply of medication to cover you for your trip, and if possible, a few extra days in case there are delays.
  • Carry a letter from the attending physician that describes your medical condition and any prescription medications, including the generic name of prescribed drugs.
  • Keep medications in their original, labeled containers.
  • Check with the foreign embassy of the country you are visiting or transiting to make sure your medications are permitted in that country. Some countries require an import license or permit to travel with certain medications.


Being Prepared for a Pandemic

Review theU.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for information about pandemics. In a pandemic, virus control measures could affect your travel:

  • Travel restrictions may prevent U.S. citizens from traveling internationally.
  • Foreign governments may close borders suddenly or with little advance warning.
  • Commercial air, land, and sea carriers could suspend some or all transportation services.
  • Some countries may quarantine people who appear sick or test positive with the virus.

These developments could delay your travel or your return to the United States.


Other Health Considerations Abroad

Last Updated: March 5, 2024

Your Health Abroad (2024)


Does your health insurance cover you abroad? ›

U.S. health insurance plans typically do not cover regular and routine medical care required overseas. This means your health insurance won't pay for care if you need to visit a doctor for a prescription medicine, or if you need treatment for a condition that is not considered an emergency.

Do you need your health insurance card when traveling abroad? ›

Carry your insurance card and a claim form if your policy covers you outside the United States. Medicare does not cover medical care when you travel the United States. Visit for more information.

What happens if I have a medical emergency in another country? ›

Health Care Resources for Travelers

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).

Should I take my medicare card to Europe? ›

In most situations, Medicare won't pay for health care or supplies you get outside the U.S. The term “outside the U.S.” means anywhere other than the 50 states of the U.S., the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

What happens if a US citizen gets sick in Europe? ›

Special care if you become ill or injured while traveling

Contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for a list of local healthcare providers and medical facilities. If your illness is serious, consular officers can help you find medical assistance. If you want, they can inform your family and friends.

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.

What is the best medical insurance for international travel? ›

Based on our comprehensive review, the companies offering the best travel medical insurance are Faye, IMG, Travelex, AIG Travel Guard and Allianz. Travel medical insurance is a specialized type of coverage that helps pay for medical bills and emergency evacuations if you're hurt or become sick while traveling.

Does Medicare cover you if you travel abroad? ›

Some Medicare Supplement insurance policies (also known as Medigap) do offer coverage for emergencies when traveling out-of-country. Medicare Supplement plans C, D, F, G, M and N cover some travel-abroad emergency help. No other Medicare Supplement plans provide foreign travel emergency coverage.

Is Blue Cross Blue Shield valid in other countries? ›

If you need medical care outside the U.S, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands you can rest assured that the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Service Benefit Plan offers worldwide coverage. Through the Overseas Assistance Center, you're covered when working or traveling overseas.

Does ObamaCare cover international travel? ›

Most ObamaCare health plans do not cover foreign emergency care. When traveling abroad and while cruising you'll want to get travel insurance.

What happens if an American gets sick in Italy? ›

Although many health insurance companies will pay “customary and reasonable” hospital costs abroad, very few will pay for your medical evacuation back to the United States. Medical evacuation can easily cost $60,000 and up, depending on your location and medical condition.

Can I use my UnitedHealthcare in another country? ›

No matter where your assignment takes you, you have access to the health care resources you need. Your UnitedHealthcare Global insurance plan works efficiently and simply, wherever you are in the world.

What countries accept American Medicare? ›

Medicare doesn't usually cover health care outside the U.S. (And the government's definition of the U.S. includes the 50 states and the District of Colombia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands.) However, there are some small exceptions.

What countries accept US Medicare and Medicare? ›

The 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa are considered part of the U.S. Anywhere else is considered outside the U.S. Medicare drug plans don't cover prescription drugs you buy outside the U.S.

Does my US health insurance cover me in Europe? ›

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. More information is also available on the CDC insurance page.

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.

Does United Healthcare work internationally? ›

We are a healthcare provider you can trust, serving millions of members with our international group insurance plans in over 130 countries.

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