Becoming ill while traveling in a foreign country can be frightening, so it is best
to be prepared before you leave home. Taking the following measures can minimize inconvenience
and distress should you become ill while traveling in a foreign country.
Check insurance coverage with your carrier and specifically identify whether or not
you are covered while traveling abroad. Ask for advice on medical care while traveling.
If your insurance policy does not cover you abroad, you may wish to consider purchasing
a short-term health insurance policy that does. There are short-term policies specifically
designed to cover travel. For more information, contact your travel agent or look
for information in travel magazines.
Be sure to have your health insurance identification card and a claim form with you
Medicare does not provide coverage for hospital or medical costs outside the United
States. Senior citizens may want to contact the AARP for information about foreign
medical care coverage with Medicare supplement plans.
Be sure to complete the information page on the inside of your passport, providing
the name, address, and telephone number of someone to contact in case of emergency.
This will help to facilitate identification in case of an accident.
If you have a pre-existing medical condition, carry a letter from your primary healthcare
provider describing the condition and any prescription medicines you are currently
taking. These should include generic names for these medicines.
Be sure to bring any medicines you are taking with you outside the United States in
their clearly labeled original containers. Some medicines are considered to be illegal
narcotics in foreign countries. You may want to check with the foreign embassy of
the country you are visiting to be sure.
Lists of English-speaking foreign healthcare providers can be obtained from the International
Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers.