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International Travel

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Before You Go

Your Health Abroad

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Get Help with a Medical Emergency Abroad

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

  • Assist in locating appropriate medical services.
  • Inform your family or friends, with your permission.
  • Help transfer funds to the U.S. citizen overseas.

We do not pay medical bills. Payment of hospital and other expenses is the patient’s responsibility.

You can find lists of doctors and hospitals in the country you are visiting on the U.S. embassy or consulate websites

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Check Your Health Insurance – Are You Covered Abroad?

Before you go abroad, learn what medical services your health insurance will cover overseas. If your health insurance policy provides coverage outside the United States, REMEMBER to carry both your insurance policy identity card as proof of such insurance and a claim form. 

Although some health insurance companies pay "customary and reasonable" hospital costs abroad, very few pay for your medical evacuation back to the United States. Medical evacuation can cost $50,000 or more, depending on your location and medical condition. For more information, visit our website for Insurance Providers for Overseas Coverage

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What about Medicare?

In general, health care you get while traveling outside the United States is not covered by 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 United States.   

Medicare may pay for inpatient hospitaldoctorambulance services, or dialysis you get in a foreign country in rare cases. Visit Medicare.gov for more information. 

Senior citizens may wish to contact Medicare.gov, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) or a travel agent for information about foreign medical care coverage with private Medicare supplement plans. 

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Questions about Insurance

What to Ask Your Insurance Company About Coverage Abroad

  • Does this insurance policy cover emergency expenses abroad such as returning me to the United States for treatment if I become seriously ill?
  • Does this insurance cover high-risk activities such as parasailing, mountain climbing, scuba diving and off-roading?
  • Does this policy cover pre-existing conditions?
  • Does the insurance company require pre-authorizations or second opinions before emergency treatment can begin?
  • Does the insurance company guarantee medical payments abroad?
  • Will the insurance company pay foreign hospitals and foreign doctors directly?
  • Does the insurance company have a 24-hour physician-backed support center? 

Travel Insurance vs. Travel Medical Insurance – There’s a Difference

  • Travel Insurance insures your financial investment in your trip. Typically it covers such things as the cost of lost baggage and cancelled flights, but it may or may not cover costs of medical attention you may need while abroad.
  • Travel Medical Insurance covers costs of medical attention you may need while abroad.
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Find a Doctor or Hospital Abroad

For an authoritative reference on physicians abroad, consult the American Board of Medical Specialists

You can find lists of doctors and hospitals in the country you are visiting on the U.S. embassy and consulate websites, under the “American Citizens Services” heading.  

The U.S. Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the medical professionals, medical facilities or air ambulance services whose names appear on the lists developed by the U.S. embassy and consulates.  Inclusion on this list is in no way an endorsement by the U.S. Department of State or the U.S. embassy or consulate. Names are listed alphabetically, and the order in which they appear has no other significance. The information in the list on professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the medical professional, medical facility or air ambulance service; the embassy or consulate is not in a position to vouch for such information. You may receive additional information about the individuals and facilities on the list by contacting local medical boards and associations (or its equivalent) or local licensing authorities.

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Travel Smartly with Prescription Medications

If you have pre-existing medical problems:

  • Carry a letter from the attending physician that describes the medical condition and any prescription medications, including the generic name of prescribed drugs.
  • Leave your medications in their original containers and label them clearly.
  • Check with the foreign embassy of the country you are visiting or transiting to make sure your medications are permitted in that country.
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Medical Tourism Abroad

It is estimated that thousands of U.S. citizens travel abroad for medical care each year. Medical tourism includes cosmetic surgery, dentistry, and other surgery procedures. 

U.S. citizens considering travel abroad for medical care should:

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Inform Yourself About Vaccinations

Vaccinations Are Required for Entry to Some Countries

Some countries require foreign visitors to carry an International Certificate of Vaccination, also known as a Yellow Card, or other proof that they have had certain inoculations or medical tests before entering or transiting their country. Before you travel, check the country information and contact the foreign embassy of the country to be visited or transited through for current entry requirements.

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Recommend Vaccinations for Travel to Some Countries

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) provide recommendations for vaccinations and other travel health precautions for travel abroad.

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Know Your Options Abroad During a Pandemic Flu Outbreak

Learn about your destination