Travel Guide: The One about Contacting Your Medical Provider Before Traveling Overseas


Most often, when we travel, we hope no one gets sick or gets hurt while traveling.

But the truth is, things happen.

While I have never got injured or sick beyond belief during any of my travels, I know people who have.

During an earlier trip with my brother, on the final days, he was absolutely sick with a fever.  While another person I know was incapacitated after eating food he knew he shouldn’t be getting and his gout flared up.

Fortunately, you can purchase medicine from a local pharmacy while you are overseas.

But of course, there are worse things that can happen and we just need to prepare for such things.

Before traveling, I recommend contacting your medical provider.  Look on back of your medical insurance card and there is usually a phone number to call for international services.

Knowing this, it’s important to bring your medical insurance card while traveling, because you will have that information ready, if you ever go to the hospital or clinic overseas.  That ID number you have on your card will be important.

If you don’t want to call, you can access information on line.

For Aetna, click here

For Allianz, click here

For Blue Cross/Blue Shield, click here

For Cigna, click here

For Humana, click here

For Kaiser Permanente, click here

For United Health Care/Medex, click here

If you are on Medicare, it’s important to know that Medicare is not covered overseas.  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.

But always be prepared.

Using Blue Cross/Blue Shield as an example, after contacting them and providing your ID #, they will provide you with an International Claim form via e-mail.  And also the following information:

Under your program, outpatient services are to be paid upfront by yourself and then you are eligible to file for reimbursement. For inpatient hospitalization we can attempt to set up direct billing and you will only be responsible for any items that are not covered by your policy.

If you incur any costs for the medical treatment, collect the following documents prior to leaving the doctor’s office as you will need to submit these with your international claim form:
1. A copy of your medical records
2. A detailed invoice
3. A receipt of any payment made

Be sure to keep a copy for your records and note we will handle all translations and currency conversions.

You can send your claim information via email, fax, postal mail, or on the BCWW website.

Nevertheless, I know a lot of us want to enjoy our vacations, and others, they love to participate in a lot of the action that the country brings.  May you be a person who rents a car for several days to ride around the country, a surfer, climber, cyclist, ski/snowboarder, etc., definitely be prepared if anything injuries do happen.