Traveling abroad can be good for the soul, but hard on your peace of mind because you never know when something could happen. You need to get somewhere but find out the busses aren’t running that day. The train schedule is unfathomable to your foreign eyes. Or, worst of all, you suddenly find yourself in need of medical assistance.
When planning to travel, prepare yourself from a medical standpoint. Some things to consider
Many health insurance policies don't cover you when traveling overseas.
Check with your insurance carrier to see if you are covered abroad. If you are, find out exactly what is covered. Be aware that Medicare does not cover medical care overseas. If you’re not covered in other countries it's wise to purchase a medical travel insurance policy.
Check out your medical travel insurance options.
Medical travel insurance varies, but generally there are separate policies for traveling and for evacuation back home to the United States. While your existing health plan might cover medical bills for you, chances are good that it won’t pay for evacuation. These insurance policies will be important in the event you get sick or injured during your travels. This is especially important for seniors, pregnant women and chronic health conditions.
Identify the U.S. embassy or consulate where you are going.
If you are injured or become seriously ill abroad, the local consular office can help locate the appropriate medical services and notify your family or friends if need be. You can find medical and emergency information for the location at usembassy.gov. Be sure to take the contact information with you on your travels.
Have extra medication on hand when you set out.
Keep your medications in their original bottles so they are easy to identify. Get to know each medication’s generic name in case it’s known by a different name in the country you’re going to visit. This will come in handy if you need to get refills during your travels, but keep in mind that you may not be able to replenish in more remote destinations. Bring an extra supply of medications with you.
Carry contact and health information with you in your carryon luggage.
Write down how you can be reached, whom to contact in case of an emergency and the generic names for your medications. If you have a serious or chronic health condition, consider having your physician write a note for you with pertinent details.
With some planning and preparation, you can have peace of mind knowing you have what you need in a medical emergency or illness while traveling abroad. Learn what you can about travel medical insurance and get quotes here, whether you are going to travel domestically or abroad.