Travelers Alert – U.S. Dept. of State

Bureau of Consular Affairs
Washington DC 20520

This information is current as of today, Wednesday Apr 27 07:41:05 2005

The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover heath costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas, including emergency services such as medical evacuations.

When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical evacuation to the U.S. may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider or if you will be reimbursed later for expenses you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage of psychiatric treatments and for disposition of remains in the event of death.

Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs is provided in the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure Medical Information for Americans traveling Abroad, available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page.

The USAway International Major Medical provides valuable additional coverage to anyone traveling outside the United States. Benefits include up to $100,000 of global medical transportation and up to $5 million for expenses incurred as a result of an accident or a sickness.