An injury or a health problem while you are traveling can be a minor nuisance, an interesting cultural experience, or a major problem. Many travelers are unaware of the need to protect themselves and their finances from the consequences of unforeseen medical situations. Taking a few actions before you depart, and knowing where to get help if you need it on your trip, can help you keep difficulties to a minimum.
Why should I be concerned about medical coverage abroad?
- Many health insurance plans, including Social Security Medicare in the U.S., do not provide coverage overseas. Plans that provide "customary and reasonable" hospital costs abroad may not pay for your medical evacuation back to your home country, a huge expense.
- Many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service.
- Uninsured patients may be refused service.
- Countries with socialized medicine may not provide full services to non-residents.
- Payment of hospital and other expenses abroad is the responsibility of the traveler.
- Some countries require tourists to carry accident or travel insurance.
What questions should I ask my health insurance company?
- Does this insurance policy cover emergency expenses abroad such as returning me to my country for treatment if I am seriously ill?
- Does this insurance cover high-risk activities I may be planning, 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?
In the U.S., people of retirement age may wish to contact the American Association of Retired Persons for information about foreign medical care coverage with Medicare supplement plans.
Can my government assist me if I become disabled overseas?
- If a citizen becomes ill or is seriously injured abroad, a consular officer can assist in locating appropriate medical services and informing family or friends.
- If necessary, a consular officer can also assist in the transfer of funds from the home country.
- Payment of hospital and other expenses is the responsibility of the traveler.
What's the difference between travel insurance and travel medical insurance?
- Travel Insurance insures your financial investment up to the amount of your policy limits.
- Travel Medical Insurance insures you should you become ill and need medical attention while living or traveling abroad.
What insurance information should I carry with me abroad?
- Your insurance policy identity card as proof of your insurance
- Claim form
Several private organizations will provide medical information and insurance for overseas travelers. Most charge a fee for this service. The following is provided FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY and in no way constitutes an endorsement, expressed or implied, by World Trade Press or the US Department of State.
Medical Evacuation Companies
Advanced Air Ambulance
Tel: (800) 633-3590, (305) 232-7700
AeroCare Air Ambulance Services
Sugar Grove, IL
Tel: (800) 823-1911, (630) 466-0900
American International Group, Inc.
Tel: (800) 626-2427, (713) 267-2525
Air Ambulance Network
Tarpon Springs, FL
Tel: (800) 327-1966
Air Ambulance International
Tel: (800) 513-5192, (832) 934-2390
Fax: (832) 934-2395
Air Ambulance Professionals
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Tel: (800) 752-4195, (954) 491-0555
Tel: (800) 421-6111
AirMD Air Ambulance Services
Tel: (800) 282-6878, (727) 530-7972
Van Nuys, CA
Tel: (800) 922-4911, (818) 994-0911
Air Medic–Air Ambulance of California
Tel: (800) 245-9987
Air Star International
Tel: (877) 570-0911, (800) 991-2869
Tel: (800) 631-6565, (303) 858-9967
American Care, Inc.
San Diego, CA
Tel: (800) 941-2582, (619) 486-8844
American Jet Air Medical
Tel: (888) I-FLY-AJI, (713) 641-9700
Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance
Tel: (877) 264-3570, (480) 634-8017
Assist-Card (also provides travel insurance services)
Tel: (800) 874-2223, (786) 437-0100
122 S. Michigan Ave., Suite 1100
Chicago, IL 606031
Tel: (800) 874-4372
Critical Air Medicine
San Diego, CA
Tel: (800) 247-8326, (619) 571-0482
Critical Care Medflight
Tel: (800) 426-6557
Inflight Medical Services International, Inc.
Tel: (800) 432-4177, (941) 594-0800
International SOS Assistance (also provides travel insurance services)
Tel: (800) 523-8930, (215) 244-1500
Life Guard International, Inc.
Tel: (480) 333-3700
Medex Assistance Corporation (also provides travel insurance services)
Tel: (888) MEDEX-00, (800) 537-2029
Med Escort International Inc.
Tel: (800) 255-7182, (610) 791-3111
Medjet International, Inc.
Tel: (800) 356-2161, (205) 592-4460
Mercy Medical Airlift (Service area: Caribbean and part of Canada only. If necessary, will meet commercial incoming patients at JFK, Miami, and other airports.)
Tel: (800) 296-1217
National Air Ambulance
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Tel: (800) 327-3710, (305) 525-5538
Smartravel (provides a range of travel medicine services)
Tel: (800) 730-3170, (703) 379-8645
Stat Air International (provides air ambulance, med-evac, travel assistance and medical escort on private and commercial flights worldwide)
Travel Assist Network Corporation
Travel Care International, Inc.
Eagle River, WI
Tel: (800) 524-7633, (715) 479-8881
Travelers Emergency Network
Trinity Air Ambulance International (provides Air Ambulance/Med-evac's worldwide, Travel Assistance & Medical Escorts on commercial flights)
Tel: (800) 635-8583, (503) 681-3064
Austrian Air Ambulance
Tel:  (1) 40-144
Tyrol Air Ambulance
Tel:  (512) 22422
Helsinki International Airport
Tel:  (9) 870-2544
German Air Rescue (DRF)
AEA International (Service worldwide, also provides travel insurance services)
Johannesburg, South Africa
Tel:  (11) 315-3999
IAS Medical Air Ambulance
Tel:  (20) 870-042-1465
Travel Insurance Companies
Access America, Inc.
Tel: (866) 807-3982
International Health Insurance
Tel: (888) ASA-8288
Tel: (800) 872-0067, (202) 872-0060
CSA Travel Protection
San Diego, CA
Tel: (888) 873-5484
Expat Global Medical
Gateway International Insurance Plans
Health Care Global (also known as MEDHELP or WALLACH & COMPANY or HEALTHCARE ABROAD)
Tel: (800) 237-6615, (540) 687-3166
Highway to Health (also provides destination-based travel health information for cities worldwide)
Tel: (703) 322-1515
Tel: (800) 487-4722, (401) 773-9300
International Medical Group (IMG)
Tel: (800) 628-4664, (317) 655-4500
MultiNational Underwriters, Inc.
M. H. Ross Travel Insurance Services
Tel: (800) 423-3632
Petersen International Underwriters, Inc.
QuoteWright.com, America's Travel Insurance Store
Seven Corners, Inc.
Tel: (800) 335-0611, (317) 575-2652
Travel Assist Network Corporation
Tel: (800) 228-9792
Stevens Point, WI
Tel: (800) 826-1300, (715) 345-0505
Travel Insured International, Inc
E. Hartford, CT
Tel: (800) 243-3174
Travel Insurance Services
Walnut Creek, CA
Tel: (800) 937-1387, (925) 932-1387
Worldwide Travel Insurance
Los Angeles, CA
Tel: (877) 539-8619
Universal Service and Assistance
Tel: (800) 770-9111, (703) 370-7800
Tel: (800) 777-8710 ext. 417
Executive Medical Services
Health Quest Travel, Inc.
Tel: (888) 899-3633
Tel: (800) 636-9186
Air Medical Escort Services
1135 Kildare Farm Road, Suite 200
Cary, North Carolina 27511
Tel: (877) 400-0463, (919) 342-4598
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