Getting Health Care During Travel | Travelers' Health (2024)

Getting Health Care During Travel

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Getting Health Care During Travel | Travelers' Health (1)

You can get sick or injured during travel and might need health care. Before your trip, make a plan for how you will get health care when traveling. This plan is especially important for senior citizens, pregnant women, people with underlying medical conditions, and people who will be traveling for more than 6 months.

Make a plan

Before you travel, know how you will get health care.

  • Get travel insurance.Find out if your health insurance covers medical care abroad. Travelers are usually responsible for paying hospital and other medical expenses out of pocket at most destinations. Make sure you have a plan toget care overseas, in case you need it. Consider buyingadditional insurancethat covers health care and emergency evacuation, especially if you will be traveling to remote areas.

  • Enroll with the Department of State’sSmart Traveler Enrollment Program(STEP). Check for and monitor any travel advisories for your destination. Enrolling also ensures that theUS Department of Stateknows where you are if you have serious legal, medical, or financial difficulties while traveling. In the event of an emergency at home, STEP can also help friends and family contact you.

  • Take recommended medicines as directed. If your doctor prescribes medicine for you, take the medicine as directed before, during, and after travel. Counterfeit drugs are common in some countries, so only take medicine that you bring from home and make sure to pack enough for the duration of your trip, plus extra in case of travel delays. Learn more about traveling abroad with medicine.

  • Prepare a card that identifies your blood type, any chronic illnesses you have, any medicines you are taking, and your allergies. Have this information available in your destination's local language, if possible.
  • Wear a MedicAlert bracelet if you have serious medical conditions.

Health Care Resources for Travelers

The following list of resources may help international travelers identify health care providers and facilities around the world. CDC does not endorse any particular provider or medical insurance company, and accreditation does not ensure a good outcome.

More Information

Getting Health Care During Travel  | Travelers' Health (2024)


How does health insurance work when traveling? ›

Travel health insurance pays for emergency medical services while you're outside the country. These plans are designed for short trips, such as vacations, work functions or family visits.

How to see a doctor while travelling? ›

Where do I get care while I'm traveling?
  1. Advice hotlines. Many insurance providers include access to a 24-hour hotline that you can call for medical advice. ...
  2. Virtual care. ...
  3. Walk-in clinics at drugstores. ...
  4. Urgent care centers.

What to do if you get sick while traveling abroad? ›

The nearest US embassy or consulate can help travelers locate medical services and notify your friends, family, or employer of an emergency. They are available for emergencies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, overseas and in Washington, DC (888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444).

What is travel to obtain medical treatment? ›

Medical tourism refers to people traveling abroad to obtain medical treatment. In the past, this usually referred to those who traveled from less-developed countries to major medical centers in highly developed countries for treatment unavailable at home.

What happens if I need medical care in another country? ›

The U.S. government does not pay overseas medical bills. The patient must pay all hospital and other expenses. You can find lists of doctors and hospitals in the country you are visiting. Check the website of the U.S. embassy in the country you are visiting.

Can I use my US health insurance in another country? ›

Before you go, consider your insurance options.

U.S. Medicare and Medicaid do not cover medical costs overseas. Private U.S. insurance policies also might not cover any or all expenses. Check with your insurance before traveling to see if it provides coverage overseas.

Does travel insurance cover doctor visits? ›

Medical expenses and emergency evacuation

If you travel within the U.S., your health insurance should cover any illness or injury you sustain. If you're traveling abroad, though, your plan may provide little or no coverage. The right travel insurance should cover doctors' fees and hospital bills, Durazo said.

How much is travel medical? ›

Costs can vary widely depending on factors such as coverage level, age, destination, and trip length. A full week of coverage may cost less than $4 or more than $100. Generally, the cost of a travel medical insurance policy is lower if: You choose a lower overall maximum coverage limit.

What happens if a tourist gets sick in the USA without insurance? ›

Seek Emergency Care When Necessary

In life-threatening medical situations, don't hesitate to call 9-1-1 or visit the nearest emergency room. Medical providers are required by law to stabilize patients in emergency situations regardless of their insurance status.

Do I need additional medical insurance when traveling abroad? ›

Americans traveling overseas are often urged to buy travel insurance because Medicare and Medicaid generally don't cover medical costs outside of the country, the U.S. State Department says.

How to get healthcare abroad? ›

The nearest US embassy or consulate can help travelers locate medical services and notify friends, family, or employer of an emergency. Emergency consular services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, overseas and in Washington, DC (888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444).

What happens if you get sick while Travelling? ›

If you or a travel companion gets an injury or sickness that can't be helped with basic first aid or an over-the-counter medicine, seek medical attention right away. Visit Getting Health Care During Travel to learn how to connect with a doctor or medical services during your trip.

How do you travel with a chronic health condition? ›

How to Travel with a Chronic Condition
  1. Call your doctor. Let your primary care physician or specialist know where you'll be. ...
  2. Plan your prescriptions. There's a lot to consider regarding medication. ...
  3. Make an emergency kit. ...
  4. Check your insurance. ...
  5. Call your airline or TSA. ...
  6. Use these resources. ...
  7. Pack extra glasses.
Aug 21, 2023

What is the difference between travel insurance and medical travel insurance? ›

International health insurance is designed to provide a comprehensive level of health care to those relocating from their home country for a sustained period of time, whereas travel insurance provides cover for emergency treatment while you are in another country for a shorter space of time.

Can a tourist get medical treatment in the USA? ›

For International Patients/Caregivers

Those patients arriving from abroad will need to obtain a B-2 temporary visitor's visa for medical treatment prior to entering the United States for medical treatment.

What happens if an American goes to the hospital in Europe? ›

Be aware that you will likely have to pay out of pocket for any medical treatment, even if your insurance company provides international health care coverage. A visit to the emergency room can be free or cost only a nominal fee, or it can be expensive, depending on where you are and what treatment you need.

Does travel insurance cover everyone on the trip? ›

Answer: Even though you are paying for the entire trip, each traveler would still need to be insured so they are covered as well during the trip. If you all live in the same state and travel on the same dates, you can all be on the same policy with most providers.

How much medical coverage do I need for travel? ›

How much travel medical insurance do you need? Squaremouth, a travel insurance comparison site, recommends buying at least $50,000 in emergency medical coverage for international travel. For travelers going on a cruise or to a remote destination, the site recommends at least $100,000 in coverage.

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