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 much medical travel insurance is enough? ›

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.

What is it called when you travel for healthcare? ›

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 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 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 travel insurance as health insurance? ›

Travel insurance isn't the same thing as health insurance.

Travel insurance with emergency medical benefits offers just that — benefits for losses due to covered medical and dental emergencies. It doesn't cover preventive, routine or elective medical care.

Is travel healthcare worth it? ›

So, is travel nursing worth it? Yes! With more money, flexibility, career options, travel perks, and personal growth, it's still one of the most exciting nursing opportunities in 2024.

Does traveling have health benefits? ›

For both men and women, studies show that taking a vacation every two years compared to every six will lessen the risk of coronary heart disease or heart attacks. Improved mental health: The University of Pittsburgh's Mind-Body Center found vacations increase pleasant emotions while reducing depression.

How much is travel medical? ›

According to our research, the average cost of travel insurance is $204, but you could pay anywhere between $14 and $765 for travel insurance. While this may seem like a wide price range, it's important to understand that travel insurance is not a “one price fits all” purchase.

What is travel healthcare? ›

When hospitals have gaps to fill due to staff shortages, seasonality, extended absences, or training, they turn to travel healthcare professionals, such as travel therapists, who step in for a given period of time and work alongside the core healthcare team.

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 happens if an American gets sick in Europe? ›

Special care if you become ill or injured while traveling

Contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for a list of local healthcare providers and medical facilities. If your illness is serious, consular officers can help you find medical assistance. If you want, they can inform your family and friends.

What happens when you get sick on an international flight? ›

Tell a flight attendant.

Many airlines also carry some over-the-counter medications that might help you feel better.” In extreme situations, the flight crew might even designate a lavatory for you to use for extended periods, though they can't allow you to stay in there during takeoff and landing.

Does my US health insurance cover me abroad? ›

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. More information is also available on the CDC insurance page.

Does Medicare cover me when I travel overseas? ›

In most situations, Medicare won't pay for health care or supplies you get outside the U.S. The term “outside the U.S.” means anywhere other than the 50 states of the U.S., the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Can Americans get free healthcare in other countries? ›

As a tourist in a foreign country, you should have travel health insurance to cover any unexpected medical expenses or you may have to pay out of pocket. That's because there is no “free” healthcare anywhere; every health system is funded either by taxes or other contributions by the residents of that country.

Is 250000 enough for medical travel insurance? ›

If traveling to a remote location or going on a cruise, Squaremouth recommends $250,000 in coverage. You can buy medical evacuation insurance coverage for up to $1 million, depending on the travel insurance plan you buy.

What is a good rate for travel insurance? ›

The average cost of travel insurance is about 3% to 5% of a trip's total value, according to quotes gathered by our research team across different travel insurance providers for various traveler profiles.

How much medical insurance do I need for travel to Europe? ›

A comprehensive travel policy with at least $50,000 in medical coverage is recommended when traveling to Europe or any country where you don't have health insurance. Travel medical insurance will cover expenses related to an unexpected injury or illness.

Is travel insurance really worth it? ›

Travel insurance can be useful, but it's not always necessary. The key to knowing if you need travel insurance is figuring out your specific risks for any given vacation, then deciding if you can buy coverage that adequately protects you from any financial losses and pitfalls that might occur.

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