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How to Access Medical Care While Traveling Overseas

A medical emergency or unexpected illness can happen anywhere. And while you hope it doesn't occur when you're out of the country, it's always good to have a plan. Maybe you're a frequent business traveler or simply planning a vacation abroad. Either way, it pays to be prepared. 

You might find that medical practices in other parts of the world are not what you're used to at home. Language barriers can add to the confusion. And if you're pregnant, elderly or have a chronic condition, you need to be especially careful.

Here's what you should know:

  • Find a doctor or hospital. Although no one expects to get sick when traveling overseas, it could happen. That's why it's best to look up a provider before you leave. It's easy with the Overseas Provider Tool. For more information and help filing a claim, visit the Overseas page.

  • Carry your health insurance card. Always have your Blue Cross and Blue Shield Service Benefit Plan member ID card with you. You can also access your mobile ID card through your MyBlue® account anytime, anywhere. While you’re traveling, the Worldwide Assistance Center can help with any additional questions. Operators can be reached 24/7 at 1-804-673-1678, or you can email

  • Bring your meds. Be sure to pack more than enough medication in case you face delays returning home. Keep them in their original containers, and make sure you know the generic names. It’s also smart to carry a list of your medications, any allergies or chronic illness. If you have a serious medical condition, wear a medical ID bracelet or necklace.

  • Read the Overseas FAQ page. Before you go, visit the Overseas FAQ Page. It has things you should know about benefits and coverage when traveling.   

As you plan for your trip abroad, refer to this helpful traveler's checklist from the U.S. Department of State.

Published on: June 29, 2017