If your travel plans include a trip overseas, check this list before you check your bags!
- Country-specific health conditions.www.cdc.gov/travel/destinationList.aspx. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control offers information on health concerns by country, including infectious diseases, recommended vaccines, malaria information (if pertinent), list of medications to bring and cautions on food and water.
- Individual-specific health information. If you have a pre-existing medical condition; allergies; reactions to certain medications, foods or insect bites or other medical problems, consider wearing a medical alert bracelet. You may also carry a letter from your physician explaining required treatment should you become ill.
- Information on hospitals and physicians. U.S. embassies and consulates abroad maintain lists of hospitals and physicians, many of which are posted on the embassy or consulate Web site. See http://usembassy.state.gov.
- Prescription drugs. Keep any necessary medications in your carry-on baggage in their original containers with legible labels. Check with the foreign embassy of the country you are visiting to make sure it does not consider any medications you require to be illegal narcotics. Information on filling a prescription abroad and other health issues may be found at http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/brochures/brochures_1215.html.
- Eyeglasses and contact lenses. Bring an extra pair and a copy of your prescription in your carryon.
- Insurance coverage. Hospitals and other medical providers outside the United States generally do not accept U.S. health insurance coverage. Even if your policy covers emergency care you need outside the U.S., you often must pay upfront and apply for reimbursement. Many plans reimburse as little as 50 percent of covered charges, after deductibles, when you use non-network providers. Further, most domestic health insurance plans do not cover medical evacuations, which can cost $50,000 or more.
Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid do not cover hospital or medical costs outside the United States. (However, some Medigap policies do provide coverage.) If your policy does not cover you while traveling abroad, you can buy a short-term travel health insurance policy to cover urgent and emergency services and medical evacuations.