If an American citizen becomes seriously ill or injured abroad,
a U. S. 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 United
States. However, payment of hospital and other expenses is the
responsibility of the traveler.
Before going abroad, learn what medical services your health
insurance will cover overseas. If your health insurance policy
provides coverage outside the United States, REMEMBER to
carry both your insurance policy identity card as proof of such
insurance and a claim form. Although many health insurance companies
will pay "customary and reasonable" hospital costs abroad, very
few will pay for your medical evacuation back to the United States.
Medical evacuation can easily cost $10,000 and up, depending on
your location and medical condition.
THE SOCIAL SECURITY MEDICARE PROGRAM DOES NOT PROVIDE
COVERAGE FOR HOSPITAL OR MEDICAL COSTS OUTSIDE THE U.S.A.
Senior citizens may wish to contact the American Association
of Retired Persons for information about foreign medical care
coverage with Medicare supplement plans.
To facilitate identification in case of an accident, complete
the information page on the inside of your passport providing
the name, address and telephone number of someone to be contacted
in an emergency.
A traveler going abroad with any preexisting medical problems
should carry a letter from the attending physician, describing
the medical condition and any prescription medications, including
the generic name of prescribed drugs. Any medications being carried
overseas should be left in their original containers and be clearly
labeled. Travelers should check with the foreign embassy of the
country they are visiting to make sure any required medications
are not considered to be illegal narcotics.
A listing of addresses and telephone numbers of U.S. embassies
and consulates abroad is contained in Key Officers of Foreign
Service Posts. This publication may be obtained through
the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office,
Washington, DC 20402. Also available from the Government Printing
Office is Health
Information for International Travel by the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This contains a global rundown
of disease and immunization advice and other health guidance,
including risks in particular countries. For additional health
information, the CDC maintains the international travelers hotline
at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747), an automated faxback service
at 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299) and a home page on the Internet
For detailed information on physicians abroad, the authoritative
reference is The Official ABMS Directory of Board Certified
Medical Specialists published for the American Board of
Medical Specialists and its certifying member boards. This publication
should be available in your local library. U.S. embassies and
consulates abroad maintain lists of hospitals and physicians.
Major credit card companies also can provide the names of local
doctors and hospitals abroad.
Some countries require foreign visitors to have inoculations
or medical tests before entering. Before traveling, check the
latest entry requirements with the foreign embassy of the country
to be visited.
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