October 8, 2015
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Travel Medicine (cont.)

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Travel health insurance & medical evacuation insurance

Most health insurance policies have very limited coverage outside the home country, and your portion of the cost may be much more than it would be at home. Some may not cover travel-related care at all, or not cover emergencies related to high-risk activities. You may also be more comfortable with familiar health care in familiar surroundings, and being seriously ill away from home and family may can add an unanticipated and heavy financial burden, as well as psychological stress. Furthermore, most care will require up front cash or credit payment or not accept health insurance.

If you have a chronic disease, immune deficiency, or are pregnant in the third trimester, it may be especially beneficial, but anyone traveling outside the continental U.S. may wish to consider purchasing short-term travel health or medical evacuation insurance. This type of coverage is usually inexpensive compared to the cost of an unexpected health emergency. Most out of country health emergencies are related to motor-vehicle accidents and trauma, rather than health issues.

The U.S. Department of State can provide information on health care and medical emergencies when traveling abroad (http://www. travel.state.gov).

Travel safety and health alerts

Keep current on travel warnings and alerts related to crime, civil unrest, or terrorism by checking with the U.S. State Department for current travel alerts and warnings (http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings.html). Enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) with the U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs Register your itinerary and contact information with the U.S. Consulate office at your destination (https://step.state.gov/step/).

Where can I find additional information?

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a web site that can give you details about travel-related illnesses and precautions specific to individual countries: http://www.cdc.gov/travel/. To contact the CDC by phone, call 877-FYI-TRIP.
  • CDC has a Find a Clinic web page to help you find a travel clinic: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/find-clinic.
  • CDC also has a web page to help you find a travel clinic that is also an authorized U.S. yellow fever vaccine center: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellow-fever-vaccination-clinics-search.aspx.
  • The American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene has a list of clinics that specialize in travel medicine: http://www.astmh.org/source/ClinicalDirectory/.
  • Your doctor or the local public-health department will be able to help you manage chronic diseases abroad and get the vaccines and prescriptions you need.


United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Health Information for International Travel 2012. New York: Oxford University Press; 2012.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/19/2015

Source: MedicineNet.com

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