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Return to Articles about Travel

Medical Information for Foreign Travelers

by: Herb Williams
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. 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 at http://www.cdc.gov .

For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases
abroad, consult the World Health Organizationís (WHO) web
site at http://www.who.int/en. The WHO also provides travel
health information at http://www.who.int/ith.

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.

About the Author

Herb Williams has been in the Financial Services Profession for the last 38 years. He lived in the middle east for 10 years where he represented Swiss and French Banks and Insurance Companies.Herb Williams has been in the Financial Services Profession for the last 38 years.
He and his wife Marsha run a full financial services Allstate Agency in Chicago.
http://www.auto-home-insure.com/go.php?travel&ezinemed

 

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