If an American citizen becomes seriously ill or injured abroad, a U.S.consular officer can assist in locating medical services and informing family or friends. If necessary, a consular officer can also assist in the transfer of funds from the United States. (Note, however, that payment of hospital and all expenses is the responsibility of the traveler.) Click here for help with finding a hospital or doctor abroad.
Paying a little now can save you a LOT later. Obtaining medical treatment and hospital care abroad can be expensive, and medical evacuation to the U.S. can cost more than $50,000. U.S. medical insurance is generally not accepted outside the United States. Social Security Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide coverage for hospital or medical costs outside the United States.
Check your insurance policy. If it does not cover you abroad, it is a good idea to consider purchasing a short-term policy that does. There are health insurance policies designed specifically to cover travel. Many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas including medical evacuations. The names of some of the companies offering short-term health and emergency assistance policies are listed under insurance information on the Bureau of Consular Affairs website.
If your insurance policy does include coverage outside of the U.S., carry both the insurance policy identity card showing the coverage and a claim form. Very few health insurance companies cover a medical evacuation back to the U.S. You may need to obtain insurance to cover a medical evacuation.
International Hospitals and Doctors
Your U.S. Embassies and Consulates maintain lists of physicians and medical facilities in case you need medical care. See the U.S. Embassies and Consulates websites to access information on finding a hospital or doctor in a specific country. Once on the website, look for the lists under the U.S. Citizens Services section of the Embassy or Consulate website.
Disclaimer: The inclusion of a specific physician or medical facility does not constitute a recommendation and the Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the medical professionals, medical facilities, or air ambulance services whose names appear on such lists. Names are listed alphabetically, and the order in which they appear has no other significance. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the medical professional, medical facility, or air ambulance service.
International Health Concerns
The old saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” applies when traveling abroad. Know about the health concerns in your destination country before you arrive. Visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for valuable information on the health conditions around the world. You can find general guidance on health precautions, such as safe food advice, water precautions, and insect-bite protection.
The CDC also maintains an international traveler’s hotline at
or, by fax at
Pre-Travel Health Considerations — Do you need Vaccinations?
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.