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What do I need to know about insurance before I travel?

Trust me, the last place you want to go while you're on vacation is a hospital, and you sure don't want to be unprepared when it comes to health insurance coverage.

After all, health insurance is something you don’t think about until you need it. Before you travel for vacation or business, make sure you go through this checklist:

  1. Make sure you have your health insurance card, your prescription card (if applicable) and emergency contact info with you.
  2. Contact your health insurer to make sure you understand what your options are for medical care when you’re away from home. Your destination, whether domestic or international, and how long you’re staying may affect your coverage.
  3. If traveling internationally, get any recommended vaccinations. If you need regular blood test, allergy shots, ongoing therapy, find out how to access these services while you’re away.
  4. Research in-network hospitals and emergency care facilities at your destination.
  5. If anyone is taking medications, make sure that you will not run out of any of them while you're away.  If you think you might, talk with your pharmacist about refilling them.  You may need a prescription from your doctor.  When packing any medications, pack them in your carry-on bag in the orignal packaging.  You do not want to risk losing them in your checked baggage.
  6. If you’re traveling with children, make sure their immunizations are up to date.
  7. Just to be safe, leave the contact information of your physicians with family or friends in case they need to reach them on your behalf.

Health care crises are unexpected, of course, but planning ahead can make all the difference. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.