Most regular health insurance plans don’t cover medical bills outside your country. Specific regulations are different in each country. A lot of people may be surprised by the fact that incurred costs due to illness and/or injuries are not covered by their insurance company. For example, the US Social Medicare does not cover any of the costs for accidents when you are traveling outside the US.

Some insurance companies may partly cover hospital bills but, for example, in case you are in need of urgent, better health care that requires travel to another country, these additional costs will generally not be covered. Trust me, you don’t want to be stuck paying for this. When you decide to travel, make sure to have a good international health insurance plan. Also, make sure to carefully read, understand and have a copy of your insurance policies with you before flying out.

Most consulates of developed countries are able to support you with any help in regards to medical health care. They can provide you with information about health care facilities and consult you on financial concerns.

I recommend that you take the 6 following tips for heart when it comes to health care when traveling:

  • Check coverage

Make sure to check with your insurance company to what extent possible healthcare costs are covered. Read the insurance plan policies or simply call your insurance company to get more information. In addition, be familiar with all procedures required in case you need to file claims. Usually, you will have to pay the medical bills first and file claims at your insurance company at a later date.


  • Policy

Determine for your situation whether you just need a travel insurance or an insurance also covering medical evacuation. If you are traveling to an area with less-than adequate health care conditions, you probably want to ensure you have coverage for medical evacuation in case you need to leave the country for better medical care.


  • Contact details

Before traveling, make sure to save the contact details of your insurance company in your phone. In case you’re traveling to multiple countries, locate your country’s consulate and write down the address and number in each country. Keep a copy of your health insurance plan and contact details in a safe place at your accommodation in case your phone is lost or stolen.


  • Personal condition

If you are being treated for a chronic condition, make sure to bring paperwork with information regarding the treatment. In case you’re on any other medication, it’s smart to list this as well and even have a backup supply of the required medicine in case you run into any problems.


  • Cards & Claims

Bring your insurance card with you at all times. This will serve as proof of being insured, which might be required in some hospitals before going into surgery. Also make sure to bring claim forms so you can directly fill in the forms with the doctor on sight.


  • Passport & other information

Make sure you always carry a copy of your passport and other important documents with you. In addition, have your emergency contact personel’s details and any other important details on you and up-to-date. Don’t forget to update these details in case you switch insurance companies or change your emergency contact.

Essential Tips to Navigate Health Care Abroad


I advise that you research the names of hospitals and well-known clinics in the regions you will be traveling to. For example, private clinics are usually better but also extremely expensive compared to government hospitals. In most countries, hospitals are very trustworthy, usually with international doctors and surgeons employed. A lot of countries have international hospitals, especially in Asia. These hospitals are just as good as any Western hospital. The international hospitals are also used to dealing with foreigners and speaking English.


In any case, I highly recommend picking a good international health insurance before traveling. It might costs you a little more, however, it will save you a lot of time and money in the event of an emergency or accident. Therefore, you can travel around without worrying about certain scenarios because ultimately… You want to relax and enjoy yourself, right?


About Marcel de Jong – Marcel de Jong is specialist in traveling for more than 15 years. He saw more than 47 countries and keeps traveling 10 months per year. Since 2012 he’s blogging for Now Health International helping thousands of people with the best tips for traveling, insurance and healthcare on the road. Now Health International is a global business that offers the International Health Insurance and International Medical Insurance services.