Your Health Plan Coverage on Vacation

Before you pack your bags and hit the road on vacation, take this one important precaution—call your health care provider.

The Department of Human Resources’ Benefits Division recommends adding this task to your pre-travel plans so that you understand your health coverage away from home and get the recommended vaccinations for international travel.

While you plan to be healthy while traveling, you should also be prepared! After all, accidents and illness can happen anywhere.

UnitedHealthcare members are urged to call the VEBA Advocacy Team at 888-276-0250.

Know ahead of time what’s covered and what’s not. While many plans may provide out-of-network coverage when you travel outside of the U.S., the way services are paid for can be different, according to UnitedHealthcare. Doctors and hospitals in other countries will commonly expect you to pay up front before starting treatment. Most likely, you will need to keep careful records and submit everything for reimbursement when you get home.

A trip abroad can be the trip of a lifetime. Keep it a healthy one. UnitedHealthcare offers these travel health tips:

  • Talk to your doctor at least six weeks before you go so you have time to get any necessary immunizations.

  • Find out about health concerns at your destination by checking reports issued by the Centers for Disease Control.

  • You can’t be certain about food safety in some countries. To avoid foodborne illness, you may want to drink bottled water, eat only food that is cooked or served hot, avoid raw fruits and vegetables except those you can peel, and avoid food from street vendors.

  • Don’t let jet lag ruin your trip. If you’re crossing time zones, it’s best to get your body moving into the new rhythm as soon as possible.

Kaiser Permanente members can call the Away from Home Travel Line at 951-268-3900.

In addition, KP offers a few pre-travel tips for members:

  • Make sure your immunizations are up to date, including your yearly flu shot.

  • Learn about immunizations required for international travel. If you’re leaving the country, ask your doctor or local travel clinic about vaccinations or medications you may need.

  • Refill your prescriptions, including contact lenses, to have enough while you’re away. Be sure to refill at least 1 or 2 weeks before your trip so there’s time to process your request.

  • If you travel by plane, keep your prescription medications with you in your carry-on baggage.

  • Before your trip, register with so you can see your health information online and email your doctor’s office with non-urgent questions.

  • “Visit” your doctor. Video appointments are available for members—even while on vacation. To make an appointment call 1-800-290-5000.

  • Pack your Kaiser Permanente card. It has important phone numbers on the back.

  • Save the Away from Home Travel Line number 951-268-3900 to your cellphone, you’ll have it handy in case you need it.

Safe travels and don’t forget to check in with your healthcare provider before you leave! UHC members can call the VEBA Advocacy Team at 888-276-0250 or Kaiser members 951-268-3900.

For more information on employee benefits, visit the division on InSite.