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Medical Care during International Travel

If you are an eligible member or covered family member traveling outside the United States, the Medical Plan covers medically necessary services.

Who's Eligible

Active members enrolled in the Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO or EPO* have access to the BCBS Global program and are eligible for assistance from International SOS.

Retired members with coverage under the Medicare Supplement Plan are also eligible for assistance from International SOS.

* If you are enrolled in Triple-S or GeoBlue, you should contact your plan for information about covered services while traveling internationally.

BCBS Global

If you are enrolled in the Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO or EPO, you and your covered family members may use Blue Cross Blue Shield Global for medical attention during an international trip, including

  • inpatient hospital care (pre-certification required);
  • outpatient hospital care and physician services; and
  • locating recommended hospitals and physicians.

EPO: Your coverage covers services by network providers only.

If you need medical assistance, call BCBS Global collect at 804-673-1177 from outside the United States. For inpatient hospital admissions when traveling abroad, call 800-810-BLUE (2583) or 804-673-1177 (collect).

With the BCBS Global program:

  • If you are treated as an inpatient at a hospital that belongs to the BCBS Global network, you may not have to pay in advance.
  • You may have to pay for any medical expenses when you receive treatment (cash, travelers’ checks, and credit cards usually are accepted).

If you pay for treatment, when you return, send your bills with a claim form to Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield for reimbursement.

International SOS

International SOS provides medical assistance services, including

  • help with emergency medical evacuation;
  • 24-hour access to International SOS physicians for emergency and routine medical advice;
  • 24-hour access to International Alarm Centers for medical information, referrals, and emergency assistance;
  • access to multilingual specialists, who can assist you in communicating with healthcare providers;
  • medical and dental referrals; and
  • case management.

If you plan to travel outside the United States, contact the Board of Pensions and review the Medical Assistance during International Travel Benefits Overview (see Related Information at right) before you leave. This overview contains a membership ID card, including emergency contact numbers, which you should carry with you when traveling internationally.