Medical care during international travel

Your medical benefits through the Board of Pensions include coverage through BCBS Global and/or International SOS for medically necessary services when traveling outside the United States.

When planning international travel, review the following information and call the Board of Pensions at 800-773-7752 (800-PRESPLAN) to discuss available coverage.

BCBS Global

If you are enrolled in the PPO, EPO, or HDHP* and access your benefits through the national Blue Cross Blue Shield network, you and your covered family members may use BCBS Global for medical care and assistance during an international trip. The program includes access to

  • inpatient hospital care (precertification required);
  • outpatient hospital care and physician services; and
  • assistance locating recommended hospitals and physicians.

If you are enrolled in the EPO or HDHP, only services by network providers are covered.

Remember to

  • carry your medical ID card wherever you go; and
  • go directly to the nearest hospital in an emergency.

How it works

If you are looking for a doctor or hospital, or need inpatient care when you are outside the United States, visit the BCBS Global website, or call the BCBS Global Service Center at 800-810-2583 or collect at 804-673-1177, 24 hours a day, seven days a week:

  • If you need to locate a doctor or hospital, an assistance coordinator (together with a medical professional) will arrange an appointment or hospitalization, if necessary. Precertification requirements may apply.
  • If you need inpatient care, BCBS Global can help you arrange direct billing between the provider and Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield. In most cases, you should not need to pay upfront for inpatient care except for the out-of-pocket expenses (deductibles, copays, and/or coinsurance as well as any noncovered services) you normally pay. The hospital should submit the claim on your behalf.

In addition to contacting BCBS Global, call the number on the back of your medical ID card for precertification.

For outpatient and doctor care, or inpatient care not arranged through BCBS Global, you may have to pay for services upfront, when you receive treatment (cash, travelers’ checks, and credit cards usually are accepted). If you pay for treatment, when you return, send your bill(s) with a claim form (available on the BCBS Global website) to the address on the form for reimbursement under the Medical Plan. You can also submit your claim online or through the Blue Cross Blue Shield Global Core mobile app available from the iOS App Store or Google Play.

International SOS

If you are enrolled in the PPO, EPO, or HDHP*, you and your covered family members are eligible for assistance from International SOS (ISOS). Retired members with coverage under the Medicare Supplement Plan also are eligible.

Assistance from ISOS includes the following:

  • 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
  • case management

To access ISOS services, call the nearest assistance center (see below) and provide the membership number 11BCMA000136. No card is needed to access services, but this reference card contains all the relevant information. Or, go to the International SOS website to learn about the ISOS app, which provides medical and security information, by country.

Assistance center​ ​Phone ​Fax
Mexico, Central or South America​​Call Philadelphia, PA, collect:
​Canada ​800-441-4767 
​Europe, CIS (former Soviet Republic), Africa, or the Middle East ​Call London, England, collect:
​Asia, Australia, or the Pacific Rim​Call Singapore collect: 65-6338-7800 ​65-6338-7611

*Those enrolled in Triple-S or GeoBlue should consult their plan for information about covered services while traveling internationally.