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Medical care while traveling

There is no good time to become ill or be involved in an accident, but some times are worse than others. An example is when you’re on vacation and far from a military treatment facility. What do you do?

There is no substitute for knowledge and the best place to get it is from a health benefits advisor before you start the trip. There is an HBA at each military medical facility. Determine the MTFs in your area of travel and find out what you should and should not do.

During travel, obviously if it is a life or death situation, the best thing is to get immediate medical attention.

If it’s not an emergency, contact your PCP (if enrolled in TRICARE Prime) at the toll free number on the back of your card. After emergency treatment, contact your primary care provider within 24 hours if possible. Those who depend on TRICARE Standard have more options but face the standard deductibles.

If you are Medicare eligible, remember that Medicare, in general, will not pay for health care obtained outside the United States or its territories.

There are some very limited exceptions for care obtained in Canada or Mexico. Many Medigap policies cover foreign emergency care. Also, travel agencies often offer short-term emergency care policies for the trips they arrange.

The most important thing to remember: talk to your HBA before you travel.

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