Summer vacation healthy travel checklist
While June 20 signals the official start of summer, vacation season already is in full swing. With this in mind, Health Net, Inc. is sharing a healthy travel checklist that’s worth reviewing before heading off on those summer trips.
"When people go on vacation, they tend to focus on things like reserving hotels and packing clothes," says Jonathan Scheff, M.D., chief medical officer for Health Net, Inc. "Most of us don’t give much thought to health-related questions like ‘Does my insurance plan provide coverage if I become ill or injured anywhere in the United Sates as well as anywhere in the world?’" Adding, "That’s why Health Net is encouraging people – before they zip up their suitcases – to take a health care inventory of sorts."
Healthy travel checklist
While travelers are likely to remember swimsuits and sunscreen, they may well forget to make sure that their health care needs are vacation ready. To help ensure the latter, Health Net suggests reviewing this healthy travel checklist:
- Before you go
- Medications – At least three weeks priors to leaving, determine if any prescriptions need to be refilled. Be sure to bring enough prescription medications, as well as any over-the-counter products used, to last your entire trip. When traveling by plane, prescription medications should be packed in carry-on versus checked luggage.
- Proactive Prescription – If visiting an area where diarrheal illnesses are common – Mexico, for example – ask your health care provider if it’s advisable to get a prescription (which you would fill prior to leaving) for antibiotics.
- Immunizations – If traveling abroad, particularly to an underdeveloped country, be sure that you’re adequately immunized against any infectious diseases you might encounter. Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/vaccinations.htm – and then check with your health care provider.
- Benefit Coverage – Before traveling, review your Certificate of Insurance to become familiar with your benefit coverage.
- Scout Providers – It’s wise to determine, in advance of leaving, if there’s an urgent care center, emergency room and pharmacy near your vacation destination that will be covered by your insurance. Health Net members, for example, can go to www.healthnet.com and search by zip code for in-network providers. When traveling, Health Net members have access to more than 490,000 providers and 4,700 hospitals nationwide through the First Health network. Before traveling, ask your insurer if you have access to a similar network in the United States and find out if you’re covered when traveling internationally.
- Download App – Many health plans offer apps that can be download for free on smart phones and other web-enabled devices. Health Net, for example, offers members Health Net Mobile. Through this app, members can look up health plan details, access their ID cards and locate providers – all of which can come in handy when traveling within the United States.
- As you’re packing
- ID Card – Don’t forget to bring your health coverage/membership ID card.
- First-Aid Kit – It’s always wise to pack a first-aid kit containing sterile bandages, antibiotic ointment and an elastic bandage in case of sprains.
- Health Profile – In the event that medical care is needed while vacationing, it’s smart to take a personal health record summary with you that lists: name; age; birthday; allergies; last tetanus shot; primary doctor/phone number and medical group name/phone number. Health Net members can print out this information at www.healthnet.com > Wellsite > Health Record.
- Emergency Contacts – Along with a health profile, it’s also advised that you bring the names and phone numbers of at least two emergency contacts.
- Claim Forms – Just in case medical care is received, it’s a good idea to tuck a few insurance claim forms in your suitcase. Health Net members can request a complete "travel kit" that includes claim forms; contact your insurer to see if a similar kit is available.
- Consent-to-Treat Form – If you have children who are staying home, leave a signed consent-to-treat form with their caretaker.
- While you're there
- Local Emergency Number – Upon arriving at your destination, whether it’s in America or abroad, find out what number to call in case of emergency; even in the United States, not all communities use 911.
Medical Advice Disclaimer
The information provided is not intended as medical advice or as a substitute for professional medical care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other health provider for any questions you may have regarding your medical condition and follow your health care provider’s instructions.