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Common questions about our travel service

The Kaiser Permanente Travel Advisory Service offers recommendations tailored to your travel outside the United States. Advice is based on your destination, activities, and medical history. The consultation is done in a scheduled phone visit.

Travel Advisory Service

Here are answers to commonly asked questions.

What is discussed in a virtual international travel visit?

A travel nurse will conduct a risk assessment by reviewing your travel plans, health status, and immunization history. During the phone visit, the nurse will make recommendations, and together you will decide what vaccines and prescriptions you need.

Your discussion will include information about preventing illness and injury during your trip. Particular risks will be addressed as needed, including how to prevent malaria and other mosquito-transmitted diseases, manage traveler’s diarrhea, avoid and treat altitude illness, and manage safety issues associated with certain types of adventure travel.

The travel nurse will contact your primary care physician to authorize travel immunizations and medicines, and your consultation becomes part of your medical record. You will receive a copy of your travel advice in your Kaiser Permanente member site online records, or by postal mail.

How do I make an appointment?

Contact us as soon as you can. Ideally, your phone consultation should be done at least 6 to 8 weeks before departure. However, even if you are leaving soon, the nurse can help you get needed travel vaccinations and medications.

To call for an appointment:

  • Seattle area: 206-326-3488
  • Toll-free: 1-800-562-6300; ask the operator to transfer you to ext. 3488

To schedule online, you must be registered on the Kaiser Permanente member website. Sign in , go to Appointments, and choose "All Specialties."

When you make your appointment, have this information ready:

  • Your Kaiser Permanente member ID, and member IDs of family members traveling with you
  • Your departure date and time, length of stay, and the countries you will visit
  • Any vaccines you or your family members have received outside of Kaiser Permanente medical offices.

What do travel immunizations cost?

Travel advisory consultation is not a covered benefit. Prices for travel vaccines and medicines may vary depending on your Kaiser Permanente plan.

What travel vaccines are available through Kaiser Permanente medical offices?

The following vaccines are available at Kaiser Permanente medical offices. Yellow fever vaccine is available at Kaiser Permanente medical offices that have obtained federal and state certification to administer that vaccine. Travel vaccines are extra and are not covered benefits.

  • Hepatitis A and B
  • Japanese Encephalitis
  • Meningococcal
  • Adult Polio
  • Rabies (pre-exposure series)
  • Typhoid Fever
  • Tick-borne Encephalitis (Ticovac)
  • Yellow Fever available at Kaiser Permanente’s MAIN clinics: Capitol Hill, Silverdale, Olympia, Tacoma, Everett, Bellevue and Riverfront)

What should I do if I get sick or am injured while traveling?

If you have a medical emergency while traveling, please seek medical attention immediately.

Before you leave, Member Services may assist you in figuring out what services may or may not be covered under your plan. They can also help you find the closest in-network care option, whether you’re traveling within the United States or internationally. To reach Member Services by phone, you may call 1-888-901-4636. If you’re a Kaiser Permanente Medical Advantage member, call Medicare Member Services at 1-888-901-4600.

If you do seek care while traveling, remember to keep all of your itemized receipts and submit them to Kaiser Permanente Washington’s claims department (see below regarding how to submit a claim). Many countries will ask for payment before service is given.

We also recommend you obtain extra medical insurance that includes emergency medical evacuation insurance.

How do I submit a claim?

How to submit claims for reimbursement lists the kind of information you would need for a claim submittal.

Can I email my doctor while I'm on my trip?

If you receive your primary care at a Kaiser Permanente medical office AND have registered on the Kaiser Permanente member website for access to secure online services, you can exchange secure messages with your doctor and with the Consulting Nurse Service during your trip. (This service is NOT for travel emergencies; responses usually are made by the end of the next business day.) Please note: There will be limitations to the advice provided, since our Kaiser Permanente Medical Providers and Consulting nurses do not hold licenses outside of WA and ID.

You may also call the Consulting Nurse Service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Remember to include the international code for the United States: 01-206-630-2244. There isn't a toll-free international number.

The Travel Advisory Service focuses on pre-travel advice. If you need medical attention after you get home for a non-urgent illness or injury that occurred during your trip, contact your personal physician or the Consulting Nurse. They may consult with our Infectious Disease physicians.

How should I prepare for my trip?

  • Make sure recommended routine vaccines are up to date including your flu shot.
  • Please schedule a visit with your physician to discuss any medical issues you are concerned about before travel or if you need to manage a current condition during your trip.
  • Make sure your current daily and as-needed medicine prescriptions are up to date, and you have enough medication while you travel. Requests should be made 1-2 weeks before you travel. You may speak to your primary care provider if you have any questions.
  • If you are age 18 and older: Register on kp.org/wa so you may have access to your medical record when traveling and can contact your provider with non-urgent questions when traveling.
  • Pack your Kaiser Permanente ID card, as there are important numbers on the back including our Consulting Nurse Service line.
  • Take some time to understand what services are covered and available while you travel through Member Services . 1-888-901-4636. They can help you find the closest in-network care option, whether you're traveling within the United States or internationally. If you're a Kaiser Permanente Medicare Advantage member, call Medicare Member Services at 1-888-901-4600.
  • We recommend you register your trip with the U.S. State Department Smart Traveler Program (STEP) so you may receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, help the U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency and help family and friends get in touch with you in an emergency.
  • Car crashes are a leading cause of injury among travelers. Protect yourself from these injuries by: not drinking and driving, wearing your seat belt, using car seats or booster seats in the backseat for children, following local traffic laws, hiring a local driver when possible, avoiding night driving, and wearing a helmet when you ride bikes, motorcycles, and motor bikes.
  • Protect yourself and others against respiratory infections by avoiding sick people, washing your hands frequently, covering your cough and encouraging others to cover their coughs. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (60% or more alcohol) whenever soap and running water are not available for hand washing.
  • Keep your medications in their original containers and carry them on the plane. If smaller medication quantity and containers are needed, you may request this from your clinic pharmacy before purchasing medications.
  • Carry a good first aid kit with you. For ideas on what to include in your kit: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/pack-smart.htm

For further questions about travel or more information please contact the Kaiser Permanente Travel Advisory Department at: 206-326-3838, option #3. We look forward to speaking with you!

More resources

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Before You Go

Planning a trip outside the United States? Our Travel Advisory Service offers health advice tailored to your destinations, activities, and medical history. The appointments are phone consultations with our travel nurses, who are certified by the International Society of Travel Medicine and work under the direction of Kaiser Permanente's Infectious Disease physicians. We recommend your consultation be scheduled at least 4 to 6 weeks before departure to plan for recommended vaccinations and medications. However, even if you are leaving soon, the nurse can help you get needed travel vaccinations and medications.

While You're Traveling

Need care while traveling? Call Member Services at 1-866-648-1928 (TTY 711 ). They can help you find the closest in-network care option, whether you're traveling within the United States or internationally.

If you're a Kaiser Permanente Medicare Advantage member, call Medicare Member Services at 1-888-901-4600 (TTY 711 ), 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., 7 days per week.

Emergency and urgent care

No matter what health plan you have, you're covered for emergency and urgent care when you're away from the Kaiser Permanente Washington region.

If you have a medical emergency while traveling within the U.S., call 911 or the local emergency assistance number immediately. Then within 24 hours or as soon as reasonably possible, call our Hospital Notification Line for the United States at 1-888-457-9516 ( 206-901-4609 ), option 3 and option 4, so we can follow up on your care.

If you have been hospitalized outside the United States and need assistance, call our international Hospital Notification Line at 1-888-457-9516 ( 206-901-4609 ), option 2.

Dedicated Member Services for PEBB Members

1-866-648-1928 (TTY 711 )

Speak with a representative Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For Medicare Questions

If you are interested in a Medicare health plan and want to speak with a Kaiser Permanente Medicare specialist.

1-888-901-4600 (TTY 711 )

For Eligibility and Enrollment Questions

Visit the PEBB website

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The fastest path to care

Available 24/7 with no appointment, e-visits offer Kaiser Permanente members quick, convenient online care for many health concerns such as flu or COVID-19 symptoms.

Members can complete an online e-visit at kp.org/getcare to get screened for COVID-19, treated for symptoms, and scheduled for a diagnostic test in many areas.

“First choice for care.” “Reassuring.” “Simple to use.”

These words are how Kaiser Permanente members have described their experiences throughout the COVID-19 pandemic when they’ve turned to e-visits to receive care and advice for common conditions from the safety of their homes.

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise and we are being asked to stay safe and stay home as much as possible, e-visits stand out as a convenient, easy, and fast path to care and advice for people experiencing flu and COVID-19 symptoms .

How e-visits work

Members can complete an e-visit in minutes — online, with no appointment required — to be screened for COVID-19 and treated for symptoms, if necessary. Members can also complete an e-visit to request or schedule a COVID-19 diagnostic test in many areas. E-visits can also be used to receive treatment, advice, and prescriptions for many common conditions such as cold and flu symptoms, rashes, urinary tract infections, pink eye, and more depending on the member’s age, location, and medical history.

“It is important to get the care you need if you don’t feel well this winter or are concerned you might have the flu or COVID-19,” said Brad Schwartz, MD, an emergency room physician who helped develop the e-visit protocols. “For Kaiser Permanente members, e-visits can provide the shortest route to quality care.”

To start an e-visit, our members can sign in to kp.org or the Kaiser Permanente app at any time during the day or night. After selecting the e-visit option, members are guided through a short series of questions about their symptoms and concerns.

Based on the answers, the member will immediately receive personalized self-care advice, which may include educational materials and videos or a recommendation for over-the-counter medications. If a prescribed medication is recommended, the member will receive a prescription from a clinician during regular business hours via email, usually within 2 to 4 hours of the e-visit.

In some cases, the member will be instructed to schedule an in-person, video, or telephone appointment. E-visit responses become part of a member’s secure electronic health record, helping to ensure better, easier, and safer follow-up care.

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It is important to get the care you need if you don’t feel well this winter or are concerned you might have the flu or COVID-19. — Brad Schwartz, MD

Other care options

If an e-visit isn’t available for a health concern, or for people who prefer a different option, video and phone appointments are a safe, easy, and convenient way to get the same high-quality care as you would during an in-person visit. During a virtual appointment, clinicians can securely access a member’s medical history, prescribe medications, order lab tests and imaging, and refer members for additional care as needed.

Kaiser Permanente members can also email their doctor’s office with nonurgent questions or call our appointment and advice line to speak with a licensed care provider day or night. In some areas, members can chat online with a clinician about symptoms and concerns. For members who need to be seen in person, our facilities have implemented many safety precautions, such as requiring masks and physical distancing, following enhanced cleaning protocols, and more.

For more information on e-visits and other care options, visit  kp.org/getcare .

  • Diane Comer
  • Telemedicine
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  • Novel coronavirus and COVID-19

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Citizen of Travel

Kaiser Permanente International Travel Coverage: Understanding Your Health Benefits Abroad

Traveling internationally can be an incredibly enriching experience, broadening horizons and exposing travelers to new cultures and environments. However, it comes with its own set of challenges, particularly regarding healthcare. Kaiser Permanente offers international travel coverage, providing peace of mind to members who might need to access medical services abroad. Understanding the intricacies of this coverage is vital to ensure that you are well-prepared for any health-related eventuality while outside your home country.

A passport, airplane ticket, and travel insurance brochure lay on a table. The Kaiser Permanente logo is prominently displayed on the brochure cover

Members of Kaiser Permanente benefit from comprehensive services designed to protect their health during international travel. This includes access to a range of medical services, from the necessary vaccines and medications before departure to urgent and emergency care if the need arises while abroad. The organization provides guidance and supports through resources that are essential for trip planning and during emergencies. They also offer a streamlined process for seeking reimbursement for medical expenses incurred overseas, ensuring their members are not left financially strapped due to unanticipated health issues.

Key Takeaways

  • Kaiser Permanente’s international coverage is comprehensive for members abroad.
  • Urgent and emergency care, as well as pre-trip resources, are available.
  • Members can access clear guidelines for service reimbursement during travel.

Eligibility and Enrollment

A traveler holding a Kaiser Permanente international travel coverage card, surrounded by a globe, passport, and luggage

Kaiser Permanente provides international travel coverage for its members, but understanding specifics about eligibility and the enrollment process is crucial before planning a trip.

Understanding Your Coverage

Kaiser Permanente members can access emergency and urgent care services worldwide. However, the scope of coverage and the way members receive care may vary by location . Before traveling, members should review their benefits to understand what services are covered abroad.

Kaiser Permanente Membership

Membership is required to access Kaiser Permanente travel coverage. This means that individuals must be enrolled with the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan or one of its subsidiaries. Eligibility for membership typically depends on several factors, including residence in a service area and, in some cases, employment with a Kaiser-affiliated organization.

Enrollment Period

There are designated enrollment periods during which individuals can sign up for a health plan. For most, this occurs during an annual open enrollment window or following a qualifying life event. It’s important for travelers to ensure their membership status is active and to address any concerns about their eligibility before embarking on international travel.

Coverage Details

A traveler holding a Kaiser Permanente international travel coverage card while standing in front of a world map, with various destinations highlighted

Kaiser Permanente provides comprehensive coverage for members who are traveling, ensuring access to necessary healthcare services while away from home. Below are the specifics of what this travel coverage includes.

Benefits While Traveling

When Kaiser Permanente members travel, they can have peace of mind knowing their plan includes benefits for urgent and emergency care worldwide. This coverage ensures that during a trip, whether within the United States or internationally, members can receive the necessary medical attention they require.

Emergency Care

For emergency care needs, members are covered globally. In case of an emergency, individuals should proceed to the nearest hospital. If members visit an emergency room while away, they can receive care with the assurance that their plan provides coverage for such unexpected incidents.

Preventive Services

Preventive services are essential, especially when traveling. Members have access to pre-scheduled immunizations and vaccines , including the Covid-19 vaccine , before departure. For those who require prescriptions during travel, it’s advised to consult with a Kaiser Permanente clinician to ensure continuity of care while abroad.

Using Your Coverage Abroad

A traveler holding a Kaiser Permanente international travel coverage card while standing in front of a world map with various destinations marked

When traveling internationally, Kaiser Permanente members can access healthcare services and understand claims and reimbursement processes through the insurer’s partnership with Cigna and affiliate networks.

Access to Healthcare Providers

Members traveling abroad may seek care from Cigna’s global network of healthcare providers. For more immediate needs such as minor illnesses or injuries, one can visit MinuteClinics without prior authorization. Kaiser Permanente’s coverage includes access to a wide array of healthcare providers outside the United States, ensuring that members receive care when and where they need it.

Claims and Reimbursement

Filing a claim for covered services overseas typically involves submitting documentation of the care received and expenses incurred. Kaiser Permanente members should save all receipts and detailed bills from their visit to a healthcare provider for reimbursement purposes. In the event that members pay out-of-pocket for services, they may submit a claim to Kaiser Permanente for potential reimbursement according to the terms of their plan. If treated within the PPO Network , billing is usually directly settled between the provider and the insurer, easing the process for members.

Financial Aspects

A globe surrounded by travel documents, passports, and a Kaiser Permanente insurance card

When considering Kaiser Permanente’s international travel coverage, it’s vital to understand the specific costs and how payments are handled. The financial responsibilities of the traveler, such as copays and coinsurance, depend on the particulars of their plan.

Understanding Costs and Payments

The costs associated with international travel coverage can vary. Members should be aware of their deductible —the amount paid out-of-pocket before the plan starts to cover expenses. After meeting the deductible, members typically share the cost of covered healthcare services with Kaiser Permanente; this is where coinsurance applies. It’s crucial to know your plan’s limitations, as some services may not be covered abroad, or they might be subject to higher out-of-pocket expenses.

Copays and Coinsurance

Copays are fixed amounts paid each time a member receives a service, like an urgent care visit or prescription, and do not count toward the deductible. On the other hand, coinsurance may kick in after you’ve paid your deductible. For example, if your plan has a 20% coinsurance, you would pay 20% of the cost for a medical service, while Kaiser Permanente covers the remainder. Be sure to check whether these costs differ when traveling internationally, as they can significantly affect the overall financial burden of medical care outside the U.S.

Remember, while managing health-related expenses during travel, consider how to best utilize international travel credit cards for payments or emergencies, which may provide additional support and benefits.

Travel Resources and Support

Kaiser Permanente offers comprehensive support to members traveling internationally, including advisory services, convenient digital tools, and accessible assistance by phone.

Travel Advisory Services

Members heading abroad can benefit from tailored recommendations through the Kaiser Permanente Travel Advisory Service . It considers the destination, activities, and one’s medical history to provide detailed health advice. This service ensures peace of mind for travelers concerning their health care needs.

KP.Org and Kaiser Permanente App

For immediate access to health records and care services while traveling, members can utilize the KP.Org website and the Kaiser Permanente app . Both platforms offer 24/7 care options and support, which is essential in managing health effectively from anywhere around the globe.

Phone and Online Assistance

For times when in-depth support is needed, the Away from Home Travel Line offers telephone assistance, making it possible to reach a dedicated support center. Members can even place collect calls when outside the U.S., ensuring they have a way to get help whenever necessary.

Preparing for International Travel

When planning to travel abroad, it’s important for one to consult with a healthcare provider to ensure they have the necessary vaccinations and medications. Being prepared minimizes health risks while away from home.

Vaccinations and Medications

One should schedule a visit with their doctor approximately 4 to 6 weeks before departure. Vaccines are crucial as they protect against diseases that are more common in other parts of the world or that are rarely found in the United States. Some destinations may require proof of vaccination for entry. For example, many countries require the COVID-19 vaccine for entry. Additionally, one may need medications for travel-related conditions such as malaria or traveler’s diarrhea, especially if they’re traveling to areas where these conditions are prevalent.

Travelers should carry a list of their current medications and a copy of their prescriptions. It’s also wise to carry a self-test kit for prompt illness assessment during travel.

Travel Health Tips and Self-Care

Staying healthy while traveling is paramount. Individuals should seek guidance from travel clinics about potential health risks at their destinations. Wellness apps can offer handy health tips and keep one connected to their healthcare provider. Here are some self-care tips to consider:

  • Hydration : Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • Healthy Eating : Choose safe foods and avoid street vendors.
  • Sun Protection : Use sunscreen and protective clothing in sunny climates.
  • Regular hand-washing with soap and water or hand sanitizer.
  • Have a medication plan in place, including adjustment for time zones.

By following these guidelines and staying informed about the health risks of their destination , travelers can enjoy their international experiences while minimizing health risks.

Frequently Asked Questions

A traveler holding a Kaiser Permanente international travel coverage brochure, with a world map and passport in the background

When traveling abroad, Kaiser Permanente members have access to medical care and travel coverage options that help ensure health and peace of mind during their journeys.

Can Kaiser Permanente members receive health care services while traveling abroad?

Yes, Kaiser Permanente provides its members with urgent and emergency care services while they are abroad, ensuring they can get medical assistance wherever they travel worldwide.

Does Kaiser Permanente offer travel insurance for international trips?

While Kaiser Permanente covers emergency and urgent care during travel, it does not provide a separate travel insurance. Members should review their plan for specific coverage details and consider additional travel insurance if needed.

What are the costs associated with international travel coverage through Kaiser Permanente?

Costs for international travel coverage vary depending on a member’s specific health plan. Some services may be reimbursed by Kaiser Permanente, such as travel and lodging expenses for covered treatments.

Are there dedicated phone support lines for Kaiser Permanente members traveling internationally?

Kaiser Permanente members can access assistance through international phone support, providing guidance and directions for receiving necessary medical services while overseas.

How does Kaiser Permanente’s coverage work in the event of hospitalization in a foreign country?

When hospitalized internationally, Kaiser Permanente members are covered for emergencies. However, they must contact Kaiser Permanente as soon as possible to ensure that the care and associated costs align with their benefits.

What is the protocol for Kaiser Permanente members if they contract COVID-19 while traveling overseas?

If a member contracts COVID-19 while abroad, they should follow local health protocols and contact Kaiser Permanente for assistance on coverage for COVID-19 related care and guidance on necessary steps to take while away from home.

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