Blue Cross Blue Shield hospital/specialty coverage highlights:
- Inpatient hospitalization (medically necessary)
- Mental health visits*
- Obstetrics/gynecology visits
- Outpatient diagnostic/specialty visits*
- Physical/occupational therapy visits*
- Surgery (medically necessary)
- Urgent care*
*Visit limits may apply
NOTE: You may need to pay for services at the time you receive care and file for reimbursement later. International claims form, filing, and payment information are available at Blue Cross Blue Shield Global Core. You should obtain itemized receipts and medical records at the time of your discharge for any care that you receive. You do not need to have the currency or medical records translated.
Make an appointment to see your health care provider before you travel. Many countries recommend or require travel vaccinations that need to be administered up to one month before you depart in order to be effective. Please note that travel immunizations are not covered by HUSHP.
Some countries require that you obtain verification from your health insurance carrier that you are covered while traveling abroad for an extended period of time. To request verification, please contact the HUSHP Member Services at (617) 495-2008 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please allow up to three business days for all requests.
Other Travel Resources
- CDC Traveler's health page
- World Health Organization on international travel
- U.S. Department of State on travel
- Harvard Global Support Services and International SOS
finding a provider or hospital while abroad
Blue Cross Blue Shield Blue (BCBS) Global Core Service Center is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and will help you find a BlueCard Global Core hospital or doctor. Visit Blue Cross Blue Shield Global Core or call 1(800) 810-2583 or 1 (804) 673-1177 (collect from outside the U.S.) for information on hospitals and doctors throughout the world. You will need your BCBS identification card when you contact BCBS.
Harvard Global Support Services While Abroad
The University offers 24/7 medical, mental health, and security support and evacuation services through International SOS. While abroad, you can call +1-617-998-0000 for 24-hour access to physicians who can provide emergency and routine advice and referrals to vetted providers and hospitals. Visit the Harvard Global Support Services website for more information on eligibility and services. Please note that International SOS is not a health insurance policy.
Prescription Drug Coverage
Student Health Insurance Plan members are covered for prescription medications purchased outside of the United States. A prescription drug claim form must be submitted for reimbursement.
Most countries require that the prescribing doctor be licensed in that country before a prescription can be filled. If you take a prescription drug, contact your doctor and have your prescription written for the number of months you need filled while traveling outside of the country. Some common U.S. medications and supplements are illegal in certain countries or require government authorization prior to your arrival. Review Harvard Global Support Services’ tips for traveling abroad with medication and talk with your doctor before your departure.
Complete the prescription Travel Override Worksheet and return it to Member Services with a copy of an official travel itinerary (i.e., e-tickets). This must be done at least three business days before you need to pick up your prescription. If you purchase a prescription while abroad, you can file for reimbursement, and you will be reimbursed at 100% of the cost minus the applicable copayment.
Travel overrides can only be processed for a maximum amount of 6 months. All travel override requests are processed based on your last refill date and your travel dates/documentation provided. Students are only allowed to fill the amount of medication that our office has authorized. You can be held liable for any costs filled beyond the amount we authorize.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is emergency evacuation and repatriation covered?
A: The Student Health Insurance Plan does not cover evacuation or repatriation; however, the University offers evacuation and repatriation services through its International SOS membership. Please note that International SOS is not a health insurance policy. Learn more about International SOS eligibility and services on the Harvard Global Support Services website.
Q: Will I have to pay out of pocket for medical services?
A: Most countries do not bill international health insurance carriers so you may have to pay out of pocket and then file for reimbursement; however, there are some hospitals around the world that will work with BCBS Global Core rather than making the member pay up front. For more information contact BCBS Worldwide at 1 (800) 810-2583 or 1 (804) 673-1177 (collect from outside the U.S.).
If the hospital abroad requires a guarantee of payment before providing services, call International SOS at +1-617-998-0000. For eligible travelers, International SOS will place a guarantee of payment.
Q: What do I need to file for reimbursement?
A: You will need to submit itemized receipts with an international claim form to BCBS Global Core. If you become hospitalized, please obtain a copy of your medical records at the time of your discharge. You do not need to have the currency or medical records translated.
Q: What’s a medical record and how do I get one?
A: The term medical record, health record, and medical chart are used interchangeably to describe the systematic documentation of your medical history and care across time within one particular health care provider’s jurisdiction. The medical record includes a variety of types of “notes” entered over time by health care professionals, recording observations and administration of drugs and therapies, orders for the administration of drugs and therapies, test results, x-rays, reports, etc. You can obtain a copy of your medical records at the time of your discharge by contacting your health care provider’s medical records department. (Taken from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_record)
Q: How long do I have to file for reimbursement for medical claims or prescriptions?
A: You have two years from the date of service to file for reimbursement for medical claims, and one year from the date of purchase to file for prescription claims.
Q: Do I need an insurance ID card when traveling?
A: Your insurance ID card can be downloaded using the MyBlue Member App for instant access to your Insurance ID card and other health care information.
Q: What if I need emergency medical care?
A: If you are injured and need immediate care, first find a way to get help: call your local equivalent of 9-1-1; if you are unsure if it is safe to do so, or if the nearest hospital cannot provide sufficient care, call International SOS at +1-617-998-0000 or connect through the Assistance App. International SOS can direct you to appropriate medical resources, including referrals to vetted providers and hospitals, and provide transportation or evacuation to a facility if needed.
If it is not an emergency and you know the nearest hospital is safe, go there. At your earliest convenience, call International SOS.
Q: What if I am admitted to a hospital or require scheduled surgery?
A: Call the BlueCard Global Core Service Center collect at 1 (804) 673-1177 as most inpatient admissions and some surgeries require prior authorization.
Eligible travelers should contact International SOS at +1-617-998-0000, or connect through the Assistance App, in the case of any admission or scheduled surgery. International SOS can provide evacuation services if the level of medical care necessary is not available in country.
Q: What is the coverage for services incurred in a “disaster” country (e.g., terrorism/war) under the Student Health Insurance Plan?
A: No services that are covered by the Student Health Insurance Plan are actually excluded, but access to those services might be delayed. Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) is not liable if events beyond its control—such as war, riot, public health emergency, or natural disaster—cause delay or failure of BCBS to arrange for or coordinate access to health care services and coverage for members. BCBS will make a good faith effort to arrange for or coordinate health care services to be furnished in these situations.
Q: What is the coverage for services incurred in a country that has sanctions imposed on them by the United States?
A: Although BCBS will not directly send funds to a country sanctioned by the United States, they will reimburse the member for those services as long as the member’s address listed on the reimbursement form is in the U.S.
Q: Does the plan include coverage for medical services received from injuries incurred during participation in extreme sports (e.g., mountain climbing)?
A: Yes, the Student Health Insurance Plan includes coverage for medical services received for the reasons cited above.
Q: What if I am not enrolled in the Student Health Insurance Plan?
A: If you are not enrolled in the Student Health Insurance Plan, you must check with your non-Harvard insurance to determine the extent of your coverage while traveling.
Choice of insurance plan does not affect International SOS services or eligibility.