You must have health insurance and you should be familiar with what is covered and what is not when traveling abroad. Also, before traveling, you should acquaint yourself with the health care system in your destination country, including the quality of facilities and cost of services.
All registered Harvard students are automatically enrolled in the student Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) plan. All the benefits are based on the academic year, August 1 through July 31, and cover you while traveling abroad.
Important Travel Abroad Information from Harvard University Health Services
- General information is available on the Harvard University Student Health Program website. If you have questions about your Harvard health insurance coverage while traveling contact HUSHP Member Services at +1 617-495-2008.
- The 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. Information on hospitals and doctors throughout the world is available on the Blue Cross Blue Shield Global Core website (member registration required), by downloading its app, or by calling 800-810-BLUE (2583) or +1 804-673-1177 (collect from outside the U.S.)
- Be advised that 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 request itemized receipts and medical records (when applicable) for any care that you receive.
Important Health Insurance Contact Information
International SOS provides 24-hour worldwide emergency medical and security assistance and evacuation services to Harvard travelers abroad. To ensure access to these services, it is crucial that all international travel be registered in the International SOS MyTrips platform.
Harvard Law School students traveling abroad for academic or professional reasons are covered by the University’s International SOS membership. Personal or leisure travel is not covered. Harvard employees and fellows, while traveling on University business, are also eligible for coverage.
Please review the International SOS information on the Global Support Services website for complete information on services, eligibility, and exclusions to coverage.
Medical Assistance Services
- Emergency evacuation
- Medically-supervised repatriation
- Companion ticket
- Repatriation of mortal remains
- Return home of minor children
- Medical monitoring
- Inpatient admission and identification of receiving physician
- Emergency and routine medical advice
- Pre-trip information on travel health issues
- Post-sexual assault support and counseling
- Emotional support and mental health program
- Outpatient case management
- Claims assistance
The traveler or their insurance company may incur a charge if a third party (e.g., health care providers, transportation companies, hotels, etc.) is engaged to deliver services:
- Additional travel and accommodation arrangements after medical evacuation
- Medical, dental, and counseling referrals
- Outpatient referrals
- Outpatient medical expense guarantee and payment
- Inpatient medical expense guarantee, cost review, and payment
- Dispatch of medication and medical supplies
Please note: International SOS is not health insurance. When necessary, The Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, via International SOS (and the associated service providers), will pay a clinic or health care provider on the traveler’s behalf. However, these expenses will typically be billed to the traveler’s health insurance plan later; if uninsured, expenses may be billed to the traveler. Therefore, travelers should familiarize themselves with their insurance providers’ policies on overseas coverage.
The International SOS Assistance App
The International SOS Assistance App (available for iPhone, Android, and Windows smartphones) provides Harvard travelers with access to the benefits of the University’s International SOS membership, in an emergency or for advice or information while abroad on a Harvard-related trip.
- The nearest U.S. embassy or consulate can provide a list of local physicians and medical facilities.
- The Centers for Disease Control provides information relating to health issues for traveling abroad.
- Harvard’s Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response provides resources and support for victims of interpersonal violence including sexual assault, rape, harassment, relationship violence, or stalking.
Many countries will require visitors to have immunizations prior to granting a visa or entry into the country, and you will also want the immunizations for your own health. You may contact Harvard University Health Services at the Law School Health Clinic in Pound Hall for a travel consult, in order to determine the inoculations or other medical services you may need prior to departure, and to learn about relevant health conditions. During your pre-trip planning you should consider that some vaccinations must be administered up to 4 to 6 weeks before travel. Remember to photocopy your immunization record and bring a copy with you when you travel.
If malaria is endemic in the country to which you will be traveling, start and follow your prophylactic malaria treatment conscientiously.