This article is intended for members enrolled in an individual health insurance plan.
Most of the time when you travel, you know it’s coming up. Whether that advance notice is a few weeks or a few months, don’t forget to consider your health needs. A little research can help you travel more comfortably and safely and be prepared for the unexpected.
Travel Tips While In Transit
First things first. What should you plan for when you’re en route? Both you and any medications you take may need special attention. Think about:
- Leg circulation: Will you be sitting for long periods in flight or on the road? Consider compression socks.
- Back and neck: Do you tend to get stiff or have back or neck problems? Think about bringing travel-sized back or neck supports.
- Medication access: Will you need to take a dose while in flight or on the road? Be sure to carry medications you’ll need on you or within reach. Remember liquid medications count as liquids at airport security. So be sure to have less than 3 ounces in your carry-on bags. And if you carry an emergency inhaler or injection, be sure you can reach it when seated.
- Medication safety: Are you bringing any medications that need to be kept within a certain temperature range? Ask your pharmacist how to keep your medication safe. For short trips you may be able to get a special travel case designed for medicines that need to be kept chilled.
- Anxiety: Anxiety may become a physical as well as a mental problem if travel causes you stress. Bring any tools you use to calm yourself. You may not be able to access your apps if traveling by air, so download something to read or listen to that you can access in airplane mode.
At Your Destination: Is the Doctor In?
Once you know where you are going on your trip, you can use Provider Finder® to find doctors and hospitals that are in your network at your destination. To use Provider Finder, log into Blue Access for MembersSM (BAMSM), then go to the Doctors and Hospitals tab.
Most plans cover emergency care while traveling. Some plans may also cover doctor visits. Log in to BAM to see your Benefit Book or call the customer service number on your member ID card to check.
You can locate the nearest in-network pharmacy by searching for your destination on MyPrime.com* before you go. If you need emergency care or a new prescription on the road, you won’t have to scramble to find a network pharmacy.
How are costs handled when you are traveling?
- If you need emergency care when traveling, a Blue Cross and Blue Shield participating doctor or hospital will collect any copay or coinsurance your plan requires. You will also pay an additional amount if you have not yet met your deductible. Any amount still due should be billed directly to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL), just like when you are home.
- If your plan requires prior or pre-authorization for certain treatments, the doctor who provides your care should be aware of that as long as you use your member ID card.
We can help if you get a notice of any problem with a claim or bill from when you were traveling. Call the customer service number on your member ID card.
If your plan provides virtual visits, you may want to consider this convenient option if you need medical care when traveling. To see if you have virtual visits and look for a doctor, log in to BAM and click the My Coverage tab. If you have virtual visits, you’ll see a Virtual Visits link under My Coverage Benefits on the left. Click the link to get started.
Virtual visits can also be accessed on most mobile devices with an internet connection using the MDLIVE® Mobile App, available for download at the App Store® and Google PlayTM.
Need Refills or Supplies? Pack for Peace of Mind
If you take medications regularly and your supply will run out while you are traveling, your pharmacist may be able to refill your prescription early so you can have it before you leave.
Are you expecting an automatic refill by mail or at your local pharmacy while you are away? When you stop mail or paper deliveries, be sure to also check with your mail order service or your pharmacist or call the customer service number on your member ID card to see if you can hold delivery or get your refills early.
If you take any drugs that are considered controlled substances, such as stimulants or some pain medicines, you may need to refill those medications at a network pharmacy while you’re traveling instead of getting an early refill before you go. You can check MyPrime.com before you leave to find a network pharmacy near where you will be staying.
Do you check your blood pressure or blood sugar regularly? Don’t forget to pack your testing devices and supplies.Do you take a medication that has to be taken with food? Be sure to pack and carry non-perishable snacks with you that work with those medications and your regular diet.
*Prime Therapeutics, LLC, is a separate pharmacy benefit management company contracted by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) to provide pharmacy benefit management and other related services. In addition, contracting pharmacies are contracted through Prime Therapeutics. The relationship between BCBSIL and contracting pharmacies is that of independent contractors. BCBSIL, as well as several independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans, has an ownership interest in Prime Therapeutics. MyPrime.com is an online resource offered by Prime Therapeutics, LLC.
Virtual visits may not be available on all plans. Non-emergency medical service in Montana and New Mexico is limited to interactive online video. Non-emergency medical service in Arkansas and Idaho is limited to interactive online video for initial consultation.
MDLIVE is a separate company that operates and administers virtual visits for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois. MDLIVE is solely responsible for its operations and for those of its contracted providers. MDLIVE® and the MDLIVE logo are registered trademarks of MDLIVE, Inc., and may not be used without permission.