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Health Passport: Adding Health and Health Benefits to Your Travel Checklist

If you're traveling this winter season, you know it's not all about sun, sand and umbrella drinks. The crowded airports and terminals can take a toll on your sanity - and your immune system. Because winter travel takes place at the height of cold and flu season, to help reduce your chances of catching a bug on your commute, stay well-hydrated, rested and stock up on vitamins.

And to cover all your health bases, make sure you know the fine print on your health benefits. Before zipping up your suitcase, ensure you and your family have access to routine medical treatment, emergency care and prescription drugs no matter your holiday destination.

Hopefully the only ailment you'll suffer will be from eating too much, but it's wise to be sure you're covered if you need medical attention. Begin by reviewing your current health benefits plan to determine your coverage for medical care when traveling outside your current network of doctors and hospitals. Travel destination (domestic or international) and length of stay may impact your current coverage.

Contact your current provider to discuss alternatives. Below is a list of questions from PlanforYourHealth.com that will help you determine the best option for your travel needs.

1. Questions about routine medical care when traveling

* Are there in-network doctors at my travel location?

* Does my plan cover doctor's visits out of state?

* Do I need a referral to get regularly scheduled medical care (such as receiving allergy shots or having blood drawn) when I'm out of town?

2. Questions about emergency services when traveling

* Will my health benefits cover emergency services from an out-of-network doctor or hospital?

* What health benefits information do I need to provide when receiving emergency care out of state?

3. Questions about prescription drugs when traveling

* If I forget to pack a prescription drug, how can I get the medicine I need when I'm out of town?

* Can I get a prescription refill from a pharmacy away from home?

If your health benefits do not cover out-of-network services or if you take a prescription drug, you may want to consider purchasing a short-term supplemental plan to cover these essentials at your holiday destination.

Traveling with Children

If you're traveling with children, take a close look at their health benefits coverage. Since kids have developing immune systems and may be more likely to get sick, ensure they are covered for medical care and prescription drugs under your current health benefits. Below is a travel checklist to review before packing your child's bags.

Tips for Traveling with Children

* Make sure vaccinations are up-to-date.

* Ask your pediatrician to make a referral for a pediatrician at your travel destination.

* Find the name and location of a children's hospital at your destination, print directions and carry them with you.

* Bring a list of your child's health history including any allergies and current medications.

In addition to information about health benefits while traveling, PlanforYourHealth.com provides easy-to-understand information to help you evaluate your health benefits in relation to - career, marriage, family, living single, and retirement - in order to make well-informed decisions. Plan for Your Health is a public education
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