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How travel health insurance makes for stress-free trips

Tips to consider

This article was last updated Oct. 8, 2020.

According to a recent survey by Glassdoor External SiteTM, the average U.S. employee has only taken about half of his or her eligible vacation time/paid time off in the past 12 months. This trend isn’t new, even amid other reports that say time away from work leads to benefits like higher productivity, lower stress, improved mental and heart health, and better relationships (Ferguson, Jill. “Health Benefits of Taking a Vacation,” Huffington Post External Site, 3 Mar 2016).

If you’re planning to take advantage of your PTO, good for you! As you get ready, know that your Wellmark health insurance travels with you. But, keep a few things in mind.

Before you leave

  1. Check your benefits

    Be familiar with your coverage — understanding your plan means less stress if you need medical care. What’s the name of your health plan network? How much does it cost to go to a doctor’s office? What about a walk-in clinic?

    Log in or register for myWellmark Opens New Window® to get the details about your plan.

  2. Pack your ID card

    Keep your most up-to-date ID card with you at all times. This little card has all the information you need to receive services or get a prescription filled. You can also download the Wellmark app to see your ID card on your phone and check for in-network health care providers wherever you’re traveling.

  3. Find the right travel health insurance

    As a Wellmark member, you're already covered when you travel locally and abroad

    You have access to 96 percent of hospitals and 95 percent of physicians across the U.S. through the BlueCard® Program.* This program links providers to all Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans across the country, which means your health coverage travels with you.

    Depending on the type of plan you have, you may only be covered in emergency situations, so visit External Site or call BlueCard Access® at 800-210-2583 before your trip.

    Wellmark members traveling abroad have built-in coverage through the Blue Cross Blue Shield GlobalTM Core. Blue Cross Blue Shield Global Core is automatically included with your plan and provides coverage when traveling outside the United States. Like BlueCard, though, you may only be covered if you have any emergency. Go to External Site for the details.

    Get peace of mind with additional travel health insurance

    If you’re traveling abroad for a short-term trip, an extended period of time, or living or working overseas, GeoBlue® External Site is the best option for you. With GeoBlue, you’ll have an international network of doctors and hospitals available to you, with zero need to file for reimbursement.**

    Depending on the plan you choose, you could even be covered for medical evacuation, which means you can be transported to other parts of a country or outside the country if you are seriously ill or injured.

    You don’t need health coverage with Wellmark to purchase a GeoBlue plan. You can get a quote and purchase a plan online External Site or call 800-336-0505.

While you're on vacation

  1. Be familiar with the area

    Where’s the closest walk-in clinic or in-network doctor’s office? Knowing this information right off the bat will ease the stress if you have to use services while on vacation.

  2. Know the tools available to you

    myWellmark® is your go-to resource Opens New Window while you’re traveling in the U.S. With myWellmark, you can search for in-network health care providers, facilities or pharmacies in your area. Plus, you can compare costs and know how much you’ll have to pay up-front, so you won't be surprised later. To get the most accurate information, based on your coverage and network, log in first.

    If you’re traveling outside the country, call BlueCard Access at 800-810-2583 to find a doctor or hospital in the area where you need care.

    If you don’t want to leave the comfort of your hotel room, whether locally or abroad, you can get an expert opinion from a board-certified physician — virtually — through Doctor On Demand® External Site. Your virtual doctor can treat most common medical conditions and even prescribe medication, if needed.

    A virtual visit is a benefit covered by some Wellmark plans, but anyone can purchase a visit without using your insurance information.

    If you have questions, call Customer Service at the phone number on your Wellmark ID card or download the Doctor On Demand mobile app.

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When you're back home

  1. Look for your Explanation of Benefits (EOB)

    If you had to use services while on vacation, you will receive an EOB with a simple recap of how your insurance paid for care you received. At Wellmark, all claims must be filed within six months. But, this policy may not apply to all providers — especially if you're getting care outside of Iowa and South Dakota. So, if your claim hasn’t been settled within a few months of receiving services, call Customer Service or your provider.

    Get your EOBs electronically to easily track and manage your health care claims and spending. Simply log in to myWellmark Opens New Window and select Profile from the menu at the top. You'll then be able to edit your preferences under Notifications.

  2. File a member-submitted claim, if needed

    If you had to get care or prescription drugs from an out-of-network provider, you will need to submit a claim form yourself Opens New Window to be considered for reimbursement of covered services.

Traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic

Taking a trip away from home may look a little different during the COVID-19 pandemic. That's why it's important to plan ahead and review these questions before heading out.

* Consortium Network Compare Findings as of September 2019.

** Long-term GeoBlue plans are not available in South Dakota.

GeoBlueSM is a trade name of Worldwide Insurance Services, LLC, an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

Blue Cross Blue Shield Global is a brand owned by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Blue Cross Blue Shield is an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Companies.