Vacation health care service tips for travelers

Summer is here, and unexpected medical issues can pop up while traveling away from home. To combat the stress and uncertainty of surprise medical issues, ERS provides the following tips:

Tips for everyone

  • Take your medical and prescription ID cards with you. Both cards have important information about your coverage, along with helpful phone numbers. HMOs have one ID card for both medical and prescription coverage.
  • Take your primary care physician’s (PCP’s) phone number.
  • If you’re traveling outside the United States, check out the LifeSuite travel assistance services before you go. These services are available to State of Texas employees who have life insurance (including Basic Term Life) through Securian.

HealthSelectSM of Texas and Consumer Directed HealthSelectSM

If you don’t have your medical ID card, download another one online or through the BCBSTX mobile app. 

  • Online: Access your card online through the Blue Access for Members website. Log in to Blue Access for Members (from the HealthSelect website) and click on the ID card graphic on the left hand side of the main page.
  • Mobile app: Simply click on “ID Card” on the main app page. (Get the Blue Access for Members app by texting BCBSTXAPP to 33633. You will get a link via text. You can also visit Google Play or the Apple App Store and search for BCBSTX. Once you’ve downloaded the app, install it on your phone.)

Virtual visits are a convenient and low-cost option for minor illnesses or injuries. As part of your HealthSelect benefits, you and your covered family members can get care for minor issues from anywhere in the United States. For access, click on the Virtual Visits link on the homepage of the HealthSelect website.

If you feel it’s necessary, you can search for an in-network doctor or other provider while traveling. For travel within the United States, use the Provider Finder tool for your plan. When you enter the zip code at the top of the page, the provider finder will list network providers and specialists in that area. For travel abroad, Blue Cross Blue Shield Global® Core helps you find providers and hospitals.

If it’s an emergency, go to the nearest hospital. For information about coverage, how to locate a doctor or hospital or other questions, call a BCBSTX Personal Health Assistant toll-free at (800) 252-8039, Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. or Saturday from 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. central time.
For more information, visit the Care While You Travel page  of the HealthSelect website.


Scott & White Health Plan: You are covered, worldwide, for any true emergency that occurs. If you suffer a heart attack or lose consciousness, or have breathing difficulties, broken bones or other critical conditions that require immediate treatment, you are covered with your emergency room copay and coinsurance.

If you are taken to an out-of-network emergency room, be sure to provide your member ID card to streamline billing and payment. You may also want to give the treating physician permission to discuss your emergency care with your network physician.

Please have someone call Scott & White Health Plan (SWHP) within 24 to 48 hours after being admitted to the hospital, so the plan can begin coordinating your care as soon as possible. Use the toll-free number on the back of your ID card to report that you are being treated in an out-of-plan facility. If traveling with others, you may want to have someone else in your group know what to do in case you are unable to speak for yourself.

If you have an urgent medical problem that is not an emergency, please contact SWHP’s Nurse Advice Line at (877) 505-7947. You can access this 24-hour line from anywhere in the world for medical advice and assistance in managing your illness.

Community First Health Plans: In most cases, only emergency care services are covered outside Community First’s network or service area. However, the Enhanced Travel Network gives you access to urgent care while traveling outside Community First’s service area. You and covered family members can see a First Health network provider if you are in need of urgent care. Call Community First at (800) 226-5116 to locate a provider.

KelseyCare powered by Community Health Choice: If you are experiencing a medical emergency, seek care from the nearest emergency room or call 9-1-1. Your benefits through ERS and KelseyCare powered by Community Health Choice cover emergency services anywhere in the United States. However, you may be required to pay a copayment at the time of service.

You can call KelseyCare’s 24-hour nurse line at (713) 442-0000. A qualified nurse will be able to help you decide if immediate medical assistance is needed. During normal business hours, call your PCP’s office. After business hours (including weekends and holidays), call (713) 442-0000.

Source: ERS Coordinator’s UPDATE-express (June 2018)

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