Health Insurance, Immunizations, & Medications
All participants of USI study abroad programs are required to have adequate health insurance.
- Some programs require that you register for a specific health insurance and include the cost in the program fee.
- Carefully check your current health insurance for information on benefits and coverage while you are abroad to see if you need supplemental coverage.
- There are a variety of travel insurance companies that provide short term policies (including the ISIC card, as mentioned earlier). Make sure to check the detailed information of what is covered before purchasing.
- Before you travel, be sure you know your insurance company’s procedures for securing health care and making a claim.
- The process varies by company, and it is important to know the procedure before you need to use it. Write down the instructions along with your insurance agent’s name and phone number; take them with you and leave a copy at home with someone you can call should you need the information.
Find out about immunization requirements and recommendations for your host country, and investigate any regional health or medical advisories that may have been issued. If you have any special health needs, check on any particular conditions that may apply to your travel overseas.
Passport Health is the largest provider of travel medical services in the United States with convenient locations nationwide. Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, they can prepare you for your trip with destination-specific travel information, immunizations, travel shots, specialty travel products and international travel health insurance in all their travel clinics. There is an Evansville location that will gladly answer any questions you have. Please log on to their website at:
The Vanderburgh County Health Department provides free foreign travel immunization information to help prepare international travelers for health safe experiences. You will have an opportunity to discuss immunizations you might need for the country (or countries) you plan to visit, travel health care issues and recommendations for dealing with common health problems. Before going or calling, they ask that you have available: full name, address, phone number, date of birth, countries by order of visit, date of departure, length and type of trip, medications or health problems, allergies and all past vaccine and tuberculosis testing records. They are located at:
Vanderburgh County Health Department
420 Mulberry St., Evansville, IN 47713
You can also visit the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website for information on required and recommended vaccinations www.cdc.gov. CDC information concerning the country/region you will be visiting is included in your orientation packet. The CDC toll free phone number is:
This website contains a wealth of information including:
- Vaccination requirements
- Food and water precautions
- The Blue Sheet – lists countries infected with cholera, yellow fever, plague, etc.
- Geographic health recommendations
While no required immunizations exist for travel to most of Western Europe, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Mexico, you should still make sure that your tetanus shot is current. IMPORTANT: Some vaccination shot series must be started as much as six months in advance of departure, so plan ahead and research immunizations early. If you are traveling to Mexico or other locations, you should consider a vaccination for Hepatitis A, which can be caused by contamination of food or water. Infected food handlers can also cause the Hepatitis A virus, even in the “best” restaurants. An immunoglobulin shot is usually administered to prevent Hepatitis A. If you are planning travel to South America, Africa, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, Russia, or remote areas of any host country, it is strongly recommended that you consult the CDC website and visit your physician or a travel doctor at the Public Health Department.
See Your Health Practitioners
A visit to your family physician, gynecologist, and dentist will ensure that you are in good health before you leave and could be a good precaution against having to deal with any potentially preventable emergency situations while abroad. Get needed immunizations and hepatitis protection if appropriate. Update your health records, including eyeglass prescriptions and regular medications.
If you currently require regular medication or injections (e.g. insulin, allergy shots, birth control pills), be sure to check with your provider for any advice or recommendations concerning your health while abroad. Take an adequate supply of medications with you and take copies of prescription information. Prescription medicines should be accompanied by a letter from your care provider describing the problem and the dosage of medication. This information will assist medical providers with treatment you may require while abroad and may be necessary for you to pass through foreign customs.
- If you receive allergy injections, you must tell your program sponsor as regulations regarding the vaccine vary by country.
- If you have diabetes, are allergic to penicillin or have any physical condition that may require emergency care, carry some kind of identification (tag, bracelet or card) at all times. In the event of an emergency in which you are not able to communicate, this information must clearly specify the nature of the complication and what must or must not be done.
- Travelers required to take medicine containing habit-forming or narcotic drugs should carry a doctor’s certificate attesting to that fact. Due to differences in laws, it is best to consult the embassies of the countries you will visit prior to departing from the U.S.
- Be sure to take an adequate supply of any over-the-counter medications you use. You may not be able to purchase the same brand abroad. Keep in mind that medications are usually much more expensive overseas. Place over-the-counter medications in your checked in luggage.
- Keep all medications in their original and labeled containers and carry them and any accompanying documentation from your physician in your carry-on luggage. If your checked luggage is misplaced, you will have your medication.
- If you wear glasses or contacts, take along your lens prescription and an extra pair.