You never know when you might need emergency medical care. You may need it when you're on vacation or on a business trip away from home. Emergency care inside the United States is not usually a big problem. In other countries, it could be. The best protection is to prepare for an emergency before you leave. Emergency Care in the United States Most private insurance plans will cover out-of-state emergency medical care. Medicare covers emergency medical services anywhere in the country. Medicaid also covers out-of-state emergency care. You can usually call your doctor for an emergency consult or for a prescription out of state. You should still take some basic precautions, even when staying within the United States: Research available healthcare facilities if you are going to be traveling off the beaten path. This includes both emergency departments at hospitals and urgent care centers. Take with you your insurance ID card and all your healthcare contact numbers. Take your prescription medications in their original bottles. Wear a medical ID bracelet if you have a special medical condition. Emergency Care Outside the United States Emergency care abroad is a different story. Government programs like Medicare and Medicaid do not cover you outside the country. Private insurance may cover some services. That varies from plan to plan. Call your insurance provider before you go to find out what is—and isn't—covered. Travel Health Insurance If you are not covered for emergency care, consider buying travel health insurance. This is especially important if you have a health condition. It's also important if you will be staying out of the country for a long time. You may also want to consider buying medical evacuation insurance. Without this coverage, getting back to the United States if you develop a serious medical problem can be very expensive. Finding Care Abroad If you need to find a doctor or a hospital abroad, a good resource is the local American embassy or consulate. Embassies and consulates keep lists of local doctors and hospitals for U.S. citizens traveling abroad. They can also help you transfer funds from home for an emergency. The best time to research available emergency care is before you leave. This is really important if you have a medical condition or if you are pregnant. Get the location and contact information of the embassy or consulate where you are traveling by checking the U.S. State Department website. Here are some other internet resources: For recommended doctors abroad, check the International Society of Travel Medicine. For doctors, hospitals and clinics, check the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers. For certified healthcare facilities, check the Joint Commission International. Some final tips for traveling abroad: If you get medical care, save all your bills and invoices for your insurance company. Get trip cancellation insurance. That will help if you have to cancel travel if you become sick or have a flare-up of an existing condition. Make sure you have all required or recommended immunizations for your destination. To do this, check with your doctor or a travel clinic several weeks before you leave. Take along a letter from your doctor describing your medical condition, medical care, and prescriptions you take. Fill all your prescriptions before you go. Then carry everything with you in your carry-on luggage. Do not put your medications in a checked bag. This includes refrigerated medicine. Check with the airline or airport security first to be clear on how to pack this type of medicine. Avoid high-risk activities when traveling abroad.