The summer travel season has arrived and many of us are planning to hit the road, sail the seas or fly the friendly skies. Pre-vacation lists are being drawn up to make sure we bring everything we’ll need.

Sunscreen: Check. Phone charger: Check. “Don’t Hassle Me, I’m on Vacation” T-shirt: Check.

One thing you don’t have to worry about bringing is your health coverage with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina. Rest assured; you are covered in case you need to go to the hospital or see a doctor while you’re out of town. Your health coverage goes where you go, whether that’s in another state or another country. You may be taking a vacation, but your Blue Cross insurance plan never takes a day off.

Our national BlueCard® program has you covered.

Don’t worry, as a Blue Cross customer, you’re automatically registered for Blue Card. It includes services from all of America’s 36 Blue Plan providers. It also covers providers in over 200 countries. If you have a “suitcase” on the lower right-hand corner of your insurance card, you are ready to go!

When you are traveling within the U.S, you are covered just as if you were at home. For instance, say you are in Boston taking in a baseball game and a fly ball catches you by surprise – plunk, right on top of your head! Have no fear. You can find a participating doctor by calling 1-800-810-BLUE (2583) or by going online to Find a BlueCard Doctor. You will pay the same in-network charges you would have paid back home in North Carolina. This is because the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association has agreed-upon rates with 96% of all hospitals and 92% of all physicians in the country.

Now, say you decide to take things a step further and go to Rio to cheer on Team USA in the Summer Olympics. Whether you are there for a few days or enjoying an extended stay, you are still covered, although international benefits work a bit differently.

If you are faced with a medical emergency while traveling internationally, go to the nearest hospital. If you are admitted or need care at any other time, please call BlueCard® Worldwide Service Center toll-free 24 hours a day at 1-800-810-BLUE (2583) or collect at 1-804-673-1177. Be sure to call BlueCard® – if you don’t, your claims may be processed at an out-of-network rate or denied.

Regardless of where you are, if you’re faced with an emergency just go directly to an urgent care or emergency room and present your Blue Cross ID card. These services will be processed at in-network rates, even when received from a non-participating provider.

Not all plans offer medical evacuation or repatriation. You can call Blue Cross before you leave to get details on which benefits are covered by your particular plan.

Here are a few reminders about your coverage when traveling


Within the U.S:

  • Call the number on the back of your card to find out what’s covered. We can also find you a participating provider.
  • Call 1-800-810-BLUE (2583) to find a nearby doctor or hospital.
  • If you use a participating provider, you do not have to file a claim.

Outside the U.S:

  • Emergency Care: If you need emergency medical care, go to the nearest hospital or urgent care. If you are admitted, contact the BlueCard® Worldwide Service Center 24 hours a day at 1-800-810-BLUE (2583) or collect at 1-804-673-1177. Then call Blue Cross at the number on the back of your card.
  • Non-Emergency Care: For non-emergency medical care, call the BlueCard® Worldwide Service Center before receiving treatment. This will reduce your out-of-pocket expenses.
  • For inpatient care arranged through BlueCard® Worldwide Service Center, the hospital will file a claim for you. For all other services, you may have to pay upfront and also file your claim. The BlueCard Worldwide International claim form is available here.

To learn more, please visit bcbsnc.com or go to the BlueCard® Program.

Happy travels from Blue Cross!

Leah Mararo

About Leah Mararo

Leah Mararo is a Communicators Coordinator at BCBSNC. Leah loves her job because she likes guiding our members through complicated benefits information with simple, effective communication pieces. When she’s not at work, Leah enjoys spending time with her family, playing table tennis and reading.