Common questions about our travel service
The Kaiser Permanente Travel Advisory Service offers recommendations tailored to your travel outside the United States. Advice is based on your destination, activities, and medical history. The consultation is done in a scheduled phone visit.
Here are answers to commonly asked questions.
What is discussed in a virtual international travel visit?
A travel nurse will conduct a risk assessment by reviewing your travel plans, health status, and immunization history. During the phone visit, the nurse will make recommendations, and together you will decide what vaccines and prescriptions you need.
Your discussion will include information about preventing illness and injury during your trip. Particular risks will be addressed as needed, including how to prevent malaria and other mosquito-transmitted diseases, manage traveler’s diarrhea, avoid and treat altitude illness, and manage safety issues associated with certain types of adventure travel.
The travel nurse will contact your primary care physician to authorize travel immunizations and medicines, and your consultation becomes part of your medical record. You will receive a copy of your travel advice in your Kaiser Permanente member site online records, or by postal mail.
How do I make an appointment?
Contact us as soon as you can. Ideally, your phone consultation should be done at least 6 to 8 weeks before departure. However, even if you are leaving soon, the nurse can help you get needed travel vaccinations and medications.
To call for an appointment:
- Seattle area: 206-326-3488
- Toll-free: 1-800-562-6300; ask the operator to transfer you to ext. 3488
To schedule online, you must be registered on the Kaiser Permanente member website. Sign in, go to Appointments, and choose "All Specialties."
When you make your appointment, have this information ready:
- Your Kaiser Permanente member ID, and member IDs of family members traveling with you
- Your departure date and time, length of stay, and the countries you will visit
- Any vaccines you or your family members have received outside of Kaiser Permanente medical offices.
What do travel immunizations cost?
Your travel advisory consultation is a covered benefit and there is no cost. However, travel-related immunizations and medications are an out-of-pocket cost. The travel nurse can provide you with estimated fee information during your phone visit. If you are due for routine immunizations, these may be covered depending on your health plan.
What travel vaccines are available through Kaiser Permanente medical offices?
The following vaccines are available at Kaiser Permanente medical offices. Yellow fever vaccine is available at Kaiser Permanente medical offices that have obtained federal and state certification to administer that vaccine. Travel vaccines are extra and are not covered benefits.
- Hepatitis A and B
- Japanese Encephalitis
- Adult Polio
- Rabies (pre-exposure series)
- Typhoid Fever
- Yellow Fever (Stamaril) - Currently only available at Kaiser Permanente’s Capitol Hill Clinic in Seattle
What should I do if I get sick or am injured while traveling?
If you have a medical emergency while traveling, please seek medical attention immediately.
Before you leave, Member Services may assist you in figuring out what services may or may not be covered under your plan. They can also help you find the closest in-network care option, whether you’re traveling within the United States or internationally. To reach Member Services by phone, you may call 1-888-901-4636. If you’re a Kaiser Permanente Medical Advantage member, call Medicare Member Services at 1-888-901-4600.
If you do seek care while traveling, remember to keep all of your itemized receipts and submit them to Kaiser Permanente Washington’s claims department (see below regarding how to submit a claim). Many countries will ask for payment before service is given.
We also recommend you obtain extra medical insurance that includes emergency medical evacuation insurance.
How do I submit a claim?
How to submit claims for reimbursement lists the kind of information you would need for a claim submittal.
Can I email my doctor while I'm on my trip?
If you receive your primary care at a Kaiser Permanente medical office AND have registered on the Kaiser Permanente member website for access to secure online services, you can exchange secure messages with your doctor and with the Consulting Nurse Service during your trip. (This service is NOT for travel emergencies; responses usually are made by the end of the next business day.) Please note: There will be limitations to the advice provided, since our Kaiser Permanente Medical Providers and Consulting nurses do not hold licenses outside of WA and ID.
You may also call the Consulting Nurse Service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Remember to include the international code for the United States: 01-206-630-2244. There isn't a toll-free international number.
The Travel Advisory Service focuses on pre-travel advice. If you need medical attention after you get home for a non-urgent illness or injury that occurred during your trip, contact your personal physician or the Consulting Nurse. They may consult with our Infectious Disease physicians.
How should I prepare for my trip?
- Make sure recommended routine vaccines are up to date including your flu shot.
- Please schedule a visit with your physician to discuss any medical issues you are concerned about before travel or if you need to manage a current condition during your trip.
- Make sure your current daily and as-needed medicine prescriptions are up to date, and you have enough medication while you travel. Requests should be made 1-2 weeks before you travel. You may speak to your primary care provider if you have any questions.
- If you are age 18 and older: Register on kp.org/wa so you may have access to your medical record when traveling and can contact your provider with non-urgent questions when traveling.
- Pack your Kaiser Permanente ID card, as there are important numbers on the back including our Consulting Nurse Service line.
- Take some time to understand what services are covered and available while you travel through Member Services. 1-888-901-4636. They can help you find the closest in-network care option, whether you're traveling within the United States or internationally. If you're a Kaiser Permanente Medicare Advantage member, call Medicare Member Services at 1-888-901-4600.
- We recommend you register your trip with the U.S. State Department Smart Traveler Program (STEP) so you may receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, help the U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency and help family and friends get in touch with you in an emergency.
- Car crashes are a leading cause of injury among travelers. Protect yourself from these injuries by: not drinking and driving, wearing your seat belt, using car seats or booster seats in the backseat for children, following local traffic laws, hiring a local driver when possible, avoiding night driving, and wearing a helmet when you ride bikes, motorcycles, and motor bikes.
- Protect yourself and others against respiratory infections by avoiding sick people, washing your hands frequently, covering your cough and encouraging others to cover their coughs. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (60% or more alcohol) whenever soap and running water are not available for hand washing.
- Keep your medications in their original containers and carry them on the plane. If smaller medication quantity and containers are needed, you may request this from your clinic pharmacy before purchasing medications.
- Carry a good first aid kit with you. For ideas on what to include in your kit: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/pack-smart.htm
For further questions about travel or more information please contact the Kaiser Permanente Travel Advisory Department at: 206-326-3838, option #3.
We look forward to speaking with you!