Health insurance can be confusing enough, and overseas travel just adds complications to it. Enough that, according to a survey sponsored by travel-insurance broker InsureMyTrip, over 60% of travelers either don't know, or believe their insurance stops at the border.
And, in all too many cases, the answer really is that there's no out-of-country coverage, or only a small reimbursement with a lot of paperwork. In fact, some domestic plans, especially HMOs and group plans, may have very little coverage inside the country but outside your "in network" area.
So, what are your choices? Step 1, ask your health plan administrator what's covered. Areas to be sure of include both immediate medical care and hospitalization, and the costs of medical evacuation home.
If the answer isn't pleasing, you can buy a travel medical insurance policy, or a comprehensive travel insurance policy that includes it. The difference between the two is that the comprehensive policy focuses on trip interruption insurance, cancellation, etc. Price both ways...and if you're on Medicare (which doesn't cover you overseas) but have a supplemental plan, check with that carrier, because some do.
InsureMyTrip is in that business, of course, which is why they sponsor the research. They are not an insurer; they act as brokers for about two dozen companies, including the big names.
Another very useful resource is the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers (IAMAT). It's a non-profit that provides travelers with health information, and with a list of English-speaking medical professionals all over the world. If you're an IAMAT member, your treatment is at agreed-on rates, capped at $100 for a first visit/treatment. Membership is free, but donations are requested—fair enough. They are at www.iamat.org