Know your health care options when you’re away from home

Know your health care options when you’re away from home

July 3, 2019
It’s the time of year when vacationing kicks into high gear. Don’t let unexpected medical issues put a damper on your plans. Prepare for the unexpected by knowing ahead of time how to use your health care benefits when you’re on the road.

Medical virtual visits

If you are enrolled in HealthSelect of Texas, Consumer Directed HealthSelect or HealthSelect Out-of-State, you can consult online or over the phone with a board-certified physician, any time, day or night for minor illnesses and injuries.

There is no copay for in-network virtual visits for participants enrolled in HealthSelect of Texas and HealthSelect Out-of-State. Consumer Directed HealthSelect participants will pay the full cost until they meet the annual deductible and then pay 20% coinsurance for in-network virtual visits.

As the following HealthSelect of Texas participant discovered, virtual visits can be invaluable if you need care while traveling:

Last November, I was all set for my trip to northern Virginia (just outside of the D.C. area) to spend some time with family over the Thanksgiving holiday.  Even though I was exhausted from my travels, I felt okay when I reached my destination.

When I woke up the next morning, however, I felt absolutely awful. I stayed in bed, contemplating what I should do—I was in a place that wasn’t familiar to me and I didn’t have a car.  Getting seen by an urgent care physician over the holiday would be difficult and would, at the very least, require multiple rides and possibly hours of waiting.

Then I remembered that my illness could probably be treated by a medical virtual visit. I had already downloaded and registered for a virtual visit account  and had used the service before in the past.

So, I opened the app on my phone, answered a few quick questions about my current symptoms, medical history and drug allergies, and was placed in a virtual waiting room to see a physician—and I didn’t even have to leave the house.

Within five minutes, I consulted with a board-certified physician, via video, in Virginia. He was pleasant and thorough in his evaluation of my illness and in giving me a diagnosis and follow-up instructions.

Through the app, I had already found an in-network pharmacy closest to where I was staying. Then, at the end of my consultation, the doctor prescribed some antibiotics and sent the prescription to the pharmacy I had chosen. He told me to call back if I had any issues or did not feel better in a few days.

After about an hour, I got a quick ride to the pharmacy, picked up my meds and continued on with the plans I had for the day and the rest of the week. And within 24 hours, I was feeling 100% better. I was able to spend the rest of my vacation enjoying my time with the people around me, rather than being sick and miserable.


For more information and to sign up, go to the virtual visits webpage.


Those enrolled in HealthSelect of Texas®, Consumer Directed HealthSelectSM or HealthSelect Out-of-State can use the following checklist to guide them.

Before you go:
  • Call a BCBSTX Personal Health Assistant toll-free at (800) 252-8039 (TTY: 711), Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. or Saturday, 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. CT if you have questions before you leave.
  • Bring your medical ID card when you travel. Treat it like a credit card—keep it safe!
  • Pack your medications. Also, take a few minutes to make a list of all of your prescriptions, including dosages.
  • If the information isn’t already on your phone, make a list of the names and phone numbers of your and your kids’ regular caregivers: primary care providers (PCPs) and any specialists you might see on a regular basis.
To find an in-network provider while traveling:
  • If you are traveling within the United States, call a BCBSTX Personal Health Assistant toll-free at (800) 252-8039 or use the Provider Finder® tool for your plan
  • For travel outside of the United States, call Blue Cross Blue Shield Global® Core customer service toll-free at (800) 810-BLUE (2583) or use the International Provider Finder tool via www.bcbsglobalcore.com. (Note: If it is your first time logging in, you must register for access first.)
  • Download the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas App for easy access to the Provider Finder tool. You can also view your claims, check costs of services or use the live chat feature. Text BCBSTXAPP to 33633 to get the app on your mobile device.
  • If you have to get medical care while traveling, keep all the receipts and paperwork.

  • HMOs
    Community First Health Plans: In most cases, only emergency care services are covered outside Community First’s network or service area. However, the Enhanced Travel Network gives you access to urgent care while traveling outside the service area. You and covered family members can see a First Health network provider if you are in need of urgent care. Call Community First at (800) 226-5116 to find a provider.

    Scott and White Health Plan: If you have an urgent medical problem that is not an emergency, please contact SWHP’s Patient Advisory Nurse Line at (877) 505-7947. You can access this 24-hour line from anywhere in the world for medical advice and assistance in managing your illness.

    You are covered, worldwide, for any true emergency that occurs. If you suffer a heart attack or lose consciousness, or have breathing difficulties, broken bones or other critical conditions that require immediate treatment, you are covered with your emergency room copay and coinsurance. 

    If you are taken to an out-of-network emergency room, be sure to provide your member ID card to streamline billing and payment. You may also want to give the treating physician permission to discuss your emergency care with your in-network physician.

    If you are admitted to the hospital, please have someone call Scott and White Health Plan (SWHP) within 24 to 48 hours, so the plan can begin coordinating your care as soon as possible. Use the toll-free number on the back of your ID card to report that you are being treated in an out-of-plan facility. If traveling with others, you may want to have someone else in your group know what to do in case you are unable to speak for yourself.

    KelseyCare powered by Community Health Choice: (NOTE: Starting September 1, 2019, KelseyCare powered by Community Health Choice will no longer be available to Texas Employees Group Benefits program participants. The following information is valid through August 31, 2019 only.) If you are experiencing a medical emergency, seek care from the nearest emergency room or call 9-1-1. Your benefits through ERS and KelseyCare powered by Community Health Choice cover emergency services anywhere in the United States. However, you may be responsible for a copay at the time of service.

    You can call KelseyCare's 24-hour nurse line at (713) 442-0000. A qualified nurse will be able to help you decide if immediate medical assistance is needed. During normal business hours, call your PCP's office. After business hours (including weekends and holidays), call (713) 442-0000.