International Travel Assistance: Administrative Guide

Effective Date: December 15, 2001

Function: Human Resources/Benefits

Contact: Tim Orcutt

Basis for Procedure

International travel for research and training has become an increasingly common activity of sponsored programs. To support this important activity, the Board of Directors of the Research Foundation (RF) authorized the RF to provide blanket international travel assistance coverage, as well as emergency health insurance benefits, for all persons (other than independent contractors) traveling overseas on official Research Foundation business.

Procedure Summary

Operating locations provide international travelers on RF business with appropriate information on two benefit programs offered at no charge by the RF.

Procedure: Administration of Travel Assistance Benefit

The following table describes the steps taken by operating locations, project offices, and eligible travelers to take advantage of these benefits:




Benefits administrator asks project offices if their staff will need to travel outside the United States on official Research Foundation business.



overseas travel is not anticipated

operating locations need not request UHC Global or GeoBlue supplies and the following steps do not apply.

overseas travel is anticipated

ask each project office for the number of travelers expected to travel internationally, and go to Step 2.


Operating locations request a quantity of UHC Global or GeoBlue supplies (refer to the section What to Give Eligible Travelers) equal to the number of expected international travelers.

  • For UHC Global materials, contact Diana Winslow at UHC Global via e-mail at or by phone at 410-308-7904.
  • For GeoBlue materials, contact Valerie Mountain via e-mail at or by phone at 610-263-8745.


Operating locations provide UHC Global and GeoBlue brochures/ID cards to project offices and instruct them to track all such travel using the INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL TRACKING WORKSHEET. This information will be requested annually by central office for use in determining program renewal rates with UHC Global and GeoBlue.

  • Travel expected to last for 180 or more consecutive days should be reported immediately to central office using the following e-mail address:


Project offices provide the appropriate GeoBlue/UHC Global brochures to qualified travelers. Project directors need not enroll, complete membership applications, or pay premiums for specific individuals, unless they will be traveling for more than 180 consecutive days.




GeoBlue optional short-term health insurance is not requested

go to Step 6

GeoBlue optional short-term health insurance is requested

operating locations provide central office with the traveler's name and dates of travel. Central office will provide further details about additional costs and coverage. Go to Step 6.




the traveler is expected to be out of the country for less than 180 consecutive days.

go to Step 7. Specific travel information is not immediately needed by central office, but should still be tracked using the INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL TRACKING WORKSHEET since the information is needed annually in Step 8.

the traveler is expected to be out of the country for 180 or more consecutive days.

operating locations immediately provide central office with the traveler's name, destination, and dates of travel. Go to Step 7. Travel should also be recorded on the INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL TRACKING WORKSHEET (See step 8 below)


When on international travel, eligible travelers should keep with them at all times, the GeoBlue/UHC Global Member brochure.

  • In the event of an emergency, travelers should contact GeoBlue by using the 24-Hour Emergency Number listed on the brochure. If necessary, the call will be referred to UHC Global.


Once a year (in May), each operating location will be asked to provide central office with the following information for the preceding 12-month period; therefore this information should be captured and maintained for all international travel:

For each person:


country of assignment


number of dependents that accompanied the traveler

dates of travel.

This information is needed by UHC Global and GeoBlue for the policy renewals. It may be easier to track this information throughout the year by using the INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL TRACKING WORKSHEET.



Related Information

Overview of Programs

The table below identifies the provider options, coverage for each program, and eligibility of RF staff to participate in the program.



Eligibility and Restrictions

United Healthcare Global (UHC Global)

Provides administration of Worldwide Emergency Assistance Services, including Global Security Services. Travel assistance benefits include a 24-hour/day-365 day/year call center where a traveler can obtain and has access to:

  • emergency and routine medical assistance
  • medical and prescription medication referrals
  • medical evacuation
  • lost document assistance
  • legal referrals
  • contact information for embassies
  • emergency messages to family members
  • emergency telephone translation service
  • security analysis of risk conditions throughout the world
  • an experienced crisis management team
  • emergency evacuation

Available to anyone (other than independent contractors) traveling outside the home country on official Research Foundation for SUNY business. The spouse and dependent children are also covered when accompanying the person working on Foundation business.

Geo Blue Traveler (GBT)


  • upfront payment guarantees to hospitals and physicians worldwide for non-routine medical care for SUNY or RF employees under age 70 and their eligible dependents traveling on RF business for periods of fewer than 180 consecutive days.
  • direct payments and guarantees of payments to physicians, laboratories, clinics, and urgent care centers if appointments are made through Geo Blue either by phone, email, or online.
  • recommendations to facilities of all types.


    Note: Travelers and their dependents should have comprehensive health insurance in place before leaving the country, since this program does not cover routine care. A project may purchase optional medical insurance from Geo Blue on a per-trip basis if needed for staff whose U.S. comprehensive health insurance does not provide out-of-network coverage. The cost of such optional health insurance will be a direct charge to the project.

All faculty, staff, students, paid and unpaid program participants, and fellows traveling on official Research Foundation for SUNY business under age 70 are eligible and who are traveling on the business of, or at the expense of, the Research Foundation outside their country of residence or permanent assignment. Persons for whom coverage is prohibited under applicable law will not be considered eligible for this policy. Independent contractors are not covered.

The spouse and dependent children are also covered when accompanying the person working on RF business.


Travelers age 70 and over cannot be covered under this blanket policy and will need to be covered under a separate policy. Contact the RF central office to obtain a quote at least 30 days before travel begins.


Other important exclusions and limitations apply to the GBT program. Please review the program materials for more information.

Geo Blue Expatriate (GBE)


  • upfront payment guarantees to hospitals and physicians worldwide if appointment is made through GeoBlue either over the phone, online, or via email.
  • comprehensive medical coverage, which includes routine services. Most services are covered at 90%

The GBE program is only available to RF employees working a minimum of 30 hours per week on RF business assignments overseas for 180 or more consecutive days per year, and their eligible dependents. The dependents need not travel with the RF employee in order to be covered.


Unlike the blanket GBT policy, RF employees of any age can be covered.


Note: The GBE program can be used as an alternative to the RF Regular Employee Health Plan. Once enrolled, GBE participants can discontinue their RF health coverage. They can then resume their RF health coverage upon their return without penalty.


Other important exclusions and limitations apply to the GBE program. Please review the program materials for more information.

SUNY Benefits for Employees and Students

SUNY also provides international travel and health benefits for their faculty, staff and students who are traveling on SUNY programs. Participants are enrolled by the campus at which they work or study; an insurance premium is required. Please contact the SUNY international benefit administrator at your location for more information. You may also refer to the following charts which summarize and compare the RF and SUNY international program benefits and eligibility:

International Benefits for Those Traveling on SUNY and RF Programs - Comparison of Benefits

International Health Insurance Comparison of SUNY and RF Eligibility, Enrollment, Cost

Cost of Coverage

The RF pays the full cost for the UHC Global, GBT, and GBE coverages. The cost of any optional medical insurance for short-term travelers (as discussed above) on a per-trip basis will be a direct charge to the project.

Travel to any of the following countries is not covered by UHC Global:

What to Give Eligible Travelers

Those traveling abroad on official Research Foundation business (who are not independent contractors) should be provided with the following information:

Member Information

UHC Global provides an online Global Intelligence Center for members on their website ( Select Create User and enter the Policy Number found on the GBT member guide (login required)]. Then create a user name and password and accept the User Agreement. Then click Register Now, complete the requested information and click Finish. The Web site also provides contact information for their Emergency Response Center as well as a variety of medical and travel security reports.

The GeoBlue website is the same for the Traveler and Expat plans, The site contains provider lists, contact information, claims information, country and city-specific information, benefit summary, drug translation information, health and security information and general health information. Employees will need to register to access the website using their group access code for the Traveler plan or their member ID number for the Expat plan. Registration information will be included in member guides.

Please encourage travelers to enroll at both sites.

Related Links


GeoBlue Traveler member guide

Geo Blue Traveler Certificate of Coverage

GeoBlue Expat member guide

GeoBlue Expat Certificate of Coverage

Change History



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