International Travel Assistance Benefits: Administrative Guide


Human Resources/Benefits




Christa Taylor

Guideline Summary

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, at no charge for all persons traveling overseas on official Research Foundation business. Operating locations should provide those traveling abroad on RF business with appropriate information regarding these benefit programs.

Overview of Programs

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



Eligibility and Restrictions

BlueCross BlueShield Global (BCBSG)

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 have 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; and

Emergency evacuation.

Available to anyone traveling outside their 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.


Provides 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.

Provides direct payments and guarantees of payments to physicians, laboratories, clinics, and urgent care centers if appointments are made through BlueCrossBlueShield Global either by phone, email, or online.

Provides 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 BlueCrossBlueShield Global 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 85 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.

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

Travelers age 85 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 BCBSGT program. Please review the program materials for more information.

BCBSGT member guide

BCBSGT Certificate of Coverage

IMPORTANT: Do not post either of these documents on public campus websites. The documents require RF login to prevent unauthorized use.

BCBSG Expatriate (BCBSGE)

Provides upfront payment guarantees to hospitals and physicians worldwide if appointment is made through BlueCrossBlueShield Global either over the phone, online, or via email.

Provides comprehensive medical coverage, which includes routine services.

Most services are covered at 90%

The BCBSGE 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 BCBSGT policy, RF employees of any age can be covered.

Note: The BCBSGE program can be used as an alternative to the RF Regular Employee Health Plan. Once enrolled, BCBSGE 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 BCBSGE program. Please review the program materials for more information.

BlueCrossBlueShield Global Expat Member Guide

BlueCrossBlueShield Global Expat Certificate of Insurance

Information for Eligible Travelers

Those traveling abroad on official Research Foundation business should be provided with the following information:

Member Information

The BlueCrossBlueShield Global 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 BlueCrossBlueShield Global Traveler Member Guide.

Cost of Coverage

The RF pays the full cost for the BCBSGT, and BCBSGE 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.

Note: Projects do not need to enroll specific individuals for the BCBSGT coverage, but do need to enroll expatriate employees in the BCBSGE coverage.

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.



Related Information

See important information on Export Controls

See the International Travel Q&A document

See the Travel Handbook


BlueCrossBlueShield Global Traveler member guide

BlueCrossBlueShield Global Traveler Certificate of Coverage

BlueCrossBlueShield Global Expat member guide

BlueCrossBlueShield Global Expat Certificate of Coverage

Change History


Summary of Change

January 1, 2018

Updated company name and removed UHC guidelines and other obsolete language.

May 28, 2015

Updated contact information, company name, and links for new RF website, and reformatted.

June 20, 2014

Updated contact information and clarified blanket medical coverage for those 70 and over.

February 16, 2012

Updated link to international travel Q&A document.

December 15, 2011

Updated to reflect new carriers in 2012.

January 3, 2011

Updated contact information and added Haiti to the list of countries where travel must be declared in advance.

June 23, 2010

Updated CIGNA contact information and added Certificate of Coverage for MBA.

April 7, 2010

Updated links to CIGNA document and name and email change to CIGNA representative.

April 2, 2010

Updated contact information for CIGNA representative, repaired links, and added information on the Global Travel policy for those age 75 and over.

February 3, 2010

Added comparison to SUNY international benefits and added language about travel to hazardous countries.

December 22, 2009

Updated contact information and clarified eligibility.

January 9, 2009

Updated contact information and documentation.

December 28, 2006

Updated with current information

March 24, 2003

Updated with current information.

December 15, 2001

Converted and updated be-a-500 from Benefits Manual.



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