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silly packing question

As I get all my documents together, pack my travel purse and neck wallet, I'm wondering if I should include my Medicare card and supplement card. I know medicare isn't accepted in Europe and I think supplement is reimbursement but I'm wondering if I should have them just in case something happens while in transit in the US. Better to have and not need than to need and not have? I have travel insurance that covers medical and evacuation.
As always, thanks for your help.

Posted by
1024 posts

The cards weigh nothing, so why not bring them? Alternatively, scan them into your phone in case you need the image on the cards, and then they weigh even less than nothing.

Posted by
21317 posts

I'll tell you what I do: I take an index card (plain paper would work in a pinch) and cut it down so it fits inside my wallet. On it I record all the numbers (just the last 4 digits for credit cards) I might need, including insurance policy numbers, key relatives' telephone numbers, frequent-flyer numbers, etc. Anything I might need during the trip. I make a second copy and stash it in my suitcase. Given my propensity for losing credit cards, I make sure I have a telephone number I can call from Europe if I have to report a lost or stolen card.

Edited to add: Having had a wallet lifted once in Europe, I do not take any actual cards with me that I know I will not need. There's less to replace that way.

Posted by
5152 posts

We don't bring our medicare cards. but we do write down the numbers. Just in case...

Posted by
16883 posts

You're smart to have the info needed for possibilities in transit in the US as well as the slim possibility that a med-evac could take you to a US hospital not near your home.

Posted by
2746 posts

Can't hurt.

I keep these kinds of things- cards I won't need in Europe but might use in the US or in some sort of strange scenario in a baggie in my suitcase, along with any US cash I happened to have when I left, and my house/car keys. I won't need it walking around Rome, but can dig it out of my bag on return. Of course, you have to remember not to put it in checked luggage, wouldn't want to get home and have your bag delayed with this stuff in it! Usually I transfer it to my purse for the return flight.

Posted by
4612 posts

I would just take a photo of it and place in the Cloud or emailed to yourself. And I always send an email or iCloud link with the important info to a non-traveling relative - passport, itinerary, prescriptions, etc. as my Plan C backup plan.

Posted by
283 posts

Since you never know when you will need this information, and because it is a hassle to replace the cards should they be lost or stolen, I take a picture of of them with me. I take both front and back pictures to have all the information I might need. It's a quick and easy solution.

Posted by
8003 posts

We carry ours as things can and do happen in transit home. Last year I was quite ill when changing planes, needed medical care.

Posted by
1674 posts

Thanks everyone. Cards will go into the bottom of my suitcase along with US$ and copies of other docs during the trip.

Posted by
21317 posts

The point that something could go wrong while you're still on US soil is a valid one. Hmm. I do sometimes get a bit carried away about stripping my wallet before heading overseas. On my recent trip I found myself at the express-bus stop without my Metro card. I did at least have some US currency with me.

Posted by
2576 posts

I take photocopies of my Medicare card, supplement, drug coverage, as well as credit and debit cards I am carrying and bury them in my roll aboard. In the hotels it goes in the safe. Even if you don't have your card you can't be denied care in an ER in the US, it's a law, but having the card or a facsimile helps smooth the process, especially with the new Medicare numbers that are impossible to remember.

Posted by
8512 posts

When you say suitcase, you do mean carry on, I hope. I wouldn't let these out of my possession.
BTW, we take pictures of the cards.

Posted by
187 posts

I'm with many others in not taking along unnecessary cards, etc. I do make credit card sized copies of the photo and facing page of my passport and use laminating sheets from Walmart or office supply store to make a waterproof copy that goes in my pocket wallet. this could be done with other cards that can be stored in the suitcase, just in case needed.

Posted by
996 posts

As stated above, you are smart to think ahead about things that could happen before you leave the US/once you return.

What I'd do is make a copy of the card(s) and either store them with my important papers/passport OR take a photo of the card on my phone. If you go with either method, make sure to make a copy of both the front and back of the card which will make it easier for a provider to have all of the necessary information in the event of an emergency.

Posted by
9929 posts

Oh yes. I carry mine as well as my Medicare supplement/prescription drug card/Lifeflight air ambulance cards. I have an hour’s drive to my end of the line airport then a layover in at least 1 US hub before any International flight.