The University offers the UPMC Health Plan as a University benefit to employees. However, faculty, staff, and students at the University of Pittsburgh are covered by a variety of different insurance programs: for example, University employees may choose to have insurance through a plan offered by a spouse or partner’s employer and students may be on a parent’s program or an individually purchased plan.

To account for the differences between healthcare plans and as a means of guaranteeing primary medical benefits for all those traveling internationally for Pitt; the University has contracted with Cigna Global Health to provide blanket coverage for all University of Pittsburgh students, faculty and staff traveling abroad for University-related studies or business. Cigna benefits are administered through a working relationship with International SOS.

International SOS

Because of the diversity of types of programs and their varying types of international coverage, the University has contracted with International SOS to provide comprehensive health and security coverage to Pitt faculty, staff, and students traveling abroad on University business and on University programs and activities. ISOS is the world’s leading medical and travel security risk services company. In an emergency or for routine advice the International SOS team of 11,000 professionals, as well as their global network of nearly 60,000 vetted providers, are available to serve the University.

Who Is Covered by ISOS


The ISOS program covers non-routine care for University of Pittsburgh full-time and part-time graduate and undergraduate students enrolled at the University who are traveling to a country other than their home/country of origin for up to six consecutive months at a time as part of a University-related program or project including co-curricular and extracurricular activities done in relation to their scholastic program. This coverage extends to:

  • For-credit and not-for-credit programs run through the University’s Study Abroad Office.
  • Not-for-credit programs run by University departments and offices. (However, University of Pittsburgh students traveling with clubs and other organizations that are not part of a University department or office should consult with the Global Operations Support Manager about the program).
  • Educational programs abroad that are run by another university from which the student will receive University of Pittsburgh credit.
  • University of Pittsburgh research and educational programs.
  • A co-investigator or colleague in research programs abroad run by other universities.
  • Non-Pitt students registered as guest students at Pitt for the purposes of participating in Pitt study abroad programs.
Faculty And Staff

The ISOS program covers non-routine care for University of Pittsburgh regular full-time and part-time faculty and staff declared to be on an academic or work-related assignment on behalf of the University to a country other than their home/country of origin for up to six consecutive months at a time. The ISOS program covers all Pitt faculty and staff on such programs whether their regular health insurance is provided by the UPMC Health Plan or any other program. Coverage includes faculty and staff abroad on a paid leave of absence. Coverage is provided for the full length of the travel abroad; however, for assignments of greater than 180 days, please consult with the Global Operations Support Manager to confirm this coverage. Non-Pitt faculty or staff who are hired by the Study Abroad Office to lead or administer a Pitt study abroad program are covered by the ISOS program.

Who or What Is Not Covered by ISOS

  • Please Note: Depending on your destination, coverage might not apply or be impacted for particular destinations such as certain embargoed countries or areas of active conflict. Please contact the Global Operations Support Manager if you are traveling to an embargoed country or an area of active conflict to learn about coverage applicability.
  • University of Pittsburgh faculty, staff, undergraduate and graduate students who are traveling for personal reasons such as vacation or visiting family members.(For information about coverage during this type of travel, individuals who have active UPMC Health Plan coverage should read the section below titled UPMC Health Plan and the Coverage While Traveling section of Pitt’s HR website.)
  • University of Pittsburgh employees who are abroad during an unpaid leave of absence.
  • Those traveling to their country of origin (i.e. home country), even if on University related academics or business.
  • Non-Pitt faculty, staff, and students participating in Pitt programs and activities. As noted above, an exception is that non-Pitt students participating in or non-Pitt faculty and staff leading or administering a Pitt study abroad program are covered.

What Is Covered by ISOS

ISOS ServicesMedical Care Abroad

The ISOS program provides medical and medical assistance coverage when abroad and is the primary carrier. Such care abroad will include doctor and hospital visits, medication, medically required transportation while abroad and medically required evacuation and repatriation, all at 100% coverage. If follow up care is needed when the individual returns to the US, the individual’s own domestic plan covers such care. The plan does not cover routine care such as physical exams or routine maternity expenses, non-emergency mental health and substance abuse expenses, surgical second opinions, or home health care.

*Please Note: Depending on your destination, coverage might not apply or be impacted for particular destinations such as certain embargoed countries or areas of active conflict. Please contact the Global Operations Support Manager if you are traveling to an embargoed country or an area of active conflict to learn about coverage applicability.

Travel Insurance and Security Abroad

The University of Pittsburgh ISOS program includes assistance in safety and security preparation for travel abroad and safety and security protection during travel. Subject to specific dollar limits, the plan covers political and natural disaster assistance and insurance. Lost luggage insurance, trip interruption insurance, and return of personal effects after an evacuation is available, however, certain areas of coverage relating to luggage/baggage are offered via supplemental plans the University has, and not by International SOS/Cigna, please contact Global Operations Support if you have experienced lost or delayed baggage while in transit.

Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance

In the unlikely event of accidental death, an accidental death benefit is available via additional coverage at the University, please contact Global Operations Support for more information.

When to Use ISOS Services

Before You Travel

First, prepare yourself by creating your profile (one time only) and registering your trip in the International SOS MyTrips portal; see below under “Register for ISOS Benefits” for details.

Next, we strongly recommend you download the ISOS Assistance App; this convenient app features:

  • One-click dialing to the International SOS Assistance Center closest to your location, for immediate help or advice 24/7/365
  • The latest medical and travel security alerts for your location, with notifications being sent before and during trips
  • Favorite country content for fast navigation to your most-used information

NOTE: You must have a functioning data plan for your country of travel and location services must be turned on for this app to work. When you first start the App, you will be asked to enter your Membership Number, please input the following: 399GDA918470. If you are a faculty or staff member, via Pitt’s International Loaner Program, you can request a smart phone for your trip that has an active data plan for overseas travel. Trip registration via the MyTrips portal is required to take advantage of this opportunity. 

While Abroad

International SOS will help locate a qualified health care provider, receive a prescription or simply answer any general medical or security concern you may have so you get quality medical care and advice.

In an Emergency

International SOS can ensure that you get immediate care whether it requires evacuating you to a center of medical excellence or closely monitoring your condition with local doctors. Keep in mind that International SOS can also take care of all the details associated with your situation such as making travel arrangements for family members so you can focus on getting better.

To learn more about International SOS, there are two very brief videos titled “At a Glance” and “By the Numbers” that may be found on their website.

Register for ISOS Benefits

The ISOS program provides medical, security and logistical expertise to help safeguard Pitt’s international travelers. If you lose your medication in Prague, need to see a doctor in New Delhi, get pick-pocketed in Rio or, are in a serious accident, you should immediately contact International SOS. To obtain the full range of services offered, you will want to register your trip in the ISOS MyTrips portal.

NOTE: Students (and faculty/staff accompanying the students) on programs run from the Study Abroad Office are registered for the ISOS coverage automatically as part of their registration for the study abroad program.

Benefits of MyTrips Registration include:

  • A Travel Advisory email filled with useful country-specific information that will be sent out upon registration, allowing you to better plan for your trip
  • Emergency Contact Information: the portal allows you to enter not only an Emergency Contact of your choice in your home country but also enables you to input your contact information abroad so you can be reached in case of an emergency
  • Use of Pitt’s Technology Loaner Program (for Faculty and Staff only): trip registration is a prerequisite to participate in Pitt’s Technology Loaner Program which will allow you to choose from an array of devices and equipment you can use for your work abroad such as: smartphones, iPads and laptops

Students and staff members are required to register their trips in the ISOS MyTrips portal prior to any international travel. While use of the portal is optional for faculty, we strongly recommend its use. Having advanced information on your travel in the event of an emergency can make a meaningful difference when hours and even minutes may be critical for your health and safety.

Detailed instructions are available for creating your profile and registering your trip in the ISOS MyTrips portal.


Coverage for Non-University Personnel

Non-Pitt faculty, staff, and students who are participating in University of Pittsburgh programs and activities who are not covered by the ISOS/Cigna program should check with their medical insurance carrier to determine if it provides coverage while traveling abroad. Such individuals may want to consider purchasing travel insurance individually. International SOS offers individual plans.

For more information and enrollment contact ISOS at

UPMC Health Plan

As noted above, ISOS will provide the primary coverage for all Pitt employees abroad on University business and programs independent of who is their regular insurance provider. Many Pitt employees are covered by the UPMC Health Plan. Individuals in this plan are covered for urgent medical care and emergency services when traveling outside of the UPMC Health Plan service area, for both business and pleasure, including outside the US. For University employees with UPMC Health Plan, the ISOS program will be the primary coverage while traveling internationally on University business, programs, and activities and UPMC will be secondary. For such employees, UPMC Health Plan will remain the primary coverage for personal (non-University) travel. The UPMC Health Plan includes supplemental coverage from Assist America. UPMC offers an International Travel Program that helps individuals who travel abroad meet the medical requirements and provides recommendations to stay healthy during an upcoming trip. The program offers many services to travelers including comprehensive medical consultations, evaluations and immunizations. For details, see the Coverage While Traveling section of Pitt’s HR website. Employees who have elected to not use the UPMC Health Plan are covered by ISOS for University international business, programs, and activities. However, they should check with their own insurance provider about their international coverage for personal international travel.

Helpful Resources


For more information on health or to answer any questions, please contact the following: