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Before You Go

Planning a trip outside the United States? Our Travel Advisory Service offers health advice tailored to your destinations, activities, and medical history. The appointments are phone consultations with our travel nurses, who are certified by the International Society of Travel Medicine and work under the direction of Kaiser Permanente's Infectious Disease physicians. We recommend your consultation be scheduled at least 4 to 6 weeks before departure to plan for recommended vaccinations and medications. However, even if you are leaving soon, the nurse can help you get needed travel vaccinations and medications.

While You're Traveling

Need care while traveling? Call Member Services at 1-866-648-1928 (TTY 711 ). They can help you find the closest in-network care option, whether you're traveling within the United States or internationally.

If you're a Kaiser Permanente Medicare Advantage member, call Medicare Member Services at 1-888-901-4600 (TTY 711 ), 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., 7 days per week.

Emergency and urgent care

No matter what health plan you have, you're covered for emergency and urgent care when you're away from the Kaiser Permanente Washington region.

If you have a medical emergency while traveling within the U.S., call 911 or the local emergency assistance number immediately. Then within 24 hours or as soon as reasonably possible, call our Hospital Notification Line for the United States at 1-888-457-9516 ( 206-901-4609 ), option 3 and option 4, so we can follow up on your care.

If you have been hospitalized outside the United States and need assistance, call our international Hospital Notification Line at 1-888-457-9516 ( 206-901-4609 ), option 2.

Dedicated Member Services for PEBB Members

1-866-648-1928 (TTY 711 )

Speak with a representative Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For Medicare Questions

If you are interested in a Medicare health plan and want to speak with a Kaiser Permanente Medicare specialist.

1-888-901-4600 (TTY 711 )

For Eligibility and Enrollment Questions

Visit the PEBB website

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Coverage that goes where you go: Travel worry-free with Blue Cross Blue Shield

Planning to hit the road this travel season?   You’ve got a lot to do!   You’ll have to book your travel, lodging and activities, pack and be sure your home is looked after while you’re gone.   That’s a lot to think about, and the list goes on. With so much to do, it’s easy to overlook one item that might prove crucial: ensuring that you will be covered if you need medical care while traveling.

Most Blue Cross Blue Shield members can rest easy since Blue Cross Blue Shield coverage opens doors in all 50 states and is accepted by over 90 percent of doctors and specialists.   And if your extended travel plans take you abroad, you can ensure you have access to quality care through GeoBlue .

BCBS Coverage Travels with You

If you aren’t sure what’s covered, it’s a good idea to call your Blue Cross Blue Shield company to find out what your benefits are if something goes awry while on vacation. When traveling within the United States, most Blue Cross Blue Shield members will be covered under the BlueCard program, which connects all 36 individual Blue Cross Blue Shield companies so that members can enjoy access to the savings the local Blue Cross Blue Shield plan has negotiated with its doctors and hospitals.

For example, if a member of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, whose Plan includes the BlueCard program, falls and breaks his arm while hiking in Yellowstone, he will be charged the rate Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wyoming has negotiated with the local hospital rather than paying the steep fees he would otherwise encounter.   Likewise, a BCBS Wyoming member who falls ill in Dallas would be charged the rate BCBS Texas has negotiated with its local providers.   It’s one of the many benefits of belonging to the nation’s oldest and largest health insurance system.

If your plans include international travel, GeoBlue   has an extensive network of options to meet your needs when living or working abroad for an extended period of time.   Though many Blue Cross Blue Shield plans cover international care in emergency situations, GeoBlu e  plans offer the most complete set of benefits and access to services like emergency medical evacuation, which might not be covered by your regular plan.

Insurance Tips for Travelers

Here are a few steps you can take to take charge of your health while traveling:

Traveling Within the United States

  • Call your BCBS company to find out what your benefits cover while traveling.
  • Always carry your current BCBS ID Card .
  • To find nearby doctors and hospitals, call BlueCard Access at 1-800-810-BLUE (2583) or visit the Blue National Doctor & Hospital Provider Finder .
  • Call your Blue Plan for precertification or prior authorization if necessary. Refer to the phone number located on your Blue ID card.

Traveling Abroad

  • Verify your international benefits with your Blue Plan before leaving the United States, or purchase a GeoBlue  plan.
  • Always carry your Blue ID card.
  • If you need to locate a doctor or hospital, or need medical assistance services, hotlines are available 24/7. You can reach the BlueCard Worldwide Service Center at 1-800-810-BLUE (2583) or call collect at 1-804-673-1177. If you’re a GeoBlue member, call collect at 1-610-254-8771, or 1-800-257-4823 from inside the U.S.

To learn more, visit or the GeoBlue website.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is an association of 35 independent, locally operated Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield companies.

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7 Best Cheap Travel Insurance Companies in July 2024

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Many, or all, of the products featured on this page are from our advertising partners who compensate us when you take certain actions on our website or click to take an action on their website. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

Finding the cheapest travel insurance is often a priority for travelers hoping to protect themselves and their finances while away from home.

But is it better to err on the side of affordable travel insurance or opt for a more comprehensive plan? That depends on your needs .

On average, a comprehensive plan that covers some combination of trip cancellation and interruption costs, medical coverage and baggage protection (and perhaps a number of other things) will cost you 5%-10% of what you paid for the trip, according to NerdWallet partner Squaremouth, a travel insurance marketplace.

That means a comprehensive policy for a trip that costs you $3,000 could run you anywhere between $150 and $300. Factors like the cost and length of your trip, the age of the travelers and how much protection you want can significantly influence what you pay for your plan.

Ultimately, Squaremouth recommends “the least expensive policy that offers the coverage [travelers] need.”

» Learn more: The best travel insurance companies right now

Factors we considered when picking cheap travel insurance plans

We considered a few factors as we looked for the most affordable travel insurance plans.

Price: If your goal is to find cheaper travel insurance, you want the price to be affordable.

Breadth of coverage: The best budget travel insurance is typically going to be a plan that offers a wide range of protections at an affordable cost, ensuring you’re protected with at least some coverage for a wide range of scenarios.

Uniqueness or customizability : While many travel insurance plans have similar protections, some stand out for particular coverage that can be helpful to certain travelers, like those needing to Cancel For Any Reason , those going on a cruise, or travelers with preexisting health conditions. We didn’t spring for the priciest plans with broad, deep coverage; instead, we picked those that meet a sort of budget "sweet spot" when it comes to cost efficiency.

» Learn more: Is travel insurance worth getting?

An overview of the best cheap travel insurance plans

We looked at travel insurance quotes for a hypothetical 10-day trip to Italy in October 2023. The traveler is a 40-year-old man living in North Carolina who spent $2,000 on the trip, including airfare.

Reliable but cheap travel insurance providers

1. axa assistance usa (silver plan: $70).

travel medical insurance kaiser

Why we picked it:

The $500 missed connection benefit is great for cruise and tour participants. It covers additional transportation, accommodations and meal costs when you miss a cruise or tour departure.

Full trip cancellation and interruption coverage, along with up to $25,000 for out-of-pocket medical costs and baggage coverage.

Among the lowest prices we found.

If you’re willing to spend a bit more than AXA's $70 Silver plan, a Gold plan only costs $19 more and gets you deeper coverage amounts and up to $35,000 in collision rental car insurance.

2. Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection (ExactCare Value plan: $56)

travel medical insurance kaiser

Cheapest plan we found while still offering a wide array of protections.

Includes a preexisting medical condition waiver.

Add-on rental car collision coverage optional for $10 per day. You can pick how many days you want the additional coverage — it’s not all or nothing.

At $56, this plan comes in at less than 3% of the $2,000 trip cost.

3. IMG (iTravelInsured Lite plan: $77)

travel medical insurance kaiser

Treats COVID-19 like any other illness, which is to say, if your claim accepts flu, strep throat or appendicitis as an acceptable, covered condition, the coronavirus is, too.

Covers costs related to trip interruption up to 125% 

Higher than normal limits on dental expenses, at $1,000. If your teeth are your Achilles heel (or your biggest fear), this plan might be for you.

The iTravelInsured Lite plan doesn’t offer some of the bells and whistles that other plans do, like rental car coverage , Cancel For Any Reason coverage or waivers for pre-existing conditions. But you’ll have relatively solid across-the-board trip protections.

4. John Hancock (Silver plan: $93 for a mid-tier plan)

travel medical insurance kaiser

Mid-level plan (as opposed to a basic plan) at an affordable price for travelers who want more coverage without paying too much.

Includes an optional Cancel For Any Reason add-on for travelers wanting flexibility. It is a bit pricey, at half the cost of the insurance ($46.50 extra for a $93 plan).

Reimburses up to $1,000 for lost baggage , far more than many basic plans.

Add-on rental car coverage for $9 per day.

At $88, John Hancock’s basic (Bronze) plan isn’t particularly affordable. But for just $4 extra, you can tap into the benefits of a mid-tier plan at still less than 5% of the total trip cost.

5. Nationwide (Essential plan: $76)

travel medical insurance kaiser

Includes a preexisting conditions waiver.

Add-on rental car coverage for $90. 

Covers trip interruption at 125% of the trip cost while providing comprehensive emergency medical and baggage coverage.

6. Seven Corners (Basic plan: $75)

travel medical insurance kaiser

On top of standard trip protections, it includes a relatively affordable Cancel For Any Reason option for $31.50 extra.

If you plan to rent expensive sporting equipment, you might consider paying $10 extra to cover lost, damaged, stolen or destroyed gear.

COVID-19 coverage reimburses you for costs incurred if you have to quarantine .

Rental car coverage comes in at an affordable $7 per day.

Seven Corners’ Basic plan stands out because it offers a little bit of everything, appealing to athletic travelers, those who need affordable trip protections, those who want the flexibility to cancel for any reason and those still concerned about getting quarantined due to COVID-19.

7. Travelex Insurance Services (Basic plan: $71)

travel medical insurance kaiser

Straightforward: What you see is what you get. This plan’s coverage has fewer rules and caveats than many. 

While not sporting the highest coverage amounts, it offers a solid range of protections to ensure you get at least something back when your travel is disrupted or you have a medical emergency.

Offers add-on rental car coverage for $10 per day.

At $71, the Travelex Basic plan’s cost is just over 3% of the $2,000 trip’s cost.

If you want to get travel insurance at the cheapest possible rate, here’s a trick. Put $0 as your trip cost, Stan Stanberg, co-founder of comparison site said in an email.

“When excluding trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage the cost of a travel insurance plan goes down significantly,” Stanberg said.

That means you won’t get reimbursed if you need to cancel your trip or if it gets interrupted. But you may still have access to the plan’s medical, trip delay , missed connection, baggage and other protections.

You’ll often find comprehensive travel insurance plans cost 5%-10% of your total trip cost, according to Squaremouth. This will often get you full trip cancellation and trip protection, baggage protection, emergency medical coverage and often other benefits.

Typically, the more you pay, the broader and deeper the coverage.

For many plans, you can purchase travel insurance up until you depart. However, to get access to the most protections possible, booking two days to two weeks after making your initial deposit is the best rule of thumb.

That means you won’t get reimbursed if you need to cancel your trip or if it gets interrupted. But you may still have access to the plan’s medical,

, missed connection, baggage and other protections.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are some of the best travel credit cards of 2024 :

Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express

Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card

on Chase's website

1x-10x Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

60,000 Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

1x-5x 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases.

60,000 Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

1x-2x Earn 2X points on Southwest® purchases. Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare. Earn 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services, and select streaming. Earn 1X points on all other purchases.

50,000 Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

travel medical insurance kaiser

CHAS Health

  • Insurance & Payment

We welcome everyone.

Always have, always will..

Schedule an appointment:

509.444.8200  |  208.848.8300

CHAS Health is a non-profit, federally qualified health center (FQHC) providing high-quality medical, dental, pharmacy, and behavioral health services to families and individuals of all ages, regardless of insurance status or ability to pay.

Below is a list of insurance plans we accept as well as information about our sliding fee discount program. For more information, please visit our  Sliding Fee Discount Program & Good Faith Estimates  page.

Medicaid Plans

Washington state, washington apple health, including apple health plans.

  • Community Health Plan of Washington
  • Coordinated Care Corporation
  • Molina Healthcare of Washington
  • Wellpoint Washington ( formerly Amerigroup Washington )

Seeing CHAS Health for Primary Care Services?

Let your Apple Health plan know that we are your PCP. Give them a call, or we can help you submit a form to your plan

  • Idaho Medicaid*

* Once determined eligible for Idaho Medicaid, you need to choose your Healthy Connections Primary Care Provider (PCP) within 90 days. This provider will be your medical home, understand your health needs, and help you get the care that is right for you. Choose your PCP via  or visit your friendly local Patient Resources Coordinator who can help you make your selection.

Medicare Plans

  • Original Medicare
  • Aetna Medicare Advantage
  • Asuris TruAdvantage
  • Community Health Plan of Washington Medicare Advantage
  • Humana Medicare Advantage plans
  • Molina Medicare Advantage Plans
  • PacificSource Medicare Advantage
  • Premera Medicare Advantage
  • Regence Medicare Advantage
  • Tru Blue and Secure Blue (Blue Cross of Idaho)
  • United Healthcare Medicare Advantage (including AARP Medicare Complete)
  • Wellpoint Medicare Advantage ( formerly Amerivantage )

CHAS Health is not contracted with Kaiser Permanente Medicare Advantage plans or Wellcare Medicare Advantage Plans.

Qualified Health Plans

Plans purchased on state health insurance exchanges for washington and idaho.

  • Blue Cross of Idaho
  • Bridgespan (RealVaue network)
  • Molina Marketplace
  • Mountain Health Co-Op
  • PacificSource (ID & WA)

Private Insurance

CHAS Health is contracted with many private insurance companies. Please contact your insurance company to find out if CHAS Health and/or your provider is in-network.

CHAS Health is not contracted with Kaiser Permanente Core plan

CHAS Health can see Veterans for primary care with prior authorization through the VA Community Care Network (CCN). Our two Spokane Urgent Care locations can see veterans for urgent care needs without prior authorization.

Dental Plans

  • Medicaid (WA and ID)
  • Delta Dental – PPO and Premier (Includes Community Health Plan of WA and Molina Medicare Advantage plans with dental). (Not contracted with DeltaCare)
  • Early Intervention Program (EIP)
  • Premera Dental (Includes Lifewise Dental)
  • Regence Dental (Idaho only)
  • United Concordia Dental (Tricare/DoD and commercial plans)
  • United Healthcare / Dental Benefit Providers (Includes Medicare Advantage, commercial plans, and Pacific Life Dental)

Enrollment Assistance

For assistance in enrolling in services at CHAS Health, visit our enrollment assistance page.

In this section

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CHAS Health Annual Report

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Do I need travel insurance for my summer vacation? It's complicated.

  • Travel insurance can be complicated, but it's worth it if you have travel expenses that insurance would cover.
  • You might not need travel insurance if you're taking a driving vacation and staying in a place where lodging is free.
  • If you're leaving the country, you'll likely need travel insurance.

Get more news like this delivered to your inbox by signing up for our Travel newsletter here .

If you're planning to travel somewhere this summer, you're probably thinking of buying travel insurance.

Kingsley Hopkins is. He's headed to Portugal and Iceland with his girlfriend, and he wants to make sure he's covered for things like medical emergencies or trip disruptions, "or if a volcano erupts," he said.

Check out   Elliott Confidential , the newsletter the travel industry doesn't want you to read. Each issue is filled with breaking news, deep insights, and exclusive strategies for becoming a better traveler. But don't tell anyone!

But getting the right travel insurance can be complicated. There's no one-size-fits-all policy, and Hopkins, an assistant editor at a book publishing company in New York, has been spending a lot of time thinking about how to protect his summer vacation.

Learn more: Best travel insurance

Chances are, so have you.

Why finding the right travel insurance is so hard

Most surveys suggest this will be a record summer for travel. How much of a record? Demand is so high that some airlines are afraid they will run out of planes. Now that's busy.

At the same time, danger and uncertainty are lurking everywhere – wars in Europe and the Middle East, the usual slate of natural disasters like hurricanes and maybe a volcano or two. It's no wonder people are giving some serious thought to insurance. 

Older travelers are particularly worried. And they should be, said PK Rao, CEO of INF Visitor Care . Claims by travelers over age 50 spike during the summer months.

Warning: American tourists are being profiled. Don't be one of them.

Try this pro trick for an affordable and stress-free summer vacation

"According to our claim data, medical emergencies tend to uptick during the summer, especially for those going on trips that involve outdoor activities," he said.

But there are so many choices out there, including credit card coverage, medical evacuation membership programs and stand-alone travel insurance. What should you get?

You need peace of mind 

But don't just reflexively start shopping for a travel insurance policy this summer. Instead, look for peace of mind – knowing that if something goes wrong, you'll be taken care of.

"Knowing you're protected from unforeseen travel mishaps – like delays, lost baggage and even medical emergencies – can make the trip that much more enjoyable,” said Daniel Durazo, a spokesman for Allianz Partners USA .

As it turns out, there are several ways to get the peace of mind you need. And there are times when you can safely skip travel insurance.

This is when you don't need insurance

Here's when you can skip travel insurance, according to experts:

◾ If you already have coverage. "You may already have travel coverage through your benefits at work, your credit card, or through group benefits with an organization," said Jiten Puri, CEO of If you do, there's no need to buy more coverage. You're all set.

◾ If you're not traveling far. If you're taking a driving vacation and staying in a place where lodging is free, like a relative's sofa, then there's not much to insure. "If you already have health insurance, it may cover you for a domestic trip, so you don't need to think about health insurance coverage," said Joe Cronin, CEO of International Citizens Insurance .

◾ If your trip isn't insurable. Traditional travel insurance covers conventional trips with prepaid, nonrefundable components like airline tickets and hotel stays. You might find that you either already have coverage through your medical insurance, or the trip is essentially uninsurable.

So think twice before saying "yes" to optional travel insurance that your online travel agency may offer you when you're booking a trip. You might not need it.

Here's when you need travel insurance

But most travelers should consider some kind of travel insurance coverage this summer. Here's when you need the extra coverage:

◾ If you have travel expenses that insurance would cover. "If you have many prepaid, nonrefundable expenses, it's best to take out travel insurance," said Lauren Gumport, a spokeswoman for Faye Travel Insurance ."This includes things like flights, hotel rooms, tickets and activities." The more conventional your vacation, the likelier travel insurance is to cover almost every aspect of your summer vacation.

◾ If you're leaving the country. "Your regular medical insurance might not extend coverage beyond your home borders," said John Rose, chief risk and security officer at ALTOUR . Also, many countries require travel insurance for entrance. They include Bermuda, Qatar, Sri Lanka, and some European countries.

◾ If you can't afford to lose your trip. "When considering travel insurance for your summer trip, evaluate whether you can afford to lose your vacation investment due to unforeseen circumstances like illness, weather disruptions, or emergencies," explained Robert Gallagher, president of the US Travel Insurance Association (USTIA). "Can you afford the financial risk if you miss your cruise departure because of covered flight delays? What if you have to cut your trip short because of illness?"  

One of the most common mistakes travelers make is assuming their credit card will cover them. For example, I found that my credit card only covered my rental car as secondary insurance, which made it completely useless when I rented a car in Tampa recently. I had to buy a standalone policy from Allianz to cover the vehicle.

Should you repeat your vacation? Let's settle this once and for all.

Junk fees: Travelers are drowning in junk fees during the summer of surcharges

How one traveler insured his summer vacation

So, how did Hopkins handle his travel insurance needs? Well, as I mentioned – it's complicated.

Hopkins said he always buys some travel insurance before he takes a trip, "but how much, and what I cover, varies," he explained.

He decided that his path to peace of mind in this case was to spend a few extra dollars: He made fully refundable flight and hotel reservations, just in case something went wrong. That would eliminate a lengthy claim with his travel insurance company or credit card.

But he still needed at least $50,000 in medical coverage with emergency evacuation because of his active schedule.

"We’re going to be doing a lot of hiking in Iceland," he said. "And you just never know." 

At the beginning of the year, he decided to buy an annual Medjet Horizon plan, a membership that would get him from a hospital in Portugal or Iceland to a hospital at home, in case something happened. 

For insurance, Hopkins checked to find an affordable travel insurance policy. He found coverage through Trawick International that pays up to $50,000 in medical expenses and up to $200,000 for an evacuation.

"I’ve heard good things about them," he said. "Hopefully, we won’t need any of it."

How do I insure my trips?

I'm on the road about 360 days a year, so I'm always thinking about peace of mind. I currently use a Wells Fargo credit card with lots of travel benefits, and I have long-term policies through Faye and Cigna, which have worked fairly well. I also am a long-time Medjet Horizon member. If I rent a car, I turn to Allianz for my primary coverage.

I know – that's a lot of peace of mind. 

But I've also run into trouble and had to use many of those benefits. Medjet got me back home during the pandemic. Cigna covered me after a serious ski accident in Switzerland. My old Allianz policy took care of my medical expenses when I had to see a doctor in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a few years ago.

Like I always say, when it comes to having enough insurance, better safe than sorry.

Christopher Elliott  is an author, consumer advocate, and journalist. He founded  Elliott Advocacy , a nonprofit organization that helps solve consumer problems. He publishes  Elliott Confidential , a travel newsletter, and the  Elliott Report , a news site about customer service. If you need help with a consumer problem, you can  reach him here  or email him at  [email protected] .

The Key Points at the top of this article were created with the assistance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and reviewed by a journalist before publication. No other parts of the article were generated using AI. Learn more .

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Orbán's Moscow visit was 'an appeasement mission,' says von der Leyen

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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's visit to Moscow was "nothing more than an appeasement mission," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a speech on Thursday.

"Two weeks ago, a European Union prime minister went to Moscow. This so-called peace mission was nothing but an appeasement mission," von der Leyen told the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France.

Orbán met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow earlier this month as part of what Orbán called a "peace mission" to find a way to end the war in Ukraine.

"Only two days later, Putin's jets aimed their missiles at a children's hospital and maternity ward in Kiev," von der Leyen said. "That strike was not a mistake. It was a message, a chilling message from the Kremlin to all of us."

"Our answer has to be just as clear: No one wants peace more than the people of Ukraine, a just and lasting peace for a free and independent country."

Orbán's Moscow trip coincided with Hungary taking over the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union, wherein EU member states take turns to chair discussions among themselves for six months at a time.

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Same-Sex Couples in South Korea Win Landmark Rights Ruling

The country’s Supreme Court said same-sex couples qualify for dependent coverage under the national health insurance, a decision that could have wider ramifications.

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By Choe Sang-Hun

Reporting from Seoul

In a landmark ruling for gay rights in South Korea on Thursday, the country’s Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples qualify for the national health insurance’s dependent coverage, a decision that rights activists hoped could pave the way for legalizing same-sex marriage in the country.

The decision would allow same-sex couples in the country to register their partners as dependents in national health insurance coverage, as married couples or couples in a common-law marriage can. Numerous other benefits are denied to same-sex and other couples living outside the traditional norms of family in South Korea.

In its ruling on Thursday, the country’s highest court ruled that denying a same-sex couple national health insurance dependent coverage “just because they are of the same sex” constitutes a serious discrimination that infringed upon citizens’ “dignity and values, their rights to pursue happiness, their freedom of privacy and their rights to be equally treated by the law.”

The plaintiff, So Seong-wook, filed the legal complaint in 2021. Mr. So wanted to register in the national health insurance program as a dependent of his partner, Kim Yong-min, arguing that their union should be treated as a common-law marriage. But South Korea’s health insurance service rejected his request and told him to pay a separate monthly insurance premium — a decision later affirmed by a district court.

But in February last year, an appeals court overturned the lower-court ruling. It said that although Mr. Kim and Mr. So’s union could not be considered a common-law marriage under South Korean laws, they should still qualify for the national health insurance’s dependent coverage.

In its final say on the case on Thursday, the Supreme Court endorsed the appeals court ruling. It said that same-sex couples formed an “economic cohabitation tantamount to” married and common-law couples.

“I hope today’s ruling will serve as a steppingstone toward enabling sexual minorities to gain equality in the system of marriage,” Mr. So said in a news conference on Thursday.

Mr. Kim said while he describes himself as Mr. So’s “husband” and “companion,” he has never been able to enjoy those titles legally in South Korea.

“I am so happy that the court recognized some of that today,” he said.

Borang Jang, an East Asia researcher at Amnesty International, the rights group, described the ruling as historic.

“The court has taken a significant step towards dismantling systemic discrimination and ensuring inclusivity for all,” she said in a statement . “The case itself is a sobering reminder of the lengthy judicial processes that same-sex couples must endure to secure basic rights that should be universally guaranteed.”

There is no official data on how many people live together in same-sex unions in the country. But between 2016 and 2022, the number of people who live together in “non-kin households” — people living together outside legal marriage — doubled to 1 million, according to government data.

Conservative Christians in South Korea have long campaigned against legalizing same-sex marriage or introducing an anti-discrimination law that protects people of any gender, age, sexual identity or physical ability. But attitudes are changing. At the turn of the century, only 17 percent of South Koreans were in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage, according to Gallup Korea, a survey company. By May of last year, that figure had grown to 40 percent.

Choe Sang-Hun is the lead reporter for The Times in Seoul, covering South and North Korea. More about Choe Sang-Hun

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Mass IT outage: here's a list of companies and operations affected

  • A huge global IT outage is disrupting flights, banks, retailers, and media outlets.
  • The widespread disruptions have been linked to an issue with the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike.
  • Operations affected include airlines in the US and Europe, supermarkets, and some 911 lines.

Insider Today

A mass IT outage has hit flights, banks, retailers, and media outlets around the world.

The issues appear to be linked to the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike .

Microsoft also acknowledged the issue in an X update early Friday, writing, "Our services are still seeing continuous improvements while we continue to take mitigation actions."

Here are some of the companies and operations affected.

Numerous airlines grounded flights early Friday morning, including the big three US carriers: United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and American Airlines. In statements, they all cited technology issues.

Delta and American had both canceled their ground stops by 7 a.m. ET.

A United spokesperson told Business Insider that it was holding all aircraft at their departure airports while it works to restore systems. "Flights already airborne are continuing to their destinations," they added.

American has blamed the issues on CrowdStrike, saying they were because of a "technical issue with Crowdstrike that is impacting multiple carriers," according to BBC News.

The budget airlines Frontier, Allegiant, and Spirit also issued ground stops which were later canceled.

Frontier's was issued on Thursday night. "Flight operations are currently being impacted by a major Microsoft technical outage," it said in a statement.

Spirit said it was unable to rebook affected customers because of the outage.

Disruption also extended to Europe. The continent's largest airline, Ryanair, advised passengers to arrive early as the outage caused "disruption across the network."

KLM also said it had to "largely suspend operations" as the outage made "flight handling impossible."

British Airways, Wizz Air, Turkish Airlines, Eurowings, Lufthansa, and Qantas were also among those who said they were affected.

According to a Facebook post from Alaska State Troopers , emergency lines in the state are also affected.

The post said: "Due to a nationwide technology-related outage, many 911 and non-emergency call centers are not working correctly across the State of Alaska."

"We appreciate your patience and will update you when we know more," the statement added.

The major UK airports Heathrow, Gatwick, and Luton have reported issues, with some warning of delays and disruption.

Related stories

An X post from Gatwick Express , a train service for the airport, said the company was unable to access driver diagrams at certain locations, "leading to potential short-notice cancelations, particularly on the Thameslink and Great Northern networks."

A spokesperson for Belfast International Airport confirmed to BI that whiteboards were being used to handwrite flight information before systems were later restored. Whiteboards were also used at Singapore Changi Airport.

Hospitals and doctors' surgeries

Several hospitals and doctors' practices appear to have been affected by the outage.

In the UK, the NHS' EMIS system, which doctors use to book appointments, view patient notes, order prescriptions, and make referrals, appears to be having issues .

A spokesperson for the NHS told BI in a statement: "The NHS is aware of a global IT outage and an issue with EMIS, an appointment and patient record system, which is causing disruption in the majority of GP practices."

They said that long-standing measures were in place to manage disruption and that there was no known impact on 999 or emergency services, so people should use these services as normal.

"Patients should attend appointments unless told otherwise and only contact their GP if it's urgent, and otherwise please use 111 online or call 111," they added.

Two German hospitals canceled elective operations scheduled for Friday, Reuters reported.

NYCT Subway

Commuters in New York City and DC may also face delays Friday morning.

In an X post, the NYCT subway said: "Train arrival information is unavailable for A/B/C/D/E/F/G/J/M/N/Q/R/Z/Rockaway Park Shuttle/Franklin Av Shuttle due to a worldwide technical outage. Train service is unaffected."

The post said the tech outage also impacted Subway officials' ability to see train locations.


Sky News also appears to have been hit by the outage. The UK news channel has been showing archive footage and briefly displaying an error message.

The news site appears to be up and running at the time of writing.

London Stock Exchange

The London Stock Exchange's website was also experiencing issues.

"RNS news service is currently experiencing a third-party global technical issue, preventing news from being published on ," the company said in a statement.

"Technical teams are working to restore the service. Other services across the group, including London Stock Exchange, continue to operate as normal," it continued.

Retailers and fast-food giants

Bloomberg reported that McDonald's Japan suspended about a third of its stores in the country on Friday. The issue was with the stores' cash registers, the report said.

The grocery-store chain Woolworths told BI that some stores had "been impacted as a result of the global IT issue." All but six stores were open for business, but some had fewer functioning checkouts.

Delivery delays

FedEx and UPS are warning of delivery delays because of the outage.

In a statement on the company's website , FedEx said it was experiencing "substantial disruptions throughout our networks due to a global IT outage experienced by a third-party software vendor." The company said parcels due to be delivered on Friday might face delays.

A UPS spokesperson told BI that it continues to operate effectively but there may be some service delays due to third-party outage "impacting some UPS computer systems in the U.S. and Europe."

Some US state driver services are down

Drivers in some states are unable to access services because of the outage.

Georgia's Department of Driver Services posted on X that "due to the global Microsoft/Crowdstrike outage, DDS services are unavailable at this time."

Tennessee's Department of Safety and Homeland Security said some Driver Services Centers may not be able to process transactions, according to a post on X.

North Carolina's Department of Motor Vehicles driver license and plate agencies are also impacted and unable to assist customers, according to a CNN report.

Bloomberg reported that at the Ocean Park Marriott in Hong Kong, staff were using pen and paper to check guests in and said the outage was affecting their systems globally.

Marriott International later told CNN in a statement that "certain hotel systems" have been affected.

"We are actively working with our vendors to resolve issues that have impacted certain hotel systems," the company said in a statement to the publication. "We apologize for any inconvenience that guests may experience."

Watch: Global computer glitch grounds flights, knocks out 911

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