Information for Thalassemia Visitors to the U.S.

Individuals with thalassemia who live in countries other than the United States and are planning to visit the United States should be aware that the health care delivery system in the United States may differ significantly from that of their native countries.

In particular, in the United States health care is not provided free of charge as it is in some other countries. Visitors with thalassemia will need adequate health insurance, as well as verification of such coverage, if they wish to receive non-emergency medical treatments, such as their regular blood transfusions or chelation therapy.

The Thalassaemia International Federation (TIF) issues the following recommendations to individuals with thalassemia who are intending to travel to another country:

  1. To have their last blood transfusion session as close to their departure date as possible;
  2. To secure enough quantities for their iron chelation therapy and other medicines to cover their needs for at least a month;
  3. To have a copy of their medical file from their treating physician with all relevant information (hematological and other tests etc) for at least the last six months, in order to ensure as much as possible continuity of treatment;
  4. To state to TIF the institution, city and country they would travel to.
  5. To furnish to TIF the name and contact details of the National Thalassaemia Association of the country, if available.

When TIF receives the information on the institution/city/country, TIF then:

  1. Informs the National Thalassaemia Association (member of the TIF family) in the respective country requesting to facilitate the patient, to whom we furnish full contact details and focal person. In addition, TIF will also seek to find out the costs regarding blood transfusion and iron chelation therapies and whether these costs are covered by the national health service of the country in question;
  2. Informs a medical professional that closely collaborates with TIF and (if not him/her being a thalassaemia-treating physician) to identify a medical professional that may be able to assist the patient, when the need arises.
  3. Identifies the nearest Thalassaemia centre and/or hospital to which the patient can seek medical assistance and the name of a focal person if available.

When possible, the Cooley’s Anemia Foundation ( is happy to provide visitors from other countries with contact information for thalassemia treatment centers in the United States; however, the Foundation regrets that it is unable to provide financial assistance for visitors who do not have adequate and acceptable health insurance coverage in the United States.

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