San Francisco in detail

Health & insurance

Before You Go

Health Insurance

Make sure your health-insurance policy covers travel to California. If it does not, consider a travel-insurance policy that covers emergency medical services.

In San Francisco

Tap Water

The city's tap water is not only drinkable but of excellent quality: it's straight from Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in the High Sierra mountains of Yosemite National Park.

Medical Services

Before traveling, contact your health-insurance provider to learn what medical care they will cover outside your hometown (or home country). Overseas visitors should acquire travel insurance that covers medical situations in the US, where nonemergency care for uninsured patients can be very expensive.

For nonemergency appointments at hospitals, you'll need proof of insurance, or credit card or cash. Even with insurance, you'll most likely have to pay up front for nonemergency care and then wrangle afterward with your insurance company to get reimbursed. San Francisco has excellent medical facilities, plus alternative medical practices and herbal apothecaries.

University of California San Francisco Medical Center ER at leading university hospital.

San Francisco General Hospital Best ER for serious trauma.


San Francisco City Clinic Low-cost services including emergency contraception (Plan B), transhealth, post-exposure and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PEP and PrEP) for HIV, and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Strut Health and wellness services including PrEP, counseling, substance abuse treatment, and support services for LGBT community from the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.

Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic Free and low-cost services, including substance abuse treatment and harm reduction.

Health & Support Services

Lyon-Martin Women's Health Services ( Health and support services for women, lesbians and the trans community.

Drug & Alcohol Emergency Info Line Crisis line for prevention of suicide and overdoses.

Trauma Recovery & Rape Treatment Center Facilitates dealing with services, advocacy and outreach.