Travel

Will Medicare Cover Me Outside the U.S.?

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Are you traveling outside of the U.S.? Perhaps you are interested in spending a few months in a country abroad with all your free time in retirement. You may be wondering if Medicare will cover you outside of the U.S. The answer is that the coverage of care when you’re traveling outside of the U.S. depends on where you’re going and how you currently receive your Medicare benefits.

If you’re new to Medicare, you may be discovering that there are lots of costs. To learn more about Medicare costs, you can read more here: boomerbenefits.com/new-to-medicare/medicare-cost/.

Traveling outside the U.S.

If you’re traveling outside of the U.S. and U.S. territories, Medicare usually will not cover medical care. Original Medicare cover you when traveling abroad in certain situations, for example:

  • If you’re traveling between Alaska and another state, the closest hospital to treat you is in Canada. Medicare may cover the emergency services provided in this instance.
  • If you’re on a cruise ship and receive medical care while the ship is within U.S. territorial waters. If the ship is within 6 hours of arriving or departing from a U.S. port.
  • Medicare may also pay for inpatient services considered non-emergency in another country’s hospital in limited situations. For example, if your residence is closer to that hospital than the nearest U.S. hospital. This situation may occur if you live close to Mexico or Canada’s border.

Some Medigap policies will provide coverage for traveling abroad. For example, Plans C, D, F, G, M, and N will cover 80% of your costs of abroad emergency care. For specific coverage rules, you can check with your policy.

Medicare Advantage plans offer worldwide emergency coverage. You can contact your plan’s provider for costs, coverage information, and rules.

Traveling inside the U.S.

If you are on Original Medicare, you will have Medicare coverage anywhere in the United States and U.S. territories. This is within all 50 states and U.S. territories like Puerto Rico, Guam, Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and District of Columbia. Most hospitals and doctors in these areas will accept Original Medicare.

If you are on a Medicare Advantage plan, your plan may or may not be covered outside your service area. Some plans cover when providers are out-of-network but will give you a higher copayment or coinsurance charge. However, Medicare Advantage plans are required to cover urgent care and emergencies anywhere within the U.S. without coverage rules or additional cost. It is best to contact your plan’s provider to see what rules and costs apply when traveling.

Conclusion

Traveling with Medicare inside the United States and outside the United States is very different. If you’re traveling abroad, you should plan to have some additional coverage. Medicare generally does not cover medical care when you’re outside of the U.S. It will only cover certain situations that are pretty rare to come by. Certain Medigap policies will provide coverage when traveling outside the U.S.

Medigap plans C – G, M, & N, cover 80% of your emergency care costs when traveling abroad. Medicare Advantage plans also offer emergency care abroad. To learn more about coverage rules, you can contact either your Medigap or Medicare Advantage plan’s providers to discuss.

You’ll have Medicare coverage anywhere in the United States and in its territories. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you may or may not be covered outside of the service area when traveling within the U.S.

It’s best to call your service provider before you go on any trip and cover you while traveling.

Mack Dawid
the authorMack Dawid