Does Medicare Cover Traveling Medical Expenses?


Traveling is a dream come true for many, especially as they enter retirement. However, for Medicare beneficiaries, it’s fundamental to understand the extent of their healthcare coverage while exploring new destinations.

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This article explores the ins and outs of traveling with Medicare, examining the coverage provided, and offering authoritative tips to ensure beneficiaries have the necessary protection during their travels.

Medicare Coverage Within the United States

When traveling within the United States, including its territories (Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands), Medicare coverage remains largely unchanged. 

Beneficiaries can expect the same coverage for hospital stays, doctor visits, and other medical services as they would in their home state. 

However, it’s fundamental to ascertain that providers are participating in Medicare, as some may be out-of-network, potentially incurring higher out-of-pocket costs.

Medicare Coverage Outside the United States

Generally, Medicare does not cover healthcare services outside the United States and its territories. However, there are limited exceptions:

  • If you’re in the U.S. when an emergency occurs, and the nearest hospital that can treat your condition is in a foreign country.
  • If you’re traveling between Alaska and another state when an emergency occurs, and a Canadian hospital is closer than the nearest U.S. hospital.
  • If you live near a foreign country, and a foreign hospital is closer to your home than the nearest U.S. hospital that can treat your condition, regardless of whether an emergency exists.

In any of the cases above, Medicare may cover medically necessary services, provided the hospital participates in Medicare.

Benefits of Medigap as Additional Coverage Options

Medigap, or Medicare Supplement Insurance, is designed to cover some of the out-of-pocket costs not covered by Original Medicare (Parts A and Part B). 

Some Medigap policies provide coverage for emergency medical care during foreign travel. Typically, these policies cover 80% of the billed charges for certain medically necessary emergency care outside the U.S. after meeting a deductible. 

However, the coverage is usually limited to the first 60 days of travel, and there’s a lifetime limit on benefits.

Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans are offered by private insurance companies and cover the same services as Original Medicare but may have different rules, costs, and restrictions. 

Some Medicare Advantage plans offer coverage for emergency care while traveling abroad. It’s essential to review your specific plan for details on international coverage, as it can vary from one plan to another.

Choose A Travel Medical Insurance

For Medicare beneficiaries planning to travel outside the U.S., it is important to secure travel medical insurance for additional protection. 

These policies cover emergency medical care, medical evacuation, and repatriation expenses not covered by Medicare or other insurance plans. 

More importantly, it’s crucial to compare different travel medical insurance plans, as coverage and costs can vary significantly.

Secure Now

Looking to secure travel medical insurance in order to avoid unexpected expenses and ensure proper healthcare access, contact MedicareOnVideo as we are an independent broker helping seniors as regards medicare plans and policies.

In order to know if your trip is captured under Medicare or not, watch our deep insight video titled – “Traveling With Medicare – Are You Covered?”

You can contact us directly via 1-877-855-3484, as well as get our free ebook on Medicare titled “Medicare Made CLEAR,” which is embedded with up-to-date information on all areas of Medicare coverage.

Wishing you a smooth-sailing trip always!!!

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