If you are wondering if Medicare will cover you when you travel abroad, you came to the right place. Medicare will cover your medical services within the United States and its territories. While it is excellent that Medicare covers services within the U.S. and its territories, what about abroad? Say you are looking to make great use of your passport and book that trip to Italy you have been thinking about, but you aren’t sure how Medicare would cover you if an emergency were to occur. Let’s discuss Medicare coverage in foreign countries.

Will Medicare Cover Me Abroad?

Medicare does not typically cover your medical services while traveling abroad. The only instances where Medicare will pay for a doctor, ambulance, inpatient hospital, or dialysis in another country is if:

  • If a health emergency occurs in the U.S., but the closest hospital is in another country.
  • If you are traveling the route between Alaska and the U.S. and are in Canada, an emergency occurs.
  • If you are in the U.S. and a hospital in another country is closer to treat you than a U.S. hospital.

If any of the above were to happen, you will have to pay a 20% coinsurance of your approved medical costs. Say you are on a cruise in another country, Medicare might be able to cover you if the ship’s doctor provides medical services and you are within six hours of any U.S. port. The cases listed above mean that Medicare will likely cover your services under Medicare Part A or Part B.

If an emergency were to occur while traveling internationally, make sure you save the itemized medical bills. Hospitals in other countries sometimes do not file a claim, so you will have to submit these itemized bills to Medicare once you return home.

Suppose you are looking for coverage that is not limited when you travel internationally. In that case, you can always purchase a travel insurance policy from a travel agent.

Supplemental Medigap Policies to Cover You

If you you are looking for additional coverage to work alongside Medicare, you could consider a Medigap plan. A Medigap policy can help cover emergencies or medical care abroad. Medigap policies C, D, F, G, M, and N, cover emergency or medical care abroad. If you were to have an emergency, you will pay a $250 deductible and 20% coinsurance of the cost of the medical bill you receive. There is a $50,000 lifetime maximum with this and this only applies if the medical services were performed within the first 60 days of your travel.

Do Medicare Advantage Plans Cover You?

There are some Medicare Advantage plans that will cover your medical care when traveling abroad. Depending on the Medicare Advantage plan, you might have an emergency travel benefit built-in your plan. Some Medicare Advantage plans will cover you when you are outside of your service area but will come with a heftier price tag on copayments and coinsurances. Contact a Medicare specialist to find out what plan you may be able to take with you on your travel abroad.

Conclusion

Medicare does not typically cover your medical services while traveling abroad. The only time Medicare will cover your travel abroad is if one of the three situations above happens. A way you could get around this is if you were to have either Medigap Plan C, D, F, G, M, or N. If you were to have a Medicare Advantage plan, you will want to find out if your plan offers any emergency travel benefits or if will cover you when you are outside your service area.

Safe travels!

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