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Does Medicare Cover you While Traveling?

If you are traveling to another state and are a Medicare beneficiary with Medicare Part A and Part B, you are able to travel throughout the United States and still be covered for health care. However, the hospital or doctor must accept Medicare.

Additionally, if you are traveling to any of the U.S. territories such as Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands, you are covered for health care through Medicare.

What will Medicare Cover Outside of the United States?

When traveling to any of the 50 U.S. states, or any of its territories, health care for beneficiaries is covered. However, once a Medicare beneficiary leaves the United States, and its territories, Medicare coverage is limited and has many stipulations.

If you are traveling to a foreign country, here are some instances where Medicare may pay for health care, such as ambulance services, doctor visits, inpatient hospital care, or dialysis.

Health care is covered through Medicare if a beneficiary lives in the U.S., has a health care emergency, but the nearest hospital is a foreign one. Medicare will cover because the U.S. hospital was further away.

On a case-by-case basis, health care is covered while in Canada if a Medicare beneficiary has a health care emergency while en route (without reasonable delay) to a place between Alaska and another US state, and the closest hospital is a foreign one.

Health care is covered if you are on a cruise ship and fall ill. However, the ship needs to be in U.S. waters, or within six hours of a U.S. port. It doesn’t matter if the ship is arriving or departing the port.

What does Medigap Cover Inside of the United States?

If you are traveling within the U.S. or any of its territories, Medicare supplement insurance, otherwise known as Medigap, will cover parts of your health care that Original Medicare Part A won’t, such as deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments.

Note: In order to qualify for Medigap, a Medicare beneficiary must already have Medicare Part A and Part B.

What does Medigap Cover Outside of the United States?

The standard health care plans for Medicare supplement insurance are C, D, F, G, and M. However, if you are traveling in a foreign country, and need emergency health care, Medigap plans E, N, H, I, and J are the ones that are for foreign travel medical emergencies.

If you are outside of the United States, the benefits of these plans:

  1. Cover the first 60 days of your foreign trip if:
  • A medical emergency occurs.
  • Medicare doesn’t cover the needed care.

If these two situations occur, then foreign emergency care is covered through the plans.

  1. Cover 80% of charges for certain types of emergencies that are deemed necessary outside the United States. However, a $250 deductible must have been met for the year.

Note: These policies have a lifetime limit of $50,000 of foreign travel emergency coverage.

Best Practices for Traveling and Your Health Care

With Medicare being limited outside of the United States of America, best practices are always to buy a travel insurance policy package to get more health care coverage abroad. More times than not, when you buy a ticket to travel to a foreign country, the travel agent, or the website you are purchasing this package from usually offers some form of travel insurance that includes health insurance. Remember, travel insurance doesn’t automatically include health insurance. It is very important to read the agreement before you buy to make sure you are buying the extra insurance you intended.

To learn more about traveling inside and outside of the country with Medicare, contact the professionals at (844) 374-1950. Our licensed insurance experts will be happy to answer any questions you have.