Does Medicare Cover International Travel?

Does Medicare Cover International Travel?

"If you are someone who enjoys international travel, you may ask "Do Medigap Plans Cover Foreign Travel? This is a good and important question to ask, particularly because the coverage of Medicare is restricted to very specific/unique circumstances in foreign countries.


Coverage of Medicare within the United States and its territories


If you have Original Medicare for example, not an Advantage plan, you will have coverage throughout the United States and its territories, including Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands without interruption.


Foreign travel coverage from Medicare outside the United States


There is no coverage for any healthcare expenses if you plan to travel abroad and you only have Original Medicare. For all the expenses, you will be liable. Thus, before you leave the U.S., it will be wise for you to consider having travel insurance. Travel insurance is relatively affordable, starting at as little as $18. Be sure that the coverage you chose involves medical emergencies, as well as missing baggage, etc That said in a foreign country, there are some special cases where Medicare covers you:

Travel is considered to be domestic travel on a cruise ship based 6 hours or less from a U.S. port;

You will be able to be treated at a hospital in Canada if you are traveling through Canada on your way back from Alaska;

If you have a medical emergency in the U.S., however, if a foreign hospital happens to be closer to you, then you can visit a foreign hospital without a charge.

You can visit a foreign hospital without any charge if you have a medical emergency if you live closer to that hospital than a hospital in the U.S.;

For any of the exemptions above, the whole hospital stay would be covered. In addition, your emergency room stay will also be compensated if you are not admitted to the hospital. Be mindful that when you return to the U.S., only your medical emergency services will be covered, not any medical transportation expenses or follow-up care.

So what are the international coverage options for Medigap plans?



Foreign Travel International Medigap Coverage (outside of the U.S. and its territories)

A "foreign travel emergency" advantage is included in many of the Medigap plans. The following are covered in Medigap Plans C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, M, or N:

 Emergency treatment for international travel if it begins within the first 60 days of travel, provided Medicare does not otherwise cover it.

 The coverage covers 80% of the premiums paid for medically required emergency treatment in the U.S. until a $250 annual premium is met.

 A lifetime limit of $50,000 exists.

 While Medigap plans E, H, I, and J are no longer eligible, you will still have the foreign travel advantage as mentioned above if you were enrolled in them prior to 1 June 2010.

It is recommended that there are other choices for health insurance outside the U.S. if you plan to travel abroad for some extended period of time. This form of healthcare coverage is called "expatriate insurance." However, for all countries, it is not normal and the benefits may not be the same for each country. But to verify what coverage is included, make sure you consult with your Medigap insurance provider and/or your insurance agent before you schedule that ride. 



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