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What Medicare Plans Cover Foreign Travel


Whether you plan on traveling within the United States or abroad, it’s essential to know just how far your Medicare coverage will extend. Original Medicare covers your medical bills within the U.S. This includes Puerto Rico, America Somia, Northern Mariana Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and any other U.S. territories. For the most part, Medicare doesn’t provide coverage outside the U.S. unless it’s for an emergency. Below, we’ll discuss what Medicare plans include foreign travel emergency benefits.

Can I Use My Medicare in Another Country?

Under certain situations, Medicare will cover foreign travel emergency care.

These situations include:

  • If you’re traveling on a cruise ship, you’ll have medical coverage as long as the ship is still in U.S. waters. This means the cruise ship must either be at a U.S. port, or within six hours from one.
  • If you’re traveling between Alaska and another state, and the closest hospital is in Canada, then Medicare will cover emergency services while in Canada.
  • If your residence is closer to a hospital outside U.S. territory, Medicare may cover non-emergency inpatient care at the closest hospital near your home.

Do Medicare Supplement Plans Cover Foreign Travel?

Medicare Supplement plans include additional benefits that will provide you foreign travel emergency coverage. Medigap plans C, D, F, G, M, and N all provide emergency coverage in foreign countries. Both high deductible versions of Plan F and Plan G also include coverage overseas.

Foreign Travel Emergency Coverage Overview:

  • coverage carries a $250 deductible
  • only have coverage for the first 60 days of your trip
  • pays 80% of your medical bills while out of the country
  • has a lifetime limit amount of $50,000.

As long as your health services are for emergencies, your Medigap plan will provide coverage. If you only have Original Medicare, without a supplement plan, you will not have coverage outside the U.S. is most cases.

Do Medicare Advantage Plans Cover International Travel?

Several Advantage plans provide coverage for emergency health services outside of the U.S. Often, plans may place restrictions on specific health services. Your policy will need ample time to inform the carrier of your upcoming trip. At that time, they will explain how claims and reimbursement will work.

If you find yourself traveling outside your Advantage plan’s service locations for more than six months at a time, you may be disenrolled from the plan automatically. There are a few Medicare Advantage plans that offer exclusive benefits that may allow you to stay in your health plan even if you travel continuously for up to 12 months.

It’s always a good rule of thumb to check with your policy before any travel to determine what your limitations are.

How Does Medicare Work if You Live Overseas?

Medicare will not cover any medical services you receive overseas. You can still keep your Part A coverage if it’s premium-free for you. That way you have it if you come back to the U.S. If you do travel back to the U.S frequently, then you may want to continue paying the monthly premium for Part B. However, you will only be able to use those benefits in the United States territories.

Does Medicare Cover you on a Cruise Ship?

Part A and B usually cover any medical care that’s necessary while on a cruise ship, as long as the cruise ship is still within U.S. waters. The cruise ship will have to be within six hours of the nearest U.S. port. The treating physician must also legally be able to provide medical care onboard a vessel. If your cruise ship further than 6 hours out, you will not receive coverage from Original Medicare.

Where Can I Find a Medicare Travel Claim Form?

Since foreign doctors, facilities, and emergency services will not submit your Medicare claims; you’ll need to file your claim form. You can send your patient request for a medical payment form to the address listed on the instructions of your form.

FAQs

Will Medicare pay for travel vaccinations?
Most insurance companies don’t cover the cost of travel vaccinations. Medicare doesn’t include medications or vaccines for international travel.
Will Medicare pay for a travel CPAP machine?
When it comes to CPAP machines and other durable medical equipment, Medicare has precise criteria for coverage. Depending on your health condition, you may qualify for a travel CPAP.
Will Medicare pay for a travel wheelchair?
Part B covers travel wheelchairs if your medical condition negates the need for one. Travel wheelchairs fall into the category under durable medical equipment.
What are the Medicare guidelines for travel oxygen?
If you’re traveling, Medicare will not provide oxygen coverage for your trip. You may be able to rent an oxygen concentrator from a supplier.
Should I take my Medicare card to Europe?
Since European doctors will not accept your Medicare coverage as insurance, there is no reason to bring your Medicare card to Europe.
Does Medicare Plan F cover foreign travel?
Plan F will cover foreign travel emergencies up to $50,000 per lifetime. There’s also a $250 deductible.
Does Medicare Plan G cover international travel?
The only international travel coverage that Plan G will provide is emergency coverage. Plan G covers up to $50,000 per lifetime with a $250 deductible.

How to Understand Your Foreign Travel Medicare Benefits

MedicareFAQ is here to help find the best plan with the most coverage for you. Call our team today for a quote in just minutes! If you simply want to verify your current supplemental Medicare plan has travel emergency benefits, we can help. We also have an online rate form that you can use to compare rates in your area now.

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Lindsay Malzone

Lindsay Malzone is the Medicare expert for MedicareFAQ. She has been working in the Medicare industry since 2017. She is featured in many publications as well as writes regularly for other expert columns regarding Medicare. You can also find her over on our Medicare Channel on YouTube as well as contributing to our Medicare Community on Facebook.

6 thoughts on “What Medicare Plans Cover Foreign Travel

  1. Spending 2 months in Canada this Summer. Staying with my sister. Her husband is a retired Surgeon. What I need is a policy for coverage while I am there. I am 84 years old in great health. Play tennis, not senile. Traveling from Atlanta Ga. to St. John”s Newfoundland Canada

    1. Hi Gloria! Medigap plans C-N cover foreign travel emergency. The only plans that do not cover foreign travel are Plans A & B.

    1. Hi Deb! As stated above, Part A & B does not cover any medical services outside U.S. territories. To get emergency coverage while in Thailand and Bhutan, you would need to enroll in one of the supplemental plans that include foreign travel emergency coverage. However, it will not cover the cost of your flight home. Remember, you’ll only have coverage for emergency care for the first 60 days you’re overseas.

  2. I am a 70 year old healthy female traveling to vietnam from dfw from 20th Jan to 4th Feb and need a quote for medical insurance. Can you help me

    1. Hi Gillian! Yes, of course, we can help you with that! What Medicare coverage are you currently enrolled in? Give us a call at your earliest convenience.

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