If you plan to see the world in your retirement years, it’s important to know what Medicare travel insurance will, and won’t cover when you are traveling.
Original Medicare Parts A and B will pay most of your medical expenses while you’re inside the United States.
Unfortunately, if you need emergency medical care in a foreign country, Original Medicare won’t pay for it. Also, you won’t have coverage for Medicare Part D prescription drugs outside the U.S.
To protect yourself, you need foreign travel insurance for seniors with Medicare. A Medicare Supplement policy can give you supplemental health insurance for overseas travel.
Does Medicare Include Travel Insurance
Medicare covers health care in the United States; this includes all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands.
There are a few situations where Medicare will pay 80 percent of the cost of your emergency care outside the U.S.
- On a cruise ship, if you are no more than six hours from a U.S. port.
- If you are driving a direct route between Alaska and the continental U.S, “without unreasonable delay”
- If you get sick in the U.S. but the nearest hospital that can treat you is in another country
- If you live in the U.S. but the closest hospital to your home is in another country
This means that unless you are on a short cruise or on your way to Alaska, Medicare will not pay for your emergency treatment while you are traveling in another country. That’s where Medicare Supplements can help with overseas Medicare insurance.
Medicare Travel Insurance for Outside the U.S.
Medicare Supplement policies provide coverage outside the U.S. that is designed to protect you in an emergency.
Travel Insurance for Seniors with Medicare Supplement insurance include these features:
- It covers any foreign travel emergency that begins during the first 60 days of your trip
- It has a $250 deductible
- It pays 80 percent of the billed fee for medically necessary emergency care
- It has a lifetime limit of $50,000.
This means that the Medicare Supplement will cover your emergency care if you break your leg while hiking in the Himalayas, but it will not pay for you to have your routine colonoscopy done in France.
If you plan to take extended trips you may need separate travel insurance. Retirees living overseas may need private insurance or may be able to buy into an insurance plan in the country where they’re living.
If you plan to travel to foreign countries, make sure to get a Medigap plan that has Medicare coverage overseas for foreign travel emergencies.
The Best Medicare Advantage Plan for Travelers
There are some Medicare Advantage plans that provide emergency coverage when you are traveling outside the United States and its territories.
If you currently have a Medicare Advantage plan and you are planning on traveling outside of the United States, you need to ask the company you are with if your plan covers “Worldwide Emergency and Urgent Coverage”.
There are several things you will want to ask the company you are with if you are planning on traveling abroad. This includes:
- What medical services are included in worldwide coverage?
- What is the cost-share amount while traveling overseas?
- Does the plan have limitations or restrictions on travel coverage? What are they?
- Is there a maximum dollar limit to coverage outside the United States?
- When does the plan need to be informed of care that was received?
- How are medical claims for reimbursement on medical serves done when you receive care out of the country?
What’s Best: Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement?
The best plan for your neighbor may not be the best plan for you, because plan suitability depends on your specific situation. Many people will find that a Medicare supplement suits their budget, lifestyle and flexibility better than other plans available.
Medicare Supplements offer the most comprehensive coverage with your Medicare, and they provide more foreign travel coverage than Traditional Medicare. If you travel abroad frequently and you’re a Medicare beneficiary, you should consider enrolling in a Medicare Supplement policy.
Get an Online Quote for Medicare Supplements for Overseas Travel
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Additional Medicare Travel Insurance FAQs
What Medicare Plans cover foreign travel?
- Many Medicare Supplement plans will cover emergency or urgent care while you travel to a foreign country. There may be a Medicare Advantage plan available in your area that covers foreign travel expenses. A licensed insurance agent in your state can help you find the best coverage for you; a plan that is budget friendly, compatible with your lifestyle and meets your needs.
Will Medicare pay for travel vaccinations?
- While plans vary, many insurance providers don’t cover travel vaccines. Traditional Medicare does not cover any vaccines or medicines required for foreign travel. If you need help finding a clinic, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) can help you locate one in your area.
Will Medicare pay for a travel CPAP machine?
- Medicare has specific requirements for DME supplies, it will depend on whether they deem a travel CPAP medically necessary or not. If you have more coverage than Traditional Medicare, you will want to check with your insurance plan to see if they help cover the cost.
Will Medicare pay for a travel wheelchair?
- Medicare helps cover DME if the doctor treating your condition submits a written order stating that you have a medical need for a wheelchair or scooter for use in your home. There are options for lightweight travel wheelchairs on Amazon for less than $80 that have high star ratings from over 1,500 happy customers.
Where can I find a Medicare travel claim form?
- If you need to file a patient request for medical payment form you will need to do it within 12 months after the date when services were provided. Foreign hospitals, doctors and ambulance services don’t submit Medicare claims for you.
Does Medicare reimburse travel expense?
- Typically, Medicare wont’ reimburse you for health-related travel expenses. There may be a plan in your area that covers transportation for routine doctor visits. This depends on the area that you live in and the terms and conditions of the plan, it’s important to talk to a licensed insurance agent about your options.
What are the Medicare guidelines for travel oxygen?
- It is highly unlikely that anyone will be able to get a portable oxygen concentrator through Medicare or any other insurance. If you have a life insurance policy, you may qualify for a Funds for Living and Giving (FLAG), they help people with COPD get the financial help they need.
How can I get Medicare Travel insurance to New Zealand?
- Medicare has limited coverage for healthcare services outside the United States, you should talk to an insurance agent or a travel agent about buying travel insurance. It’s important that you read the conditions and restrictions carefully, travel insurance doesn’t necessarily include health insurance.