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Traveling with Medicare- Does my Medicare Travel with Me?
Here’s what you need to know…
Within the US
The extent to which Medicare covers medical treatment while traveling is determined by where you are visiting and how your medical benefits are received.
If you have Medicare, you have coverage anywhere within the U.S. This includes all 50 states. Most emergency care centers; hospitals and doctors take original Medicare. If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan your plan may or may not cover care outside of its service area. Some plans may cover out of network but that may come with higher copayments. To ensure what rules, restrictions, costs, and coverage apply it’s important to contact your plan prior to travel within the U.S.
It’s important to note that if you travel outside of your plans service area for more than six months continuously most plans will disenroll you automatically. Although, some plans will offer coverage for up to 12 months. With a move, it is important and essential to optimize a special enrollment period offered at that time to join a different Medicare Advantage Plan. If a new plan is not chosen at that SEP time, your plan will automatically enroll into original Medicare.
Medicare often does not normally cover medical care received outside of the United States and its territories. There are, however, some small exceptions that will allow you to use your benefits internationally. In some cases, Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage Plans must cover care received outside of the United States.
How to be prepared? If you do travel internationally or are relocating overseas, then you should consider Medigap plans sold by private companies. These provide foreign coverage. If you obtain a resident visa you may be eligible to purchase a private health care plan for far less than in the U.S.
If you have a current Medigap policy or a secondary policy, you may have coverage when traveling abroad. Some Medigap plans cover up to 80% of emergency care abroad. Although it is important to check with your policy prior to travel for specific coverage rules.
Other Options to consider:
If you do not qualify for Medicare and do not have current insurance prior to travel it is recommended that you purchase a travel insurance policy. Travel insurance policies can cover many contingencies such as cancellations, damages, car rental coverage, medical, dental, and emergency evacuation. Each of those benefits tends to come with a dollar limit and preexisting condition exclusions. If you are frequently traveling abroad, you may want to consider an annual policy. With this, you may also want to be sure Emergency transportation is included. It’s not always fun to consider what may go wrong when traveling but being prepared prior to taking a trip is very important.
As we age, healthcare should become one of the most important considerations in our primary decisions when making travel arrangements. Fortunately, with the help of myself, Medicare and Medigap you have many great affordable options that we can discuss further in detail if you wish. Working together allows us the opportunity to ensure you have the coverage you need- when you need it.
We do not offer every plan available in your area. Any information we provide is limited to those plans we do offer in your area.
Please contact Medicare.gov or 1–800–MEDICARE to get information on all of your options.