Enrolling In Medicare After You Return To The Us
Once you return to the U.S. and establish residency in the country, you may be eligible for Medicare Part A and/or Part B if you meet the above-mentioned citizenship and legal permanent residency requirements. You can sign up through the Social Security Administration:
- In person: Visit your local Social Security office.
If you worked for a railroad, contact the Railroad Retirement Board to enroll in Medicare. You can call 1-877-772-5772, Monday through Friday, from 9AM to 3:30PM, to speak to an RRB representative. TTY users, call 1-312-751-4701.
Medigap Outside Of The Us
If a person has a Medigap plan, their coverage may include emergency non-U.S. medical care when traveling, applicable if the medical incident occurs during the first 60 days of the trip, and if original Medicare does not cover the care.
It may also include 80 percent of costs, after a person has met the yearly deductible. The 80 percent coverage relates to some kinds of necessary emergency care provided outside the U.S.
It may be important for an individual to note that currently, Medigap non-U.S. emergency coverage has a lifetime limit of $50,000.
Will Medicare Cover Me If I Travel Outside The United States
En español | Medicare doesnt pay for medical services outside the United States and its territories, except in the following rare situations:
- Youre traveling between Alaska and another state and have a medical emergency that means you must be treated in Canada.
- A medical emergency occurs while youre in the United States or its territories, but the nearest hospital is in a foreign country for example, across the border in Canada or Mexico.
- You live within the United States or its territories and need hospital care , but the nearest hospital is in a foreign country.
- Youre on a ship that’s within six hours of a U.S. port.
Some Medigap supplemental insurance policies cover emergencies or urgently needed treatment abroad, if the need for care begins during the first 60 days of your trip. In this situation, you pay a $250 deductible and 20 percent of the cost of the medical treatment you receive, up to a lifetime maximum of $50,000.
Some Medicare Advantage plans also cover medical emergencies. So do some employer or retiree plans and TRICARE military benefits. Check with your plan whether it will cover you during your trip.
Otherwise, you need to buy travel insurance that covers medical emergencies when planning journeys abroad.
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I Plan To Be A Roving Retiree And Spend A Few Years Traveling In Retirement Before Returning To The Us At Which Point I Might Spend Part Of The Year Away And Part Of It Stateside What Should I Do About Medicare
Balancing the cost of maintaining Medicare coverage while living and traveling outside of the U.S. is based on individual circumstances and therefore the decision is personal to each of us. However, certain principles apply to most situations.
It is important that the roving retiree maintains Parts A and B and continues payment of their Part B premium.
While Advantage Plans wont cover full-time overseas livingbecause they require continued residence in their plan areathey do have an extended coverage period of up to six months or a year when traveling out-of-country. This means that part-time expats and frequent travelers can use it as emergency coverage while theyre abroad. Many come with $0 or low-cost premiums.
Roving retirees can keep their Supplement Plan in force even while living overseas. The advantages include access to worldwide emergency traveler coverage for the first 60 days of any trip out of the U.S., being fully covered in the event of an emergency return to the U.S., and no health underwriting for a Supplement Plan upon return to the U.S. The disadvantage is in the cost of continuing to pay the Part B and Supplement premiums while out of the country. If you discontinue Part B, the Supplement would be terminated, and you would face the same delays for coverage and monetary penalties seen in Example 2 of Janice Smith living in Thailand.
Under What Circumstances Will I Be Covered By Original Medicare When I’m Outside Of The United States
Original Medicare coverage outside the United States and U.S. territories is limited to these circumstances:
- Youre in the U.S. when you have a medical emergency but youre close enough to its border that the nearest hospital is outside the United States, or you live near the border and the closest hospital that can treat you is outside the United States.
- Youre traveling between Alaska and another U.S. state via a direct route through Canada without unreasonable delay and a medical emergency occurs while youre in Canada .
- Youre on a cruise ship within six hours of a U.S. port.
Other than those situations, Medicare does not reimburse for care provided outside the United States. So if youre approaching Medicare enrollment and youve got a bit of wanderlust, its imperative that you seek out supplemental coverage that will protect you in case of a medical emergency outside the United States.
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Have You Notified Social Security About Your Address Change
Make sure you notify Social Security of your change of address. The Social Security Administration handles Medicare enrollment. If you receive Social Security benefits, you can change your address online by accessing My Social Security and answering a few security questions prior to making the change if you have set up a My Social Security account.
Alternatively, you can call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 and speak to one of their representatives from Monday through Friday, from 7AM to 7PM. You can also visit the Social Security office nearest you and fill out a change of address form.
If you receive your retirement or disability benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board , notify the agency either through its website or by calling 1-877-772-5772 Monday through Friday, 9AM to 3:30PM, to speak to an RRB representative.
Do you have questions about Medicare when moving to another state? Learn more about me by clicking the View profile link below. There are also links that let you schedule a phone appointment or have me email you more information. Want to compare plans on your own? Use the Find Plans button on this page.
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Social Security And Medicare Benefits If You Live Outside The Us
In a previous article we looked at rules governing the payment of CSRS and FERS retirement benefits to U.S. citizens who live outside the U.S. or its territories and possessions. While I pointed out that as general rule you can receive them, you cant if you live in a blocked country. Currently, the only two countries that meet that definition are Cuba and North Korea. However, any U.S. citizen who is living in a blocked country and entitled to Social Security benefits can receive those benefits, including retroactive payments, if they move to a country where payment is not restricted.
On the other hand, non-citizens entitled to Social Security benefits who leave a blocked country may only receive payments for the months following their move to a country where payments can be made.
The limitation on receiving a Social Security benefits are even stricter for citizens of foreign countries who are entitled to Social Security benefits. At present those countries include Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Uruguay.
Now, an important word about Medicare for retirees living overseas: It generally doesnt cover health services you get outside of the United States.
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Sign Up: Within 8 Months After Your Family Member Stopped Working
- Your current coverage might not pay for health services if you dont have both Part A and Part B .
- If you have Medicare due to a disability or ALS , youll already have Part A coverage.
Avoid the penalty & gap in coverageIf you miss this 8-month Special Enrollment Period, youll have to wait to sign up and go months without coverage. You might also pay a monthly penalty until you turn 65. The penalty goes up the longer you wait to sign up. How much is the Part B late enrollment penalty?
Getting Medicare While Traveling Or Living Overseas
Many retirees look forward to traveling in their retirement, and more and more are actually retiring overseas, in part as a way to stretch savings. But what happens to retirees’ federal benefits while they are out of the country? The short answer is that although Social Security benefits are available to retirees in other countries, Medicare generally is not. In this installment we look at Medicare.
Traditional Medicare does not provide coverage for hospital or medical costs outside the United States . In rare cases, Medicare may pay for inpatient hospital services in Canada or Mexico.
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Some Medicare Advantage plans may provide coverage benefits for health care needs when enrollees travel outside the United States. But those retiring overseas — or travelers enrolled in the traditional Medicare program or whose Medicare Advantage plan does not cover foreign travel — will need to purchase health insurance from another source.
Whatever option retirees choose while abroad, if they return to the United States they will still be covered by Medicare Part A. Medicare Part A covers institutional care in hospitals and skilled nursing facilities, as well as certain care given by home health agencies and care provided in hospices. There are no premiums for this part of the Medicare program and anyone who is 65 or older and is eligible for Social Security automatically qualifies.
For more about the Medicare program, .
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Why Would You Keep Medicare If You Move To Another Country
If there is any chance you’ll move back to the United States or if you plan to spend a portion of the year here, you probably want to keep your Medicare coverage. This protects you from coverage gaps and potentially high late enrollment penalties.
- The Medicare Part A late penalty is 10 percent for twice the number of years that you could have had Part A but did not. So, for every full 12-month period that passes without having Part A, you pay a 10 percent penalty for 24 months.
- Medicare Part B’s late enrollment penalty is 10 percent for every year you could have had Part B but delayed. So, 12 months = 10 percent, 24 months = 20 percent, and so on.
- The Medicare Part D late enrollment penalty accrues monthly. You’ll pay 1 percent of the national base beneficiary premium for every month you did not have creditable drug coverage, rounded to the nearest dime. So, 1 month = 1 percent, 2 months = 2 percent, and so on. The base beneficiary premium is $33.06 in 2021.
Very few people owe the Part A penalty, because very few people pay the Medicare Part A premium.
You pay the Parts B and D late enrollment penalties for the entire time you have Medicare.
When To Sign Up For Medicare Plans
When you sign up for the various Medicare coverages and when each one comes into effect varies with the different Plans. A general outline follows specific situations or health conditions touch off a number of different enrollment periods. For fuller details see the publications.
Enrolling in Medicare parts A & B:
For qualified individuals, you should sign up during the “Initial Enrollment Period” of seven months around the month you turn 65 . Note that this may be before you can or choose to file for Social Security benefits. If you enroll prior to the birthday month, you will start being covered as of your birthday month. If you enroll during the last four months of the period, coverage will start with an additional month’s delay.
If you didn’t sign up for Part A during your Initial Enrollment Period, you can sign up during the “General Enrollment Period” between January 1 and March 31 each year. Coverage will begin July 1. If you are a qualified individual, there may be a penalty premium for late sign-up, as mentioned above .
In certain cases, if you did not sign up for Plan A when initially eligible because you were covered under a group health plan based on current employment, you can sign up later during a “Special Enrollment Period”. See Publication 11219 for details.
Part B :
Part C and Part D :
Some addiitonal information on Medicare sign up can be found at the following non-US government links:
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Medicare Coverage When Living Abroad Temporarily
If youre living abroad temporarily and plan to travel back to the United States, it would be beneficial to enroll in Medicare. That way, youll be able to access Medicare benefits upon your return.
To sign up for Medicare abroad, you can contact your closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The contact information for offices in different countries is listed on the Social Security website.
However, there are three situations in which Medicare may pay for Medicare-covered health care services in a foreign hospital.
- Medical emergency:
- You experience a medical emergency when you’re in the United States, but a foreign hospital is closer to you than any domestic hospitals that can treat you.
- Medical emergency while traveling:
- You experience a medical emergency when traveling through Canada without unreasonable delay via the most direct route between Alaska and another state, and the Canadian hospital is closer than the nearest U.S. hospital that can treat you.
- Non-medical emergency:
- You live in the United States but the foreign hospital is closer than the nearest U.S. hospital that can treat your medical condition.
If one of the situations above applies to you, you would pay the same amount out-of-pocket as you would if those services were accessed in the United States.
In that case, youd have to submit an itemized bill to Medicare for the health care services you accessed.
Does Medicaid Or Medicare Cover Me Abroad
If you are a Medicaid recipient, you may be dropped from enrollment in the medical plans if you do not keep a U.S. state residence or address or if you lose your SSI eligibility . Loss of enrollment creates a gap of coverage upon return home from traveling abroad, especially if the travel health insurance does not cover you in your home country.
Individuals who are entitled to Medicare and leave the United States are still enrolled in the Medicare program The issue is that Medicare will not make payments for services given or supplies sent outside the United States.*
If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident on Medicare, consider purchasing a Medicare supplement plan from a local insurance agent instead of getting separate international coverage. This supplement will cover you for the first 60 days of a trip outside of the United States. There is a $250 deductible. After meeting the deductible, the insurance will cover 80% of all billed charges up to a lifetime maximum of $50,000. This “Foreign Travel Emergency” benefit is just one of the many benefits included in the supplement package. The premium will likely be between $100 and $150 depending on your age, and if you already have a Medicare supplement, you may only need to add as little as $9.00 for overseas coverage.**
Contact the Social Security Administration and the Medicaid/Medicare office for more information .
** Information from: Good Neighbor Insurance, subject to change
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Box A: Medicare Abroad Policy Model
To estimate the effects of various policy options, a model could be developed that would have, at its core, an accounting of the number of Medicare-eligible Americans and Mexicans living in Mexico, their use of medical services , and changes in their behavior that would be induced by alternative policies. The conceptual model diagram below shows, from left to right, these model inputs and outputs. The model would include estimates of how increased demand for care by Medicare-eligible individuals in Mexico, combined with Medicare certification requirements, could induce changes in the quality and price of care in Mexico. In addition, the model would include estimates of changes in satisfaction with care and how they could induce additional utilization of care in Mexico relative to the United States among Medicare-eligible individuals.
The model would require detailed data regarding the numbers of individuals, their utilization and location of care, and the cost of care in order to assess the following: the total change in Medicare expenditures, the total change in health care spending in Mexico, and the total out-of-pocket expenditures of Medicare-eligible individuals in Mexico . These estimates, together with estimates of satisfaction with care and changes in the quality of care, would allow us to determine the net benefits of each policy change for each of the key groups of players .
Does Medigap Cover You While Abroad
Most Medicare Supplement plans, include a foreign travel benefit check to see if yours does. Medicare Supplement plans C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, M, and N that cover travel, pay for 80% of the cost of medically necessary emergency care outside of the U.S. and its territories.
Youll be responsible for a separate $250 deductible. The medical emergency must occur within 60 days of the start of your trip. So it wont work if you leave the country indefinitely. Plus, theres a $50,000 lifetime limit to the amount this benefit will payout.
Medigap policies are not a Medicare replacement. Theyre an additional benefit on top of your existing coverage under Original Medicare . And be aware that Medicare Part D prescription benefits also do not extend outside the U.S. and its territories.
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