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Does Medicare Cover You When Traveling Abroad

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What Are My Travel Insurance Options

Medicare & You: Traveling Abroad

Many standard Medicare Supplement Insurance plans provide foreign travel emergency healthcare coverage outside of the U.S. with a lifetime limit of $50,000. But make sure you know how to file a claimin most cases, your Medicare provider will ask for an itemized list of treatments before it can approve a claim, which can be hard to receive from the hospital after you have left.

Another option is to buy travel insurance through a third party. Many airlines offer travel insurance as an add-on during the booking process, which will cover medical emergencies and travel disruptions. You can expect basic travel insurance to cover:

  • Trip cancellation due to sickness, weather events, terrorism, or tour company bankruptcy
  • Medical coverage and emergency dental coverage
  • Emergency evacuations such as a medical airlift home or repatriation should you pass away in a foreign country
  • Lost or delayed bags and canceled flights

Travel insurance tends to be a catch-all for solving problems that occur abroad, which is why many travelers prefer to buy it in addition to a Medigap supplement.

The cost of your Medicare supplement for overseas travel and your travel insurance will vary depending on the countries that youre visiting, the duration of your trip, and your current health. As with most insurance quotes, providers list the price based on risk factors and the likelihood of needing a payout.

How To Apply For Medicare Supplement Insurance With Foreign Travel Coverage

Your Medicare supplement insurance application determines your eligibility for open enrollment or guaranteed issue rights. When you complete an application for Medicare supplement insurance with foreign travel coverage, fill out the form carefully and thoroughly. If an insurance agent fills out an application on your behalf, make sure all of the information is correct before you sign the document.

Medicare supplement plans are available with no medical underwriting during the open enrollment period. Open enrollment begins automatically during the month you turn 65 or older. If you purchase a Medicare supplement policy during your open enrollment period, the insurance company cant use any of your medical information to deny coverage or change the cost of the premium.

Because of guaranteed issue rights, insurance companies must sell you a Medicare supplement policy which covers all of your pre-existing health conditions, and it cant charge you a higher premium due to your past or current health issues.

Medicare supplement plans with foreign travel coverage generally take effect the first of the month after you apply, but the insurance company can activate the plan on a date that coincides with the day you leave the country. If your insurance company is unwilling to begin your Medicare supplement plan on a specific date, contact your State Insurance Department for assistance.

Senior Us Citizens Traveling Overseas And Medicare Coverage

  • If you get admitted to a foreign hospital which is closer than a US hospital that can treat your emergency medical condition.
  • If you get admitted to a Canadian hospital which can treat your medical emergency while travelling between Alaska and any other state and you are crossing Canada.
  • If you get admitted to a hospital nearest to where you are staying which can treat you under emergency medical condition.

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Traveling Soon Know What Medicare Will Cover

Co-Founder of Elite Insurance Partners & MedicareFAQ, a Medicare learning resource center for all Medicare beneficiaries.


When youre traveling, you want to know youll be protected should the unexpected happen. Thats why if you have Medicare, you may want to consider getting additional coverage to help pay for emergency services depending on the location and duration of your trip.

Whether youre traveling to another state or abroad, you should consider in advance what your options would be if youre faced with a medical emergency during your trip. Below, Ill discuss some important factors you should consider that will help you make the best and most affordable decision for your vacation.

Traveling Within The U.S. With Medicare

Most doctors and hospitals in the U.S. take Original Medicare. If you have Original Medicare, you can use it anywhere within the U.S. and its territories. Medicare Part B usually covers emergencies, such as an injury or sudden illness.

Seeking treatment from hospitals and doctors that accept Medicare can help you avoid high out-of-pocket costs. Medicare Advantage is another option if an emergency happens within the U.S.

Medicare Advantage Within The U.S.

Do I Still Have Coverage When I Return To Us

Does Medicare Cover You When Traveling Abroad?

If you are traveling outside of the United States for an extended period of time, you may be disenrolled from your Medicare Advantage plan and placed back into Original Medicare. When this happens, you will receive a notification, and you will continue to pay the Part B premium. If you drop Part B and do not pay for your Medicare, then you will have to pay an enrollment penalty when you come back to the United States. Premiums are set to increase each year by 10 percent when not enrolled in Part B. Its important that you continue to maintain your health insurance even if you decide to travel for longer periods of time outside of the United States.Medicare Advantage plans are a great option if you plan to travel. If you want to switch to a Medicare Advantage plan for your trip, you just need to go to or you can use our tools on to find a plan thats right for your budget and medical needs. As always, you should carefully look at the plan before purchasing to ensure that it will cover you for what you need especially for when you go on vacation outside of the United States.

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Does Medicare Cover Dialysis Abroad

No, Medicare cannot be used to get any medical treatment as youre travelling internationally, including dialysis. The only time when Medicare could potentially cover dialysis is if t is an emergency and:

  • You are in the US, but the nearest hospital that could offer you dialysis is a foreign hospital or
  • You are in Canada, on your way back from Alaska, and the nearest hospital that could offer you dialysis is in Canada

When Does Medicare Work Outside Of The United States

If youre traveling to Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa, then your Medicare insurance will cover your treatment. Outside of these, healthcare is normally not covered abroad. However, there are select instances when your Medicare will work out outside of the United States. As the Medicare website explains:

  • Youre in the U.S. when a medical emergency occurs, but the closest hospital that can treat you is outside of the U.S.
  • Youre traveling from Alaska to Canada through the fastest route when a medical emergency occurs and a Canadian hospital is closer than an American hospital.
  • You live in the U.S., but the closest hospital to you is in a foreign country .

For most Americans, these situations are rare and mostly apply to citizens who live in the northern states along the Canadian border. As a rule of thumb: if youre outside of the United States, your Medicare will not cover your treatment.

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Are You Covered By Medicare When Traveling Abroad

Does Medicare cover you when you’re overseas? What happens if you’re traveling on vacation and get sick? Or what if you retire abroad?

The general answer is that Medicare coverage outside the U.S is available only in very limited circumstances, such as:

  • You’re in the U.S. but have an emergency, and a foreign hospital is closer than the nearest U.S. hospital.
  • You have an emergency while traveling in Canada between Alaska and another state, and the Canadian hospital is closer than the nearest U.S. hospital.
  • You live in the U.S. close to a border and a foreign hospital is closer to your home than the nearest U.S. hospital, regardless of whether it’s an emergency.
  • If you’re traveling on vacation overseas, it’s critical that you arrange for medical coverage during your stay. There are two ways to do this:

    It becomes more complex if you decide to retire overseas and live permanently outside the U.S. You’ll want to make arrangements for medical insurance in your host country, and it will vary substantially between countries.

    “If you’re overseas for an extended period, you might be tempted to cancel your Medicare until you return — be careful,” said Andy Landis, author of “Social Security: The Inside Story.” “If you re-enroll after a 12-month cancellation, your enrollment will be delayed. and you’ll pay a late enrollment fee for the rest of your life.”

    Think again. It’s not that simple.

    Does Medicare Cover You On A Cruise Ship

    Medicare & You: Traveling Abroad

    Part A and B usually cover any medical care thats 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.

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    What If I Have A Medigap Medicare Supplement Policy For Foreign Travel

    Since Medicare does not cover 100% of your medical needs, a Medigap is a supplement policy which is purchased to fill in the gaps leftover from Medicare. Your Medigap policy will cover you for medical emergencies abroad if you have purchased a policy which includes travel health insurance.

    These are known as plans C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, M, and N, and can cover up to 80% of your medical bills abroad after you pay a $250 deductible. They also have a lifetime limit of $50,000.

    However, to make sure, you have to contact your Medigap policy provider and ask them where you stand on medical travel insurance abroad and just how much coverage you need.

    Remember that Medigap policies are not as comprehensive as actual travel insurance policies, which include higher limits, evacuation coverage, as well as coverage for trip cancellation or disruption.

    If you do not have a Medigap policy, you can find plans on the official US website for Medicare after you enter your ZIP code .

    Medicare Supplement And International Travel

    If you have a Medicare Supplement plan, you may receive coverage for emergency health services if traveling outside of the U.S. Medicare Supplement Plan D, F, G, M and N plans may include:

    • Coverage for emergency care if its received during the first 60 days of your trip and if Medicare doesnt cover it otherwise
    • Payments for 80% of the billed charges for emergency care received outside of the U.S. after youve reached the $250 deductible for the year.

    Also, most Medicare Supplement plans have lifetime limits of $50,000. Talk with your Medicare Supplement plan provider before your trip to check benefits.

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    Does Medicare Advantage Cover Me If Traveling

    If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, youre in luck if you travel as some of these plans pay for medical treatment while in foreign countries. Traditionally, Medicare coverage is not available outside of the United States if you have Part A and Part B, but since Medicare Advantage is managed by private healthcare carriers, you may be eligible to have all of your costs taken care of if you need to see a doctor or visit a hospital while not in the US or US territories. So how do you know if you are able to travel with Medicare Advantage coverage? This guide gives you a closer look at how Medicare works when traveling outside of the US.

    Travel Insurance May Not Cover Pre

    Medicare Travel Coverage: Does Medicare Cover You When You ...

    3rd party travel insurance is an option for anyone that wants to add coverage at the last minute. This travel insurance does not always cover pre-existing conditions and can be rather tricky when it does.

    First, you have to be medically stable and able to travel at the time of purchase, as well as, at the time of travel. On top of this, travel insurance can be very expensive, sometimes up to 11% of your total trip cost.

    One final warning, if you dont estimate your trip cost properly they dont have to cover your preexisting condition either.

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    How Does Medicare Cover Me If I’m Traveling Within The Us

    For Medicare beneficiaries who see endless travel opportunities right here in the U.S., Original Medicare plus a Medigap plan will provide coverage border to border and coast to coast, including the U.S. territories.

    Ninety-three percent of all U.S. doctors who provide Medicare-covered services are participating providers with Original Medicare. And only about 1% of all non-pediatric physicians in the U.S. have opted out of Medicare entirely.

    Its also important to understand that Medicare Part D plans can require members to use in-network pharmacies, and some have localized networks rather than nationwide networks. Check with your Part D plan before traveling, and see if youll need to make arrangements to purchase medication in advance or use a mail-order pharmacy.

    Medicare Advantage plans cover emergency care anywhere in the United States or its territories, but for routine care, plans typically require enrollees to use a local provider network. With most Medicare Advantage plans, if you travel outside of your plans service area for more than six months, youll be disenrolled from the Medicare Advantage plan and switched to Original Medicare instead.

    Will Medicare Advantage Provide Coverage For Extended Travel Abroad

    Some Medicare Advantage plans keep people on a plan if they are traveling abroad for extended periods, but seniors traveling outside of their Medicare Advantage plans service area for over six months could face disenrollment. Even seniors traveling within the United States or its territories may be disenrolled unless they notify the plan of changing geographic locations.

    Seniors who are disenrolled under these circumstances can join a different Part C plan during a special enrollment period. If they dont choose a new plan, they will be automatically enrolled in Original Medicare.

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    What If I Become Eligible For Medicare When I Am Abroad

    If you are a US national living abroad, and you become eligible for Medicare , then you can request Medicare enrollment forms from the United States Embassy or Consulate in the country where you currently live. You dont necessarily need to return to the US just so you can enroll.

    You will also receive a letter from the Social Security Administration , informing you that youve reached your Initial Enrollment Period and a form which you can use to request the enrollment pack. You may have to send the forms and required paperwork via certified mail.

    If you are not eligible for premium-free Medicare Part A, then you may actually have to go to the US to enroll. Additionally, if you do not enroll during the Initial Enrollment Period , you may have to wait for the General Enrollment Period, which starts from January to March.

    How To Submit Foreign Claims With Medicare

    What does Medicare Cover While Traveling

    Original Medicare only covers international health care costs under a few uncommon circumstances.

    However, if you receive Medicare-covered services under these exceptions, you will need to fill out some paperwork.

    Because foreign hospitals are not required to file Medicare claims, you may be required to submit an itemized bill to Medicare for any foreign health care services you receive.

    If you receive Medicare-covered services on a cruise ship, the doctor will file a claim on your behalf.

    For more information on where to send a foreign claim, visit the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and print the Patients Request for Medical Payment form .

    You can also call 1-800-MEDICARE .

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    Does Medicare Advantage Have Limitations On Travel

    If you get a Medicare Advantage plan, then your plan doesnt always cover medical services while traveling outside of the United States. It depends on what kind of plan you signed up and how long you travel for. It also depends on where you travel and the kind of care that you need while you are traveling.One thing is certain that if you travel outside of a Medicare Advantage plans service are for more than six months, you will likely be disenrolled. Medicare Advantage plans have service areas that are based on the region of where you originally signed up for Medicare. This means that even if you are traveling in the United States, you may be disenrolled from a Medicare Advantage plan unless you notify that you are changing geographic locations. This simply places you in Original Medicare if you are disenrolled from your plan. You also receive a Special Enrollment Period to join a new Medicare Advantage plan if you are disenrolled based on your new geographic location.Of course, not all plans have that policy to disenroll their members. You will receive notification if that is the case from your healthcare carrier. Some plans also include benefits to allow people to stay on a plan even if they are traveling long-term.

    Medigap Coverage Outside The Us

    If you have Medigap Plan C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, M or N, your plan:

    • Covers foreign travel emergency care if it begins during the first 60 days of your trip, and if Medicare doesn’t otherwise cover the care.

    • Pays 80% of the billed charges for certain

      medically necessary

      emergency care outside the U.S. after you meet a $250


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