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Does Medicare cover illness overseas?

Just the Essentials...

  • Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans cover health care only in the United States and all U.S. Territories, except in very specific circumstances.

  • If you are a frequent traveler, a Medigap supplemental plan or a Medicare Advantage plan may be right for you.

Does Medicare cover health care treatments when travelling outside the country?

Traveling is a goal for many people when they get older and then enter retirement or change their work schedule. But what happens if illness or injury strikes during an overseas trip? Does Medicare cover you when traveling overseas? This article looks at your options for making sure you’re covered whenever and wherever you travel.

Curious about your coverage options while travelling? Call (800) 950-0608 to speak with a live agent.

How does Medicare address overseas coverage?

Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans cover health care in the United States and all U.S. Territories. When it comes to receiving care for a a medical emergency outside these location, Medicare will cover care if: 

  • The closest hospital is outside the United States and you need care.
  • You need care on a cruise ship in the territorial waters of the U.S. and it is more than six hours from a U.S. Port.
  • You require urgent care needed on a journey through Canada straight to Alaska or back, where a Canadian hospital is closer than an American one.

These circumstances are very rare for most people.

If you’re looking for coverage outside the U.S. because you are a frequent traveler or are preparing for an overseas trip, you will need to explore your coverage options through Medigap plans and Medicare Advantage.

Medigap and Overseas Illness Coverage

Medigap is a supplemental insurance plan that works to “fill the gaps” of Original Medicare. It is designed to cover costs that are not covered by Medicare Parts A and B. It covers many extra costs, not just those related to health care received while travelling. 

When an illness occurs overseas, Medigap will cover urgent or emergency care during the first 60 days of the trip, so it is an excellent options for seniors who know they will be travelling otuside the country. Medigap pays 80% of the charges billed for medically necessary care outside the United States after a $250 annual deductible.

Medigap emergency coverage does have a lifetime limit of $50,000, so it is important to note that coverage in generally intended to be used in emergencies. 

If you are planning an overseas vacation, it’s a good idea to research a Medigap plan that will give you peace of mind to travel at ease.

Do Medicare Advantage plans cover overseas care?

Close up of a senior woman wearing jacket and backpack standing outdoors. Smiling senior woman hiker standing outdoors with fog in the background.

Medicare Advantage plans function similarly to traditional insurance plans and often offer extra benefits that Orignal Medicare and Medigap do not, like dental and vision coverage. A Medicare Advantage plan will replace Medicare Parts A and B, and may include additional coverage related to overseas travel. Seniors who are looking to travel during their retirement may wish to explore Medicare Advantage plans to see if there are any available in their area that offer foreign care coverage.

Because Medicare Advantage plans are offered by different insurance companies, their policies on benefits and overseas illness coverage vary. PPO plans have more flexibility in terms of seeing a medical provider outside your network, but may charge higher copayments or coinsurance. HMO plans will cover emergency care, but generally do require you to see a provider in their network. Some plans have destination limitations, service limitations, or may require that services are paid for upfront and reimbursed once an itemized bill is submitted.

It’s important to carefully review each available plan before making any purchasing decisions.

Choosing the right Medicare Advantage plan can be difficult. Compare plans using our free quoting tool or call out hotline at (800) 950-0608 for live assistance.

Get the coverage you need to feel safe on vacation.

Whether you choose to enroll in Original Medicare and use Medigap to cover travel,  or if you prefer to find a Medicare Advantage plan that includes all the benefits you need, we’re here to help.

Travel is a priority for many people, especially after retirement, and it’s one of the many reasons why finding the right type of Medicare insurance coverage is crucial and challenging.  Call us at (800) 950-0608 or feel free to send us a quick message. Our team of Medicare experts can help you find the plan that will fit your needs.

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