Medicare supplemental plans (Medigap) and Foreign Trips? Pt 1
Does Medicare provide coverage internationally?
If you are looking to travel abroad during your retirement, you may be wondering if your Medicare insurance will take care of your health needs in another country. Generally, Original Medicare does not cover the health benefits you receive when traveling outside of the United States and its territories (Puerto Rico, Guam, the US Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa).
Original Medicare may pay for them in very limited circumstances for hospital, medical, emergency or dialysis services that you receive outside of the United States and its territories.
You are in the USA and you had a medical emergency, but close enough to the border that the nearest hospital is outside the US. Or live near the border and the nearest hospital you can treat (it does not matter if it’s an emergency) is outside the US.
You are traveling “directly fromCanada” between Alaska and another US state and you will have a medicalemergency if you are in Canada. If the nearest hospital in Canada is closerthan the nearest hospital in the United States, Medicare can provide emergencycare. For 2020 get a medicare supplement plan to plan for the future.
You are on a cruise in the territorial waters of the US land areas and you can reach a US port within 6 hours. In this condition, Medicare may cover medically necessary services received on board the ship. You are not insured if your ship is more than 6 hours from the closest US port.
Other than these situations, Medicare generally does not offer international coverage and does not pay for medical care outside of the United States. In addition, Medicare plans that cover prescription drugs will not cover prescriptions that you purchased outside of the United States. Therefore, if you have Medicare or are almost qualified for Medicare and want to travel abroad, it is important to consider providing supplemental insurance to protect you in the event of a medical emergency outside of the United States.
What options do I have for Medicare travel abroad?
While Original Medicare covers international health insurance only in certain circumstances, some Medicare supplement plans include emergency coverage for overseas travel when you are out of the country. If you have Original Medicare and want to travel abroad frequently or for extended periods, it can be considered a Medicare Supplement Plan that works in addition to your Part A and B insurance. Medicare supplement plans are offered by Medicare carriers. Private insurance may cover the cost of certain services that are not covered by Original Medicare, which includes cost sharing and emergencies medical care services outside the borders.
There are 10 Medicare supplement plans available in most states, and each plan is labeled with a letter of the alphabet (e.g. Medicare Supplemental Plan G). In 47 states, the services are standardized for each type of plan. In other words, a Medicare F Supplemental Plan in California has the same benefits as a Plan F in New York. An exception is if you reside in Minnesota, Wisconsin, or Massachusetts. These states provide their own standardized policies.