If you are a senior with Medicare health coverage and you are planning to travel outside the United States, you need to read this article!
Medicare Coverage Outside the United States is limited. In most situations, Medicare won’t pay for health care or supplies you get outside the U.S. The term “outside the U.S.” means anywhere other than the 50 states of the U.S., the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands.
There are a few exceptions that would allow you to get coverage outside the U.S. under Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and/or Part B (Medical Insurance), but you need to understand this is very limited. These are the three situations when Medicare may pay for certain types of health care services you get in a foreign hospital (a hospital outside the U.S.):
- You’re in the U.S. when you have a medical emergency, and the foreign hospital is closer than the nearest U.S. hospital that can treat your illness or injury.
- You’re traveling through Canada without unreasonable delay by the most direct route between Alaska and another state when a medical emergency occurs, and the Canadian hospital is closer than the nearest U.S. hospital that can treat your illness or injury. Medicare determines what qualifies as “without unreasonable delay” on a case-by-case basis.
- You live in the U.S. and the foreign hospital is closer to your home than the nearest U.S. hospital that can treat your medical condition, regardless of whether it’s an emergency.
Remember, in all these situations, Medicare will pay only for the Medicare covered services you get in a foreign hospital.
The out-of-pocket medical costs you will need to “pay up front” when you find yourself in a foreign hospital could turn your dream vacation into a financial nightmare. The cost for quality supplemental medical insurance which will cover many of the catastrophic medical expenses you could encounter, are quite reasonable and well worth the investment.
A seasoned travel professional can help you shop for the best overseas medical coverage to consider. Whether you are going on an excursion abroad or just a cruise around the Caribbean, you should take a few minutes to consider this valuable medical cost protection. Don’t allow an unforeseen medical calamity to become your unthinkable financial nightmare when you travel.