Senior citizens with primary Medicare are eligible to travel anywhere across the U.S as well as its territories and have an access to doctors and hospitals for any medical emergency.
So, in case you want to travel to Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, etc., you’ll still be covered with the policy.
But what if you want to travel to a foreign country on Medicare?
Typically, Medicare doesn’t offer care for foreign travel. However, you can find some exceptions, like cruise ship care while within the territorial waters of U.S or emergency service occurring while a person is on the route to the United States & the nearest hospital is available in a country like Canada. But, it’s wise to be prepared & not assuming any Medicare assistance while outside the country.
Additionally, both the health insurance plans that come under Medicare offer limited emergency benefits while a person is on foreign travel.
Medicare Advantage Plan for Foreign Travel:
A number of Advantage plans in Medicare offer seniors with emergency coverage across the globe. Most times, a foreign hospital is likely to bill your carrier for you. Hence, make sure you keep the Advantage card with you. There’s a possibility that health care providers in the foreign country won’t bill your insurance company. In this case, you need to keep receipts of each care. Also, your insurance broker can assist you in submitting these to your carrier for reimbursement after you return back.
Again, note that this is in case of an emergency. The coverage can only be used for unexpected situations, not for regular visits to the doctor of the foreign country.
Medicare Supplement Plans for Foreign Travel
There are people who don’t favor Advantage plans because of the network limitations or their preferred healthcare expert who do not wish to participate in the given plan. If you are one of these people, you may want to stay with your basic Medicare. If you pick one of the 10 available supplemental plans which come with foreign travel benefits, it’s very much possible to travel without any concern.
These plans can pay as much as 80 percent of the costs when it comes to any medical emergency after the deductible of $250.
The supplemental plans do have some restrictions though. Your chosen plan will pay only for emergencies that occur inside the first 2 months of your stay outside the country. Also, there’s a lifetime benefit restriction of up to $50,000. This might add up rapidly. If you’re traveling to a foreign country for a longer duration, it would be wise to first contact your travel agent to get details on some short-term medical coverage policies that can offer you extra emergency benefits during your international stay.