Medicare Coverage and Travel Abroad

Most seniors use the opportunity of retirement to travel for the vacations that they have always dreamt of during their working years. Some others live on the outskirts and cross borders routinely as they go about their lawful business. If you are hoping to take Medicare benefits abroad with you, then choosing the right type of plan to buy will help you a lot.

Medicare covers expenditures incurred in the US (including Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the US Virgin Islands except in the following cases:

– A patient travels from Alaska to the nearest US state without undue delay through Canada, experience a medical emergency and a Canadian hospital that can treat their condition is closer than an American hospital. Medicare decides on a case-by-case basis what constitutes an inappropriate delay.

– A Medicare patient is getting sick or injured in the US, and there is a foreign hospital that is closer than the nearest US hospital.

– There is a foreign hospital that is closer to a patient’s place of residence, regardless of whether a particular emergency occurs or not.

In addition, Medicare can not cover prescription drugs purchased outside the United States.

If you are on a cruise ship in a US port or no more than six hours away from the United States, Medicare will cover for any medical services you receive as long as the provider is legally able to provide services at sea.

Note that foreign hospitals do not need to submit Medicare claims. If you cannot get a hospital in the US to submit your application, you will need to provide a detailed bill for the services provided.

Standard Medicare Supplement Plans C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, M, and N cover 80% of certain medically necessary services outside the United States after you pay $ 250. These plans cover you during your first sixty days of travel and only if Medicare does not otherwise take care of the treatment. There is a $ 50,000 lifelong limit for emergency travel abroad. Please note that dialysis is only covered in an emergency. Enroll for 2019 at

Services abroad are often covered by Medicare Advantage, especially in the event of emergencies. However, there are usually additional fees if you see providers outside the network of your plan. For specific information, review the coverage or summary of the performance documents of a plan. If in doubt, always call and speak to a representative of your provider.

If you enrolled for a Medicare Advantage Plan, it may cover for health care outside of their area of service. Some plans could affect providers who are outside the network or outside your coverage area, but with a higher cost sharing. Your plan may impose other restrictions or rules such as prior approval. Check your plan to know the charges and rules apply when traveling within the country.

Note that Medicare Advantage plans are expected to cover urgent care and emergency treatment in any location in the United States without incurring coverage rules or extra costs.