Post Last Modified – June 08, 2021
Travel Medical Coverage Facts With Medicare
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A Few Travel Medical Coverage Facts with Medicare For United States Seniors. Traveling the world during retirement is a dream that many Americans hold throughout their working years. It’s hard to visit remote places around the globe when we have just a few weeks’ vacation time each year from an employer.
But when we retire and enter our golden years, we finally can start planning to check out all the cool places that have made our bucket lists.
Let’s have a look at a few very important Travel Medical Coverage Facts regarding Medicare coverage when traveling throughout the U.S. and abroad.
Will Medicare Cover Me While I Travel?
Being away from home for any period of time takes planning and preparation. One of the items we’ve got to account for is, whether we have adequate medical coverage while we travel.
Most people who are aged 65 or older in America are covered by Medicare.
Medicare is also a United States based health insurance system, so it’s important to understand what’s covered both at home and while we are traveling abroad. Let’s review how Medicare covers healthcare when you’re travelling throughout the United States. versus overseas.
“Medicare is the United States federal government health insurance program for Americans who are 65 years of age and older. These benefits are intended to cover the costs of healthcare associated with advanced age.”
Merriam – Webster Dictionary
Travel Medical Coverage Facts In The United States
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Traditional Medicare contains both Part A benefits to pay for your hospital care, and Part B benefits to pay for your outpatient care. This means you have coverage for a huge array of medical services that include; skilled nursing, urgent care and emergency care.
Because Medicare’s network is nationwide, your Part A and B benefits will cover healthcare services anywhere in the United States.
You can seek treatment from over 800,000 providers while on Medicare.
This makes your Medicare benefits ideal for travel in the States. Not only will you have emergency coverage, but you can also see a doctor whether you are in Virginia, Washington, California or anywhere in between.
If you happen to be a snowbird and live in different states throughout the year, no worries, because you can see Medicare doctors no matter where you live.
When it comes to emergency care, Medicare Part A will cover hospital stays and your only cost-sharing for the first 60 days in the hospital is the Part A deductible. The deductible is set at$1364 for 2019.
For urgent care, E.R. visits and other outpatient services, Medicare covers about 80% of your costs. You are responsible for a $185 Part B deductible for 2019.
Before that, 80% coverage kicks in. You are also responsible for the other 20% coinsurance.
If this concerns you, don’t worry. Everyone has an opportunity to purchase a Medigap policy without any medical underwriting during the first 6 months. This, after your Part B effective date.
Most Medigap plans cover that Part B coinsurance and some cover your Part A and B deductibles too.
If you have enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, instead of staying with Original Medicare, be aware that these plans have networks which are usually based in your local residential area.
This means if you are traveling and you need treatment outside the network, you’ll need to consult your plan’s Summary of Benefits to see how your coverage works.
You may be subject to out-of-network charges on some plans.
However, all Medicare Advantage plans have worldwide coverage for medical emergencies.
So even if you are out of network for ordinary services, you can rest assured that you have emergency coverage anywhere you travel.
Medicare Coverage Outside The United States
Since Medicare is a U.S. program, you are generally not covered for healthcare services received outside our nation’s borders and/or territories. This means you will want to supplement your Medicare benefits with coverage that provides at least some protection when traveling.
Some Medicare supplements (Medigap plans) have a benefit built-in for foreign travel emergencies. This benefit will provide some coverage for foreign travel emergencies during the first 60 days that you are outside the U.S.
You are responsible for a deductible of $250 and then the benefit will pay 80% of your foreign emergency bills up to a maximum of $50,000 per lifetime.
Since the benefit is limited to the first 60 days, be sure that you consider how long you will be away from home. You may want to buy additional emergency coverage through a travel agent if you will be gone for a longer period of time.
On the other hand, if you enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan instead of Original Medicare and Medigap, then you will have that worldwide coverage for emergencies that we mentioned earlier.
Your Medicare Advantage plan will have its own rules about what your cost-sharing for this care may be. That’s why you should carefully review your coverage before embarking on your journey.
Foreign Travel Exceptions Under Medicare
Like any health coverage, there are some limited exceptions upon which Medicare may cover emergency care when you are technically not in the United States. This is usually only when you are en route somewhere, and the foreign hospital is actually closer than the nearest American hospital.
One example. let’s say you decided to take a trip to Alaska. You experience an emergency while you are traveling through Canada to get there, or on your way home from there.
Another example would be if you live near the border and you have an emergency, but the closest hospital is a foreign hospital instead of a U.S. hospital.
Photo by Monica Silvestre from Pexels
Since these are rare exceptions and are completely up to Medicare’s discretion, you should be aware of them but not count on them. Having some coverage such as a Medigap plan with a foreign travel emergency benefit is wise.
Danielle Roberts is a Medicare insurance expert, author and co-owner at Boomer Benefits. Her team helps baby boomers and seniors navigate their Medicare benefits across 47 states. She regularly appears as a guest expert on healthcare podcasts and radio shows.
Cover Photo by Asad Photo Maldives from Pexels
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I am happy to present this collaborative post in the hopes of offering some helpful travel inspiration and information to you. 🙂
Update – Covid-19 Corona Virus
I received an email from my guest post contributor recently regarding this most unfortunate pandemic around the globe. Her office at Medicare, have received numerous questions about Covid-19 and how / if Medicare and Telemedicine will cover it.
Below, is a link to a very in-depth article recently written by her, covering all the facts for people to read. It is titled – “Coronavirus, Medicare, and Telemedicine: Everything You Need to Know.”
🏥 Coronavirus, Medicare, and Telemedicine
I am sure we are all aware of the practices in effect for preventing this dreaded pandemic covid-19. As a quick reminder and especially if you traveling by air, rail or public bus;
☞ Wash your hands frequently and especially before eating; ☞ Carry hand sanitizer and use frequently; ☞ Avoid touching any surfaces used by others; ☞ Where a face mask indoors within public places and congestion; ☞ Practice social distancing regularly; ☞ Avoid large gatherings.
Above all, be safe and stay safe always. Let’s all work together and be rid of this horrible virus circulating the globe.
Safe and Healthy Travels! 🙂
✨ Did You Know …
“Scientific Research Has Proven Travel Vacations Reduce Stress, Keep Your Body Healthy & Boost Brain Health.”
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