What to expect from Medicare when traveling

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Traveling within the United States compared to another country can impact your Medicare coverage in different ways. Here are some things to expect when traveling in each category.

Traveling within the U.S.

Traveling within the U.S. includes not only all 50 states, but the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands. As long as you are being treated by a doctor(s) that accept Medicare, then your medical costs will be covered as it normally would be with your original primary care physician. 

Traveling outside of the U.S.

When traveling outside of the U.S., your coverage can be very different, but there are a few, rare exceptions where Medicare will provide you with coverage for inpatient services, doctors, ambulance services, or dialysis.

  • If you are in a critical situation while traveling in the U.S. but the closest hospital to you is in a different country, then you can be treated at that hospital and still be guaranteed coverage.
  • If you are traveling in Canada when you experience a medical emergency, but the closest hospital to you is in Canada rather than the U.S., then you can be treated at that hospital.
  • Whether or not you have an emergency, if you have a medical condition that needs to be treated but the closest hospital to your home is in a different country rather than the U.S., you can be treated at that hospital.
  • If you happen to be traveling on a cruise ship, Medicare will not pay for any medical services if the ship is more than 6 hours away from any U.S. port.

It’s also important to note that any plan that is used to cover prescription drugs will not be covered if you have to buy them while outside the U.S. However, depending on what Medicare Supplement plan you have, you may or may not receive coverage while traveling outside the U.S. The supplement plans that will provide coverage outside the U.S. include Plans C, D, F, G, M, and N. If your insurance company still provides Plans E, H, I, or J and you are enrolled in one of them, then you will also be covered. These plans will cover your emergency expenses if it happens within the first 60 days of your trip and 80% of medically necessary charges after you meet a $250 deductible.

Questions about travel coverage?

Bobby Brock Insurance offers Medicare help for free! If you need help comparing Medicare plans to find which one gives you the coverage you not only want, but need, then give us a call today at 662-844-3300.

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Justin Brock

President & CEO of Bobby Brock Insurance