Emergency Medicare

Read this before travelling out of the U.S. with Medicare

by Amy De Vore+ on Jul 10, 2013

If you have Original Medicare and are travelling outside of the country, are you covered? With few exceptions, no. We’ll explain how Medicare works with foreign travel.

Medicare Health Care Coverage Outside of the U.S. Very Limited

In most cases Medicare will not cover any foreign health emergency. Again, there are exceptions to this, I’ll get into that in a moment. Let’s first discuss what outside the U.S. means. This would be 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.

If you need to sign up for Medicare go to our Medicare Overview Page.

In Which Cases Would Medicare Cover You During Foreign Travel?

There are three situations in which Medicare may cover you for foreign care.

1) You’re physically in the U.S. when you have a medical emergency, however a foreign hospital is closer than the nearest U.S. hospital.
2) You are in Canada while travelling “without reasonable delay”** to or from Alaska and another state when a medical emergency occurs. The Canadian hospital may treat you if it is closer than the nearest U.S. hospital. than the nearest U.S. hospital that can treat your illness or injury.
3) You live in the U.S., however a foreign hospital is closer to your home than the nearest U.S. hospital. In this case you can seek medical care regardless of whether it’s an emergency.

It is important to remember that Medicare will only cover medically-necessary Medicare Approved services and medical care in foreign hospitals

**Medicare determines what qualifies as “without unreasonable delay” on a case-by-case basis.

What Happens if You’re on a Cruise and Have an Emergency?

Medicare more than likely will not cover medically necessary emergency care on a cruise boat. The following two examples are the exceptions:

• If the doctor is allowed by certains laws to provide care on a cruise ship
• If the ship is in a U.S. port or no more than 6 hours away from a U.S. port when you get the services, regardless of whether it’s an emergency.

Medicare doesn’t cover health care services you get when the ship is more than 6 hours away from a U.S. port.

If You’re a Senior and like to Travel What Should You Do?

There are two options for seniors looking for medical insurance when travelling outside the U.S.

• Seniors can get a comprehensive Medigap Plan like Plan F, which covers foreign emergencies and health services. Medigap plans offer up to 50k in coverage and cover you if your medical emergency occurs within the first 60 days of travel.

• Seniors can get a Medicare Advantage Plan that allows for foreign emergency coverage. However, most Medicare Advantage Plans do not offer nationwide coverage, so this is something to think about if you for those who like to take road trips or visit relatives out of state. Even though you’ll be covered in France, you might not be covered in Arizona.

To learn more about protecting yourself against medical emergency costs while travelling beyond the U.S. borders call 800-930-7956 or contact Senior65.

Print Friendly Version

Reader Comments and Questions

(Click here to leave a comment)

Leave a Question or Comment Below

If you would like to receive an instant answer, try our new answerbot to the right! --->

We are a small but energetic team! If you are already working with an insurance agent, please direct your question to him or her.

If you do not have an agent (or you are unsatisfied with your agent's knowledge or service), shoot us your question below and consider enrolling in a plan through Senior65! For more check out "Why work with Senior65?"












We will not publish your last name or email if you submit this form.



It's 100% FREE to work with Senior65

Call our licensed agent today at 800-930-7956. Click here to learn 5 great reasons to work with Senior65.com