Original Medicare’s travel health coverage varies from extensive to non-existent. There are a few options to cover you when you’re traveling in and out of the U.S.
Medicare has the widest network of doctors within in the United States, therefore you will be covered anywhere you travel in the U.S., as long as the doctor or hospital accepts Medicare.
Conversely, in most cases, Original Medicare will not cover any foreign health emergency outside of the U.S. and its territories, including cruising.
The U.S. Passports and International Travel stresses that, “Medicare does NOT cover health care overseas. We highly recommend that you obtain health insurance to cover emergency medical and dental treatment and for medical evacuation to the United States.”
3rd party travel insurance is an option for anyone that wants to add coverage at the last minute. This travel insurance does not always cover pre-existing conditions and can be rather tricky when it does. First, you have to be medically stable and able to travel at the time of purchase, as well as, at the time of travel. On top of this, travel insurance can be very expensive, sometimes up to 11% of your total trip cost.
One final warning, if you don’t estimate your trip cost properly they don’t have to cover your preexisting condition either.
Medicare Advantage plans have a small network of doctors and hospitals. Therefore if you are traveling outside of your home state/network you most likely will not be not covered in the U.S. However, MA plans may cover you if you have emergency while traveling outside the U.S. It is important to remember that Medicare Advantage plans are not standardized, so you will have research this before choosing a plan.
Go here to see a Medicare Advantage Overview.
Medigap has the same network of doctors and hospitals in the U.S., therefore you can travel anywhere within the States and your coverage is the same. As for emergency care when traveling outside of the country, 7 out of the 11 standardized Medigap plans cover foreign emergencies and health services.
Medigap Plan F is the most comprehensive by covering your Medicare co-pays, deductibles, and extra hospital days, as well as Medigap Plan F plan will cover up to 50k in foreign medical bills (as long as it is within the first 60 days of your departure.) Click here for a Medigap quote.
To learn more about protecting yourself against medical emergency costs while traveling beyond the U.S. borders call 800-930-7956 or contact Senior65.
By sarah on April 06, 2017
My husband suffered a brain injury with subdural hematoma and frontal lobe hemorrhage secondary to a skull fracture 2 weeks ago. He has been in a ICU in Florida but lives in PA and is now responding to commands but still on a ventilator with a tracheostomy. He will likely be discharged to rehab in the next 2-3 weeks. His family is in PA and they have no where to stay with him in Florida. Are there any circumstances under which Medicare would cover air ambulance to PA since his recovery is likely to be protracted?
By James White on February 25, 2017
My wife is listed for a kidney transplant at Banner Hospital in Tucson. We were called to the hospital on Monday, 2/20/17 to receive the transplant, and immediately flew there. After waiting all night, the surgeons came the next morning to tell us the donated kidney was not viable. At that point, all we could do was to be discharged and return home. We had to arrange dialysis there and return home the following day. Will Medicare or our supplemental plan J compensate us for any of this expense?
By Ken on January 31, 2017
I have Medicare (original) and a supplemental, plan G. I had a medical emergency while on a cruise. I was attended to by the ship's doctor who also required an ultrasound from a provider at the next port (equipment that is not available on the ship). I received a bill for services from the ship's doctor and a bill from the doctor who performed the ultrasound. I submitted a claim to my supplemental insurance company . They only reimbursed me for the services of the ship's doctor and not for the services for the doctor who did the ultrasound. When I asked why the answer was "we don't pay for anything that Medicare doesn't cover". Medicare doesn't cover any foreign travel; Supplemental covers it and the only limitations that I have ever seen for foreign travel is that there is a $250 deductible and then a 20% co-pay. Who can I appeal this to?
By ken on January 31, 2017
I have Medicare (original) and a supplemental, plan G. Is it true that only doctor's services are covered for foreign travel. and not medications and supplies that the doctor deems necessary?
By Victoria Pomeroy on January 13, 2017
I may have to have surgery soon - I live in Pennsylvania - but since I don't have family here I would like to have the surgery in Memphis (where my son lives). Currently, I think my deductibles are paid by Access (Medicaid), and I know that they do not pay for out-of-state care. If I have surgery in Memphis, will Medicare pick up all of it or do I have to pay some kind of deductible?
By Howard Mathews on November 29, 2016
is there any medigap coverage plan that will cover one after 60 days out of the country?
By Carolann Pepe on November 05, 2016
I have medicare part A and B and supplemental.. I live in Florida ..would I be covered if I choose to see a specialist out of state .
By Rosalie on October 19, 2016
I have Medicare as my primary and Plan f as my supplement. Am I covered when traveling out of the country? Do I need to buy additional insurance? Thank you, Rosalie Kleopfel
By Alice and Jerry Moye on July 14, 2016
We are going to Canada . We both have Medicare and a secondary insurance do we need travel insurance?
By Nora C Hamer on July 10, 2016
Does Medicare cover emergency medical evacuation costs from a US passenger ship within the US to a Medicare authorized hospital if the medical treatment aboard the ship if advised by the ship's medical staff? I'm asking specifically about a vacation river cruise on a US registered vessel sailing on a US river within the boundaries of the US.
By firstname.lastname@example.org on May 16, 2016
MY dad has medicare and medi-cal or medi/medi in CA, while visiting Mobile AL he had a stroke and has been in ICU, they now say he needs rehab or hospice becuase he had a massive stroke cant move his face/mouth or eat and is not responsive so they also gave him a surgery and he now has a cathether to feed him. They want to get him out of hospital release him and says his medicare wont cover any rehab or hospice in AL, what can we do- he cant talk walk speak or eat, so how do we get him help or back to CA where he has coverage. otherwise they just drop him off at my aunts house and we are on our own and he could die.
By Lisa Glastein on March 30, 2016
My husband and I have medicare as our primary in addition to secondary and tertiary insurance. We have purchased travel health insurance to act as primary when we are out of the country. If we required treatment while we were abroad that had to be continued once we return home; does medicare then become primary? I was told that the travel health insurance only covers you while you are abroad. A friend was hurt while away. They did not have appropriate medical help for her and it was better to stabilize her and have surgery at home in the States. When she got home medicare said that because treatment was given abroad they were not responsible for covering her treatment. what does one do to avoid that situation?
By Karen Buchholz on February 17, 2016
I have Plan F Medigap Insurance. Does this plan cover medical evacuation costs when traveling internationally?
By Sue on January 16, 2016
while in Florida I developed a blood clot in my leg. I was admitted to hospital. Stayed overnight and the next day I was told I needed to stay an additional 3 days in order for the medication to work. I have been through this before and asked to be put on a different medication and released. The Doctor okayed this and I was released. Will Medicare pay for this?
By Mary on December 02, 2015
My mom is 77, we are from Oregon, visiting my daughter in Fl she fell and had Emergency surgery then developed several blood clots in her lung ended up in ICU and now they found a mass also in the lung, cancer, and her doctor wants her to go on hospice here in Fl. Does hereMedicare follow her or do I have to change from Oregon to Fl
By EMILY DUTCHER on July 19, 2015
I live in NYS but the surgeon is in Arizona that may be willing to remove my cavernoma. If I travel to Arizona to this doctor, would the surgery be covered?
By Elsie on May 29, 2015
Hello, My mom is traveling. She has a medicare advantage plan that does cover emergencies for out of the counrty travel but she also purchased travel insurance. Both are claiming that the other is primary. Who is primary?
By Melissa Caston on April 21, 2015
If I have Medigap Plan F do I also need travel insurance?