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Seniors Beware: Medicare doesn’t cover you outside the U.S.

1 June 2011
Seniors Beware: Medicare doesn’t cover you outside the U.S.

Original Medicare is a fee-for-service health insurance plan managed by the U.S. Federal government. On top of Original Medicare, there are Medicare advantage plans, which are health plans offered by private companies approved by Medicare, and Medigap policies, which are private health insurance policies sold to fill the gaps in Medicare.

  • Some Medicare Advantage plans provide worldwide coverage benefits for senior health care insurance needs, but you will have to verify with your plan prior to traveling outside the US to be sure.
  • Some Medicap policies (C, D, E, F, G, H, I and J) provide Foreign Travel Emergency health care coverage for travel outside the U.S. Under these plans, Medigap policies pay 80% of the cost of emergency care during the first 60 days of each trip after a $250 deductible. A lifetime limit of $50,000 applies.

Medicare does not cover health care services when you are outside the US Specifically, it does not provide international travel health insurance coverage except when you are within:

  • the US Virgin Islands
  • Guam
  • American Samoa
  • the US Northern Mariana Islands
  • inside the US borders

Some exceptions for Travel in Canada and Mexico

There are a few exceptions in cases of travel to Canada and Mexico. In some cases, Medicare can pay for inpatient hospital services in these countries if:

  1. You live in or are inside the U.S. and need medical care, but the closest hospital is in Canada or Mexico. When the foreign hospital is closer and easier to get to than one in your home country, Medicare may pay for those services. (Please note the ‘may.’)
  2. You are crossing through Canada without delay between Alaska and another state and you need medical care. If a Canadian hospital is closer or easier to get to than the nearest US hospital, Medicare may pay for those services. (Again, please note the ‘may.’)

Cover Medical and Evacuation for Just Dollars per Day

Travel medical coverage – even for seniors – is really a ‘no-brainer’ decision because it gives you loads of important medical coverage for just a few dollars a day.

Let’s take a look at an example to prove our point.

Say you’re 70 years old, traveling from your hometown in Florida and spending a month in Australia with an old military buddy who has retired there.

You don’t want trip cancellation coverage, but you do want good medical and evacuation coverage. Running these trip details through a comparison engine, we came up with some quotes.

TinLeg LuxuryMedical evacuation: $250,000
Primary medical coverage: $100,000
Pre-existing conditions included (if purchased within 14 days of trip deposit)
$54
Seven Corners Roundtrip BasicMedical evacuation: $2500,000
Primary medical coverage: $100,000
Pre-existing conditions included (if purchased within 14 days of trip deposit)
$33
Worldwide Trip ProtectorMedical evacuation: $1,000,000
Primary medical coverage: $100,000
Pre-existing conditions included (if purchased within 21 days of trip deposit)
$51
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Damian Tysdal
Author
DamianTysdal

Damian Tysdal is the founder of CoverTrip, and he believes travel insurance should be easier to understand. He started the first travel insurance blog in 2006.

Damian Tysdal is the founder of CoverTrip, and he believes travel insurance should be easier to understand. He started the first travel insurance blog in 2006.