According to the AARP, an estimated 48% of baby boomers were expected to travel internationally during 2019.
Overseas travel may be one of the more popular aspirations in retirement, but it does beg an important question: Will your health insurance coverage travel with you?
Medicare Coverage Outside the U.S. is Limited
In most cases, Medicare will not cover costs for health care or supplies obtained outside the U.S. (including its territories), except in three situations:
- You are in the U.S. when a medical emergency arises and a foreign hospital is closer than a U.S. one.
- You are traveling through Canada on a direct route between Alaska and another state when an emergency arises.
- You live in the U.S. and a foreign hospital is closer to your home than a U.S. one regardless of whether it's an emergency.
Medigap Coverage May Travel with You
Medigap is supplemental insurance sold by private insurance companies, which are designed to fill in the “gaps” of Medicare coverage. If you own a Medigap policy, plans C through J offer travel emergency coverage. It has a $250 deductible with a $50,000 lifetime maximum. It will pay for 80% of emergency care and applies only during the first 60 days of the trip.
Travelers who do not have Medigap coverage, but have health insurance coverage through private plans, such as Medicare Advantage, should check their plan to determine coverage while traveling.
If you do not have coverage when traveling overseas, policies may be purchased that will cover medical expenses incurred outside the U.S., including evacuations.
1. AARP, November 2018
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