Does Medicare Cover You While You Travel?

Medicare Benefits Solutions
Aug 31, 2021

Many people have several trips that they want to take in retirement. But when you want to hit the open road, you might wonder if your Medicare plan covers you while you travel. Well, it depends on a couple of things. 

  • Are you traveling within the U.S.? 
  • Are you traveling internationally? 

Let’s break down if you’re covered while traveling with Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, and Medicare Part D plans. 

From our video series

Does Medicare Cover You While You Travel

Original Medicare While Traveling

Generally, if you have Original Medicare, you will receive the same Medicare benefits out of state throughout the U.S. That includes U.S. territories and districts, such as: 

  • Washington, DC 
  • U.S. Virgin Islands 
  • Puerto Rico 
  • American Samoa 
  • Guam 

Does Original Medicare Cover International Travel?

Simply put: Original Medicare does not cover international travel. There are a few exceptions to Original Medicare coverage overseas: 

  • If you live in the U.S., but a foreign medical option is closer to you than in the U.S. 
  • Special circumstances while on a cruise that is within six hours of arrival or departure of a U.S. port 
  • Traveling from Alaska to another U.S. state, through Canada. 

If you do receive these types of services outside the U.S., your Original Medicare deductibles and copayments will apply. However, you will need to get an itemized bill from the hospital, doctor, specialist, ambulance, or any other health service you received. Then, you’ll need to send that documentation over to Medicare yourself. Hospitals outside the U.S. do not send those documents to Medicare like doctors within the U.S. 

So, if you know that you will be traveling abroad in the coming years, it might help to look at other health plans, like Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement, for coverage.  

Traveling with Medicare Advantage Plans

Traveling within the U.S. works a little differently with Medicare Advantage plans. Private companies administer Medicare Advantage plans and may or may not cover services outside service areas. Some plans may cover out-of-network services, but with higher copayments or coinsurance.  

Each Medicare Advantage plan has different rules for traveling. Check with your Medicare Advantage plan to understand how they handle traveling within the U.S.  

Medicare Advantage and International Travel

Some Medicare Advantage plans may offer additional benefits for international travel in addition to what’s covered in Original Medicare. For some plans, if you receive any health services, you may have to pay upfront and your plan will reimburse you.

Contact your Medicare Advantage plan provider to find out what benefits it offers in terms of international travel. 

Medicare Supplement and International Travel

If you have a Medicare Supplement plan, you may receive coverage for emergency health services if traveling outside of the U.S. Medicare Supplement Plan D, F, G, M and N plans may include:

  • Coverage for emergency care if it’s received during the first 60 days of your trip and if Medicare doesn’t cover it otherwise
  • Payments for 80% of the billed charges for emergency care received outside of the U.S. after you’ve reached the $250 deductible for the year.

Also, most Medicare Supplement plans have lifetime limits of $50,000. Talk with your Medicare Supplement plan provider before your trip to check benefits. 

Prescription Coverage (Medicare Part D) While Traveling

Private companies also provide Part D prescription drug coverage. So, as with Medicare Advantage, check with your specific Part D plan to see if they cover travel. For international travel, Part D plans don’t cover prescriptions, typically.  

Find a Plan That’s Right for You

We understand that health coverage while traveling is a real concern for many. If you know you have a few trips on the calendar and want to find a plan that ensures you’re covered—let us know. Give us a call at (833) 319-0475 (TTY 711) to speak with one of our licensed sales agents.

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