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Medicare and Traveling Abroad

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Judi Woods

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Medicare and Traveling Abroad

What does Medicare pay for outside the United States?


Medicare usually doesn’t cover health care while you’re traveling outside the U.S. There are some exceptions, including some cases where Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) may pay for services that you get on board a ship within the territorial waters adjoining the land areas of the U.S. However, Medicare won't pay for health care services you get when a ship is more than 6 hours away from a U.S. port.


This means that Medicare will not pay for any medical services you receive while traveling abroad. Medicare will not pay for medical services you receive in a foreign hospital, doctor’s office, or other health care provider. 


Medicare will not pay for ambulance transportation, prescription drugs, medical supplies, or any other medical services you receive while traveling abroad. This includes medical services you receive while on a cruise ship, even if the cruise ship is in U.S. territorial waters.


Medicare Advantage plans typically do not cover medical costs incurred abroad. However, some plans may provide coverage for emergency medical care while traveling abroad. It is important to check with your plan to see what coverage may be available before traveling. Medicare Advantage plans may also offer coverage for medical evacuation and repatriation in the event of an emergency.


Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) pays for medical care while you are traveling abroad, but only in very limited circumstances. It will cover you only if you need emergency or urgently-needed care while traveling outside of the United States and its territories. Medigap will also cover you if you are traveling between Alaska and another U.S. state. You must be enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B to be eligible for Medigap coverage while traveling abroad.


To learn more about your choices, download this guide or give us a call today, you'll be glad you did. 



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