Medicare Your Coverage Options

Three things to think about if you’re traveling and have Medicare

Written by Diane Archer
If you leave your home to visit friends and family outside of your community or simply go on an adventure, you should understand your Medicare coverage when you travel and make sure you have the health care coverage you need.
  • Travel within the United States: Whether you have coverage when you travel outside your community depends on whether you’re enrolled in traditional Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan.  With traditional Medicare, you’ll have the same comprehensive coverage anywhere in America, including Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the Virgin Islands.  If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you may only have coverage for emergency and urgent care outside your area.
  • Travel outside the United States: As a general rule, Medicare will not cover your care.  There are only limited exceptions.  However, if you have traditional Medicare and one of four Medicare supplemental policies (“Medigap”)—Plans C, G, M or N—you will have lifetime coverage for 80 percent of your care during the first two months of your trip, up to $50,000. And, if you need prescription drugs, there’s a great chance that you’ll be able to buy them abroad at a fraction of the cost you pay in the United States. Virtually every other country negotiates low drug prices on behalf of their citizens.
  • Medical travel insurance: There are lots of policies out there.  Some will reimburse you for the cost of your trip if you end up needing to cancel. Some will cover your care if you get sick abroad, or will refund you if you need to cut your trip short, or will cover the cost of an emergency plane trip home.  Click here to see travel insurance options from a range of different companies.

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