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Traveling Outside of the U.S? Make Sure That You’re Covered

Written by Evens Stevenson

For retirees, travel is often a favorite past-time – and certainly summertime is a great time of year to do so. This is especially the case if you are traveling overseas. Yet, there is always so much to do when planning that big trip!

medicare with out of country travelIf you’re planning a trip this year that will take you outside of the U.S., there is quite a bit that will need to be done before heading out of the door. In addition to the regular amount of packing and scheduling, there will also be the issue of ensuring that your passport is up to date. Anyone who are covered by Medicare health care coverage will also want to be sure that you check into Medicare coverage outside of the U.S., and consider obtaining additional health insurance coverage as well – at least until you return home.

The good news is that because you’re covered by Medicare, your health care services – and qualifying supplies – are already covered when you are here in the United States. This also includes when you are in additional areas such as the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa.

However, when you are traveling overseas and completely outside of the United States – including to Mexico and Canada – you need to ensure you have the Medicare coverage to protect you.

In most instances, Medicare will not pay for the health care services or the supplies that you receive outside of the United States, other than in very rare and exceptional circumstances. Therefore, because the coverage provided through Medicare outside of the U.S. is so limited, it is important to consider a travel insurance policy, or a Medicare Supplement insurance plan which covers foreign travel.

For example, Medicare Supplement Plan F, G and N all pay for 80% of the billed charges for certain types of medically necessary emergency care that is needed outside of the United States after the insured meets an annual deductible of $166 for plans G and N. These plans will cover foreign travel emergency care – provided that it starts during the first 60 days of the insured’s trip, and provided that Medicare itself does not otherwise cover the care.

Medigap Plans E, H, I, and J are no longer for sale, individuals who purchased these plans in the past can still keep their coverage – and coverage can still be used for foreign travel emergencies.

Foreign travel emergency care coverage that is offered via Medicare Supplement insurance policies has an overall lifetime dollar amount limit of $50,000 for the insured.

Which means that anything above that will be your responsibility to pay for. Depending on the situation, your foreign emergency care could leave you with some massive bills.

Foreign medical expenses play a huge role in deciding which supplemental insurance policy is right for you, but those travel medical expenses isn’t the only thing. You’ll also have to factor in your health, budget, and your options.

Before you purchase a plan based solely on foreign health care expenses and its coverage of it, think about your health. The worse your health, the more insurance coverage you need.

Travel can be expensive, are you still going to have the additional money to spend on supplemental insurance? Take time to look at your budget and decide how much additional coverage you can afford. Everyone would like to have the all-inclusive Medigap Plan F that fills every gap, but that additional coverage is going to cost more than a basic Medicare Plan A.

Taking the time to fully plan out your health care coverage prior to leaving on your overseas vacation or trip abroad will help you to have a much more enjoyable and relaxing time. You won’t have to worry about any health emergencies ruining your trip.

Traveling is a great way to spend your retirement or to get away and relax, but having emergency medical expenses can quickly turn that vacation dream into a nightmare.

If you’re ready to get the perfect supplemental plan or you still have questions, feel free to contact us. We can help connect you with the perfect Medigap policy to fit your health care needs based on your budget, travel, and health.

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