By ManagedCareBiz Team
If you’re thinking about retiring outside of the United States, it’s important to know all about your health care options. Will Medicare cover your health care costs abroad? Here are 8 things to consider:
- Medicare coverage outside of the U.S. is limited. In most situations, Medicare will not pay for your health care costs or the medical supplies you get outside of the U.S. — that means anywhere other than the 50 states of the U.S., the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands.
- If you are hospitalized outside of the U.S., Medicare may pay for certain types of Medicare-covered services, but there are only 3 conditions in which this applies:
– You have a medical emergency while in the U.S., and the foreign hospital is closer than the nearest U.S. hospital that can treat your illness or injury.
– You’re traveling through Canada without unreasonable delay by the most direct route between Alaska and another state when a medical emergency occurs, and the Canadian hospital is closer than the nearest U.S. hospital that can treat your illness or injury. (Medicare determines what qualifies as “without unreasonable delay” on a case-by-case basis.)
– You live in the U.S. and the foreign hospital is closer to your home than the nearest U.S. hospital that can treat your medical condition, regardless of whether it’s an emergency.
- Medicare will only cover dialysis treatments under the conditions stated in #2 above.
- Medicare drug plans do not cover prescription drugs you buy outside the U.S.
- If you are on a cruise ship, Medicare may cover medically necessary health care services you get if (a) the doctor on board is allowed under certain laws to provide medical services on the cruise ship, and (b) the ship is in a U.S. port or no more than 6 hours away from a U.S. port when you get the services, regardless of whether it’s an emergency.
- If you get Medicare-coverage services outside the U.S., you are still responsible for paying the coinsurance or copayments and deductibles you would typically pay for if you receive these same health care services or medical supplies within the U.S.
- If you have a Medigap or Medicare Supplement Insurance policy, you may have additional coverage for health care services or medical supplies that you get outside the U.S. Standard Medigap plans provide foreign travel emergency health care coverage when you are outside the U.S.
- If you have a Medicare health plan such as a Medicare Advantage Plan, you may have additional coverage health care services or medical supplies that you get outside the U.S. Check with your plan before traveling to know what specific services are covered.