Most people like to travel and go globetrotting after they retire and have all the time in the world. However, at this point in time, the mind is usually willing but the body is never at its peak. This is why it is good to know what aspects of your healthcare that your Medicare policy will and will not cover for you while outside the confines of the United States of America. With your original Medicare Coverage, Part A or Part B, you will not be able to access emergency medical services outside the US. Your prescription coverage, Medicare Part D, is also rendered useless once you cross the U.S border into another country. The only way to ensure that you are actually protected is to sign up for Medicare Supplement Plans. These are Medicare covers separate from your original Medicare that covers your healthcare needs once your original cover runs out.
Medigap and Foreign Travel
Original Medicare Covers pay for all of your medical needs within the United States. However, in the following cases, they can kick in and cover up to 80% of your emergency care costs.
- If you are a U.S resident but your nearest hospital is in the next country
- If you fall ill within the U.S but the nearest hospital facility that can actually treat you is outside the U.S in another country
- On a cruise ship. However, you need to be less than six hours from the nearest U.S port
- If you are driving the direct route between the state of Alaska and the continental U.S
The meaning of this is that Medicare will only cove you if you are on your way to Alaska or on a short cruise. It is in other scenarios separate from this that Medigap becomes quite valuable
Getting Medigap for Travel Overseas
The Medigap policy officially kicks in where your Medicare policy stops. It helps to cover out of pocket costs like copay, coinsurance, and deductibles among other things. There are 10 Medicare Supplement Plans. Of these, 6 cover your emergency care while in a foreign country up to the limits of your plan. They are Medigap Plan C, D, F and High Deductible F, G, M, and N. there are people that are covered by the older plans E, H, I and J. these also provide Medigap coverage while outside the U.S they are however not sold anymore in several of the States.
What Medigap Travel Insurance Covers
Medigap is only designed to cover you in case of emergencies, it will not cover routine medical procedures or tests. Features of the cover include
- A $250 deductible
- A lifetime limit of $50000
- It covers travel emergencies in foreign countries during the first 60 days of your trip
- It pays 80% of your bill for necessary emergency medical care
The plan has its limitations and as such, is not the best alternative for individuals taking extended trips. If you are living overseas, then it is best to get covered by the country you are currently residing in.