Is your Medicare coverage good outside the U.S.?
by Sandra Teel
Medicare insurance broker
Many people choose to live outside the U.S. when they retire. But before anyone decides to move, he or she needs to know what Medicare covers. In most situations, Medicare doesn’t pay for health care or supplies received outside the U.S.
The term “outside the U.S.” 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. People will need to plan for another type of health insurance if they permanently move to another country. Here are some questions to consider:
“What if I live abroad on a temporary basis and/or travel back to the U.S. frequently?” Medicare typically does not cover medical care received outside the U.S. However, people may want to keep paying for Medicare if they plan to move back to the U.S. in the future or if they visit frequently. Paying the premium when abroad will ensure that Medicare will cover their care whenever they travel to the U.S.
“What if I am only visiting another country?” Some Medicare Advantage Plans and Supplemental Plans offer emergency coverage in a foreign country. To be sure of what is and isn’t covered, people should look up their specific plan or contact their insurance broker to find out what is covered.
“What if I’m on a cruise ship and need medical attention?”
Medicare may cover medically necessary health care services on a cruise ship in the following situations: 1) The doctor is allowed under certain laws to provide medical services on the cruise ship. 2) The ship is in a U.S. port or no more than six hours away from a U.S. port when the services are performed, regardless of whether it’s an emergency. Medicare doesn’t cover any health care services when the ship is more than six hours away from a U.S. port.
Anyone who still has questions or seeks advice should visit www. medicare. gov or contact a Medicare specialist.
Sandra Teel is a Medicare insurance broker who can be reached at (657) 204-4224 or (909) 856-9379.
Don't forget to check your coverage before traveling abroad.