Medicare coverage when traveling: What to know

Pls share this post

Listen to this article

Your ‘golden years’ are often a time for grandchildren, new hobbies and traveling, whether as a couple or solo travel, which is on the rise according to Allianz Partners’ 16th Annual Vacation Confidence Index which reports a 23% rise in solo travel among seniors. 

But, whether you’re traveling in the U.S. or enjoying wanderlust abroad, be sure to know that your Medicare coverage likely won’t travel with you if you leave the U.S., according to 

An unexpected illness or accident while you’re on a trip in a foreign country could lead to hefty out-of-pocket expenses even though you’re enrolled in a Medicare plan. However, there are some exceptions, such as some scenarios where Medicare Part B (medical insurance) may pay for services when you get onboard a ship within the territorial waters adjoining the land areas of the United States. 

Here’s what to know: 

READ ALSO  HGTV stars take on real estate, use housing ‘hack’ to create affordability solution



To be best prepared when leaving the U.S, it can make sense to purchase additional coverage like travel insurance, regardless of the type of Medicare plan you have,  Susan Hirshman, director of wealth management at Schwab Wealth Advisory in Phoenix, told FOX Business. Specifically, read your policy documents to understand the scope, limitations and exclusions of a travel insurance policy. She noted that travel insurance generally does not cover prolonged care, and she stated “it’s for short-term emergency medical treatment that will get you well enough to return home.” 


One vacation choice that many senior travelers opt for is cruises due to value and the convenience of unpacking once and visiting several destinations in one trip. Before you embark on the high seas, medical coverage should also be on your cruise packing list. And, where you are sailing to is important if you are receiving Medicare. 

READ ALSO  U.S. economy adds 206,000 jobs; April, May revised down

“To qualify for Medicare parts A and B you must be in a U.S. port or no more than six hours away from one when you get the services,” said Hirshman. If your travels are taking you beyond these geographic terms, then travel insurance is vital. 

Hirshman also said if a senior travels internationally, they should be familiar with the coverage from any Medigap or Medicare advantage plans when they travel. “Evaluate coverage, and analyze if something were to happen to you, what is the risk of high out of pocket expenses?” Hirshman posed. 

“Many put hours into the research and planning of our travels, and you may want to consider taking a little extra time and analyze your health risk, current insurance coverage and possible gaps – because if you don’t pay attention these costs can be much greater than the difference between the price of a hotel on one site or another.”

READ ALSO  Late hedge fund billionaire and philanthropist had a 222-foot yacht called Archimedes


Coverage categories and levels of coverage will vary based on the provider and the specific travel insurance policy, but Scott Adamski, CPCU, head of global product development, AIG Travel and Travel Guard who is based in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, said there key ways that a comprehensive travel insurance plan can assist you if you are injured or fall ill in a foreign country:


Pls share this post
Previous article$2M Nantucket beach house sells for just $200,000
Next articleCelebrity vacation demands include private islands, butlers and vows of secrecy: expert