Traveling with Medicare: How It Works When You’re on Vacation

If you have an upcoming trip, the one thing you should never forget to consider is your healthcare. Whether you’re heading out of town or out of the country, are you sure you’ll be covered at your destination?

Here’s what you need to know about Medicare when you travel.

Traveling Within the United States

Original Medicare

If your vacation won’t be taking you outside the country, there’s not much to worry. Original Medicare beneficiaries will receive the same coverage wherever they are in the United States and its territories.

Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap)

Since Medigap plans supplement the coverage you receive from Original Medicare, it follows similar rules when it comes to travel. As long as you’re inside the U.S. your Medigap plan will be right along with you.

Medicare Advantage

If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan instead, the specifics of your coverage will depend on the plan you have. Some plans won’t cover you if you’re traveling out-of-state. There are also plans that provide coverage outside their area but it might come at an extra cost. You may also be asked for additional requirements before your trip for coverage to apply while you’re traveling.

Check with your provider to get the details about your coverage on the road. But no matter what kind of Medicare Advantage plan you have, you’ll be covered if you need urgent or emergency medical care wherever you are in the country.

Taking a Vacation Overseas

Original Medicare

If your travels take you outside the U.S., Medicare will not cover medical expenses unless it’s during these very specific situations:

  1. You’re traveling between Alaska and another part of the U.S. through Canada. If a medical emergency occurs while you’re still in Canada, Medicare may provide coverage. However, this will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
  2. You’re on a cruise ship that’s still in U.S. waters or within six hours of a U.S. port. As long as the ship’s doctor is legally allowed to provide medical care, you will be covered for any necessary medical services.
  3. You’re traveling in the U.S. and you experience a medical emergency. If a foreign hospital is closer, Medicare will provide coverage for your treatment there.
  4. You live in the U.S. and a foreign hospital is the closest hospital to your home. Even if it’s not an emergency, your healthcare costs will be covered by Medicare.

Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap)

Some Medigap plans may provide coverage for emergencies while you’re traveling overseas. However, there will be limits that depend on the plan. Make sure to check what rules apply to yours.

Medicare Advantage

When it comes to international travel, the same restrictions that apply to Original Medicare will also apply to a Medicare Advantage plan. But similar to Medigap, there are plans that will cover certain medical expenses even if you’re not in the United States. 

No matter where you’re headed off for vacation, it’s always a good idea to be prepared. Get in touch with the Benefit Link and we’ll help you understand your Medicare coverage so you can decide if you need anything extra such as travel insurance. That way, you can enjoy some peace of mind during your holiday.

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It can be difficult to know whether or not you have proper coverage, but we can help! It’s our passion to provide peace of mind and ensure that you are well informed of your options and receive the best possible rates. Please feel free to call us at anytime, even if it’s just to chat.