Will Medicare Cover Me on Vacation?

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Many people love to travel both nationally and internationally during retirement. However, even on vacation, it’s important to prepare for any health issues that may arise. So, will Medicare cover you on vacation?

Medicare & Traveling

Medicare can provide coverage while you’re traveling. However, whether Medicare will cover you depends on a few different factors, including where you travel, the type of Medicare plans you have, and more. So, it’s good to do your research to see which plans are best for you before you’re eligible for Medicare: boomerbenefits.com/new-to-medicare/medicare-eligibility/

National Travel

Regarding national travel, Medigap plans and Part D plans offer the most comprehensive coverage. Advantage plans, on the other hand, typically do not.

Medigap Plans

If you have Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) and a Medigap plan, you have a lot of freedom to travel nationally while being covered. With a Medigap plan, you can see any healthcare provider in the U.S. that accepts Medicare. Most providers do accept Medicare, so you should have no issue finding a doctor while on vacation if needed.

However, the exact amount your plan will cover depends on the type of plan you have. Currently, there are ten Medigap plans to choose from with varying degrees of coverage. Plan G stands as a popular plan among Medicare beneficiaries.

This coverage applies to any U.S. territory as well, including Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and more.

Part D Plans

Part D plans also provide national coverage. However, each Part D plan has a network of approved pharmacies. So, you’ll want to check with your plan directly to see which preferred or standard pharmacies you can visit.

Advantage Plans

Advantage plans operate a bit differently. Unlike Medigap plans, Advantage plans operate within network areas, meaning you are likely limited to which healthcare providers you can see. Because of this, it can be challenging to have coverage while traveling with an Advantage plan.

Some plans may be a little more flexible when seeing out-of-network providers. However, those plans will charge you more money if you see a provider outside the plan’s network. So, if you travel a lot, an Advantage plan may not be the best fit for you.

International Travel

Although Medicare can provide comprehensive coverage while traveling in the U.S., it offers very minimal coverage for foreign travel. This is true for both Medigap plans and Advantage plans as well.

Medigap Plans

Specific Medigap plans can provide coverage for emergency medical situations while you are abroad, including Plan C, D, F, G, M, and N. However, there are specific guidelines in place you must follow.

For example, a Medigap plan can only provide coverage for emergencies if the medical care starts during the first 60 days of your travel. If a Medigap plan does provide coverage, it will pay 80% of the approved costs, leaving you responsible for the rest after you meet a $250 deductible first. However, this is only the case if Medicare will not pay.

Another point to keep in mind is you have a lifetime limit of $50,000 to pull from when traveling outside the U.S. After you use up this $50,000, it’s gone for good and cannot be used again.

Part D Plans

When it comes to international travel, Part D plans will not offer any coverage. This means you won’t be able to purchase more of your prescription medications while abroad. Therefore, you should ensure you have all the medications you need before traveling out of the country.

If you need to purchase a prescription medication outside the U.S., you will likely be responsible for the total cost.

Advantage Plans

Medicare Advantage plans do offer worldwide emergency coverage. The exact amount of coverage you may receive depends on your specific plan. To get a better idea of your costs, you should contact your plan directly.

Final Thoughts

Depending on your plans, Medicare can provide comprehensive coverage while traveling in the U.S. and U.S. territories. However, coverage is limited when traveling internationally, so you should expect to pay full costs if you only have Original Medicare.

When preparing to travel for vacation, it’s always a good idea to check with your specific plan and how you may be covered.