We often get asked if Medicare will cover medical expenses when traveling out of the country. The short answer is , it depends.
Original Medicare ( Parts A & B) allows you to travel anywhere in the United States and its territories and get medical care. In most cases, if you have a Medicare Advantage Plan ( Part C) your medical care – routine – will not cover you unless emergency care or urgent care is needed.
Private Medicare Plans – Medicare Advantage Plans – may not cover you for medical care outside of their provider network unless you have a plan that allows for coverage outside of the Medicare Advantage’s network. True emergency care will usually be covered. Always best to call your health plan before you travel to get the specifics.
According to the Medicare Interactive website ( www.medicareinteractive.org) Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans must cover you for emergency services in Canada and if you are outside of the US in the following limited situation:
You are traveling between Alaska or another state and the closest hospital to treat you is in Canada.
If you are on a cruise ship and need medical care, Medicare may pay if the following criteria is met:
- Ship is registered in the US
- Doctor is registered with the Coast Guard and,
- You receive the care while the ship is in US territorial waters – within six hours of arrival or departure from a US port.
If you are a Medicare Beneficiary, planing on foreign travel you should consider the purchase of a Medicare Supplement Plan that covers foreign travel. Medicare Supplement Plans C through G and M and N offer foreign travel. For specifics on the extent of the coverage, contact the Medicare Supplement Carrier or go to www.medicare.gov.