Traveling with Original Medicare and Medicare Supplements
June 7, 2022 | Kathy Ingulsrud
Ready to fulfill your travel bucket list? Have your destination set and your passport in order? Have you considered your Medicare health coverage for your upcoming trip? We have you covered. Here is everything you need to know about your Medicare coverage and travel.
Not all Medicare plans travel the same. The main takeaway is to make sure you understand your plan’s rules and guidelines when traveling. It is also important to be prepared in the event of an accident or a medical emergency when you are on the road.
Selecting a plan with sufficient coverage when leaving your designated service area is a significant factor. If you plan to be wintering or vacationing longer than a couple of weeks, you’ll want to be appropriately covered. At Twin City Underwriters, we work with you to ensure you have adequate access to care when traveling.
Traveling with Original Medicare
Original Medicare consists of two parts. Part A, which covers hospital services, and Part B, which covers doctor’s visits and other medical services.
Original Medicare is designed to cover healthcare needs within the United States and territories. That means when you are overseas or outside U.S. borders, even emergency care is not available on Original Medicare.
However, over time, a few unique exceptions have emerged. When you’re contemplating a cruise or travel across northern and southern borders regularly, take note:
- If you are in the U.S. or within one of the U.S. territories and have a medical emergency, but the closest hospital is in a foreign country (i.e. near the borders of Mexico or Canada) emergency care is covered as though in the U.S.
- If you’re traveling to Alaska from one of the U.S. states and have a health emergency in Canada, required care is covered.
- If you are on a cruise ship that is within 6 hours of a U.S. Port, Medicare will cover necessary care.
Traveling with a Medicare Supplement (Medigap Policy)
Medicare Supplements or Medigap plans can vary throughout the country. In most states, different Medigap plans are identified by letters (A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M and N).
The state of Minnesota is somewhat unique when it comes to Medigap policies. The most common Medigap plans include: Basic, Extended Basic, High Deductible Plan and Medicare Supplement with Copayments (Plan N).
Some Medicare supplement plans provide enhanced overseas coverage benefits. This can be particularly appealing for travelers who plan longer than average trips. For instance, one plan may cover 80 percent of all medically necessary medical care, whereas another plan will only cover 80 percent of medically needed emergency care received outside the U.S.
Some offerings require an extra deductible to access the care. Plans may have a time limit, where care needs to be accessed in the first 60 days of the trip. Other carriers have lifetime limits on coverage.
Each of these plans will have differing out-of-pocket costs associated with health care. If you are evaluating future travel overseas, call us to talk about your options.
- Traveling Domestically: When traveling within the United States on original Medicare and a Medicare Supplement, you will have access to care just as you would in the area you reside. This provides ample access to care and flexibility.
- Traveling Internationally: When traveling outside the United States on original Medicare and a Medicare Supplement, you will generally have foreign travel emergency coverage and potentially medical coverage depending on your Medigap plan.
Want to learn more about Medicare? Sign up for a FREE Medicare informational session and get all your Medicare questions answered. Online and in-person options are available.
What other coverage options do I have?
If you are booking a stay longer than a week or two, or an international trip, travel health insurance can keep potential healthcare emergency costs manageable. Keep in mind that travel healthcare insurance is different from flight or travel logistics insurance. Travel health insurance is surprisingly affordable, and comprehensive in many countries.
Learn more about travel insurance here.
Choosing a Medicare plan can be difficult. Twin City Underwriters helps Medicare recipients in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Florida find the Medicare plan that meets their unique needs. Schedule a one-on-one meeting with one of our Medicare insurance brokers to get your questions answered!