What is Medicare? It’s a health insurance program that provides coverage to those age 65 or older and those who have certain disabilities. For it to be fully effective, you must enroll in the plan and pay premiums on time throughout your lifetime. If you are traveling outside of the United States and want to keep your coverage, there are some things you need to know about this cover and foreign travel. This blog post will discuss what eligibility requirements you should meet before traveling abroad, how much coverage will cost while abroad, and other important information related to foreign travel with Medicare.
What does it Cover While Abroad?
US Medicare offers coverage to those traveling outside of the country for no more than 45 days, only if you meet certain requirements. These requirements include:
1. You must be eligible for Medicare and enrolled in a plan prior to leaving the US.
2. Your trip must not be for any business or professional purposes.
3. Medical care provided by local doctors, hospitals, clinics, etc., should not cost more than your deductible and coinsurance costs in the US.
4. You are expected to need no outpatient medical services or hospitalization while you are abroad.
5. You must have a signed and dated letter from your physician stating that the trip is medically necessary, how long you need to stay outside of the US, and that they believe you will not need outpatient medical treatment during this time. This letter must be written on your doctor’s official letterhead.
6. Finally, several foreign travel companies are licensed to provide Medigap plans for foreign travel, including International Healthcare Benefits. International customers must purchase their coverage before leaving the United States.
What are Medicare’s Foreign Travel Costs?
If you do not meet all of these requirements, your trip will be considered a “business” trip, and medical insurance abroad will no longer apply. Also, if you are traveling outside of the US for more than six months, this cover will no longer cover your trip. Assuming all requirements have been meeting, you can expect your insurance plan to provide coverage abroad only up to the 20% coinsurance required by this cover. If you travel outside the US for less than six months but more than 45 days, your deductible will also be applied (if applicable), and your plan may not cover 100% of your medical costs. If you plan to stay abroad for longer than six months, no Medicare coverage is provided while you are outside of the United States.
Is your Medicare coverage sufficient while you are abroad?
If you are 65 or older, Medicare is your primary health coverage while travelling to other countries. If necessary, you can supplement this with a Medigap plan (although it usually only applies within the United States) and an additional insurance policy that covers healthcare costs abroad. There are many international medical plans available for purchase, including offerings from AXA PPP International and Cigna Global. To find the plan that best suits your needs, it is recommended to speak with a licensed insurance agent who specializes in Medicare coverage for foreign travel.
Is my coverage affected by the Affordable Care Act?
The majority of people who are eligible for this cover will not have their benefits affected in any way by the ACA because they have their coverage through the original cover program. However, suppose you are covered by a Medigap policy or receive your benefits from an insurance company instead of SSA. In that case, you will need to check with them in order to determine how eligibility may change under the new healthcare legislation.
What happens when I travel outside of the US, and my passport is lost or stolen?
If this unfortunate situation occurs, you must contact SSA to file a report as soon as possible. They will then send you the necessary documentation that proves your coverage remains active while abroad and can be used by anyone who is traveling with you. This document should include all of your relevant policy information, including Group numbers (Part A), contract numbers (Part B), and claim numbers (Part D).
Where can I get more information about traveling abroad with Medicare?
Going abroad is a lifelong dream for many people, and under the right circumstances, you should be able to take advantage of your Medicare benefits while abroad. If you have not chosen the medicare plan you can do that by visiting ClearMatchMedicare. Just remember that if you plan to stay outside of the US for more than six months, your coverage will end automatically after that time limit has been reached.