Planning to Travel After Retirement? This is the Best Medicare Coverage for You
Does Medicare insurance go with you once you are out of the country? It’s currently open enrollment period, and while planning to review your coverage, this should be one of the questions that you ask yourself.
There are a lot of factors that come into play where coverage, when you’re not in the United States, is concerned. It is dependent on your travel destination, whether or not you’re on Original Medicare, or if your benefits are via Medicare Advantage. And although seen rarely, it can also depend on whether the medical care you receive is routine, or has been necessitated by an emergency.
You may be thinking to yourself that taking out travel insurance would save you from having to deal with all this, right? But seeing as it is an extra expense, it is prudent to assess whether you truly need it. Why spend more over nothing?
Original Medicare, as you already know, comprises of Parts A and B whose coverage includes hospital care and outpatient care respectively. Most Medicare beneficiaries on this plan often pair it with Part D for prescription drug coverage.
If this happens to be your insurance plan, then you’re good to go anywhere within the United States borders. Should it be a routine check-up or even an emergency, any hospital (or doctor) that accepts the national insurance program will attend to you.
Outside the country, however, is where things get a little bit murky. On the overall, Medicare does not cover you if you happen to not be within the US. However, there are certain exceptions to this.
If you’re in the high seas but as close as 6 hours to a US port, then Medicare has you covered. Additionally, if you are moving across different states but the nearest hospital you can rush to is outside the country then you’re covered. Such a situation is when one is in Canada, with Alaska being their destination from the conterminous United States.
Of the over 60 million Medicare beneficiaries, a third of them are on Medigap, whose policies only pair with original Medicare. The thing with some of these policies is that they cover you even when you’re traveling. You only have to pay annual deductibles worth $250, then supplement them with 20% of total accrued costs for a $50,000 lifetime maximum.
You may not cover the whole amount, especially if you are in perfect health for your age, making this a viable option for some beneficiaries. Some retirees spend their golden years traveling the world, and if you just so happen to be one of them, then Medigap is for you.
All the same, Medicare agent Roger Luchene says that the $50,000 supplement isn’t designed for you to have expensive treatment abroad, but rather meant to keep you healthy enough for you to get home and get treated here.
We did say that original Medicare doesn’t work overseas, right? Well, neither does Part D. If you need to buy prescription drugs while abroad, this will have to be an out-of-pocket expense. Medigap won’t help you either because its policies do not cover any costs related to Medicare Part D, be it in the States or overseas.
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