Americans are traveling in record numbers these days, with many citing pent up demand after a long COVID-19 quarantine. Travel experts have been touting the importance of trip insurance, which may be more important than ever with all the flight cancellations and delays we’ve been experiencing lately. Insurance buys you peace of mind in case anything goes wrong. That’s why it’s especially important to make sure your medical insurance covers you when you are away from home. For retirees this can be complicated depending upon which type of Medicare you have.
As CNBC discovered, if you have basic Medicare – Part A (hospital coverage) and Part B (outpatient care) – you are covered within the United States and its territories. You can go to any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare (and most do), whether for routine care or an emergency. However, basic Medicare does not cover travel outside the U.S. except in limited circumstances, such as when you’re traveling from state to state but the closest hospital to treat you is in a foreign country (i.e., you need to be treated in Canada because you were in Alaska returning to the lower 48 states.)
Medigap (supplemental policy) could provide some coverage outside of the United States. Generally, this coverage applies only to medically necessary emergency care and there may be restrictions so it is important that you study up before you travel to see what coverage, if any, your plan provides.
Medicare Advantage plans also come with a wide range of rules. They are required to cover your emergency care anywhere in the U.S., but other than that you are on your own if outside of your service area. This may be something to keep in mind if you are a “snowbird.”
Regardless of what type of Medicare plan you have the experts warn that foreign hospitals will not file a claim for you. If you are traveling abroad, you might want to consider purchasing a travel medical plan or a trip insurance plan that includes emergency medical care.
If you are considering buying a travel medical plan, the experts say make sure it covers pre-existing conditions as well as Covid.
Do you take your chances, or do you purchase travel medical insurance to make sure you are fully covered in case of an emergency? Message The Seniors Trust on Facebook or Twitter and let us know what you think is best.