Does Medicare Cover my Health Expenses While I Travel in a Foreign Country or Should I Buy Supplemental Health insurance Designed for Travelers?
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UPDATED: Aug 13, 2020
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In most situations, Medicare won’t pay for health care or supplies—including dialysis and prescription medicines—obtained outside the United States. However, Medicare may cover some medically-necessary health care services you get on a cruise ship if the ship is of U.S. registry which few are.
Some Medigap (supplemental health insurance) plans pay a portion of the billed charges for certain medically-necessary emergency services outside the U.S. You must have already met your deductible for the year and the medical care must occur during the first 60 days of your trip. Consult your plan for specific coverage details.
Other private medical insurance policies may reimburse you for medical expenses while away, but it is critical for you to check with your insurer before you go. You might consider purchasing private health insurance specifically designed to cover foreign travel if you find that your current plan does not provide adequate coverage and if you are worried about paying for emergency medical care while abroad.
Whichever insurance policy you are relying on, always read all of the fine print in the contracts to determine the deductibles and the dollar limits on coverage. If you do purchase travel insurance, do so through a third party rather than from the cruise line or tour operator. Some credit card companies also provide free travel insurance if you use the card to book your trip.