Do Medicare Supplements Cover Medical Expenses Overseas?
Many Medicare Supplement plans cover foreign travel emergencies. While Medicare itself does not cover medical expenses incurred while traveling abroad, except in rare circumstances (detailed below), many of the standardized Medicare Supplement plans do cover this. Below, you will find information about the situations in which Medicare itself covers foreign travel, the Medicare Supplement plans that cover it and what exactly that coverage entails.
Does Medicare Cover Foreign Travel Emergencies?
As a general rule, Medicare Parts A & B do not cover foreign travel. However, there are some relatively rare circumstances, during which Medicare DOES cover health care received in a foreign country. Keep in mind that this is just for Medicare – information about the Medicare supplement plan’s coverage for health care received abroad is detailed below. Also, of special note, in all three circumstances listed below, Medicare will pay only for the Medicare-covered expenses received in a foreign hospital.
- You’re in the U.S. and you have a medical emergency. The foreign hospital is closer than the nearest U.S. hospital that can treat your illness or injury.
- You’re traveling through Canada between a U.S. state and Alaska when a medical emergency occurs. The Canadian hospital is closer than the nearest U.S. hospital that can treat your illness or injury.
- You live in the U.S. and the foreign hospital is closer to your home than the nearest U.S. hospital that can treat your medical condition(s), regardless of whether it’s an emergency.
Again, it is important to note that Medicare will pay only for Medicare-covered expenses that you receive while receiving care at a foreign hospital.
Which Medicare Supplement Plans Cover Foreign Travel Emergencies?
Many Medicare Supplement plans do cover foreign travel emergencies, or health care received for an illness or injury while in a foreign country. The standardized Medicare Supplement plans did change as of June 1, 2010, so this information refers to the current “modernized” plans. The previous (for effective dates 6/1/2010 and before) standardized plans are different in some ways, so if you have had your plan since before 6/1/2010, you will want to check with the previous plan coverage chart.
Of the current plans, the Medicare Supplement plans that cover foreign travel emergencies are:
- Plan C
- Plan D
- Plan F
- Plan G
- Plan M
- Plan N
So for the Medicare Supplement Plans That Do Cover Foreign Travel, What is That Coverage?
For the Medicare Supplement plans mentioned above that do cover foreign travel, or health care received on an emergency basis in a foreign country, the coverage is relatively easy to understand. It is the same with each of the plans mentioned above. Details of this coverage follow:
- The need for coverage must be on an emergency basis (i.e. you can not plan a procedure or service overseas – it must be an illness or injury).
- First of all, there is a $250 deductible that must be met before benefits start.
- After that deductible is met, this foreign travel emergency benefit covers 80% of the next $50,000 (maximum lifetime limit).
- Two stipulations on this coverage are that the benefit doesn’t apply if the need for care occurs over 60 days into your trip or if Medicare itself is going to cover the charges.
This should help explain what the coverage is for the very confusing subject of “foreign travel emergencies”. This is one of the few things where the Medicare Supplement plans do not “follow” Medicare coverage. The foreign travel emergency coverage is included, on the plans that cover it, above and beyond typical Medicare coverage.
To get quotes on Medicare supplement plans or more information about foreign travel emergency coverage and which Medicare supplement plans cover these charges, get a Medigap quote or you can reach us by phone toll-free at 877.506.3378.
We look forward to helping you compare plans and serving your Medicare Supplement insurance comparison needs.