Medicare Coverage and Travel

In general, health care services you receive while traveling outside the U.S. aren’t covered by Medicare. Because of this, you should consider buying a travel insurance policy that includes health insurance.

Medicare may pay for inpatient hospital, doctor, ambulance services, or dialysis in a foreign country in these rare cases:

  • You’re in the U.S. when a medical emergency occurs, and the foreign hospital is closer than the nearest U.S. hospital that can treat your medical condition.
  • You’re traveling through Canada without unreasonable delay by the most direct route between Alaska and another state when a medical emergency occurs, and the Canadian hospital is closer than the nearest U.S. hospital that can treat the emergency.
  • 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, regardless of whether an emergency exists.

Be advised that foreign hospitals aren’t required to file Medicare claims so it is your responsibility to submit an itemized bill for the above situations.

Additionally, Medicare may cover medically necessary health care services you get on board a ship within the territorial waters adjoining the land areas of the U.S., but Medicare won’t pay for health care services you get when a ship is more than 6 hours away from a U.S. port.

Take note: In most cases, you pay 100% of healthcare costs outside of the U.S. and Medicare drug plans don’t cover prescription drugs you buy outside the U.S. Again, you’ll want to purchase a travel health insurance policy to cover any healthcare services you’ll need on your adventures.

To learn more about Medicare and travel, please visit the Medicare.gov website.

Information gathered from: Your Medicare Coverage