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Medicare May Not Cover You Outside of the U.S. Thumbnail

Medicare May Not Cover You Outside of the U.S.

While some Medicare Advantage plans cover international travel, it’s important to note that original Medicare does not. So if you are a senior citizen planning a trip abroad, it would be wise to consider international travel health insurance for U.S. citizens. Medicare does not cover any medical care services when you are outside the U.S. International travel health insurance coverage is provided only when you are within the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Northern Mariana Islands, and anywhere inside the U.S. borders.

Exceptions with Medicare

A few exceptions exist in cases of travel to Canada and Mexico. Medicare can sometimes pay for inpatient hospital services in these countries if the following conditions are met:

  • You live in or are inside the U.S. and need medical care, but the closest hospital is in Canada or Mexico. When the foreign hospital is closer/easier to get to than one in your home country, Medicare may pay for those services.
  • You are crossing through Canada without delay between Alaska and another state and you need medical care. If a Canadian hospital is closer/easier to get to than the nearest U.S. hospital, Medicare may pay for those services.

Remember that these exceptions are not guaranteed, so Medicare may or may not come through for you in an emergency medical situation in Canada or Mexico.

Medicare Advantage plans

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, it should provide worldwide coverage benefits for senior health care insurance needs, but always verify this with your provider before you leave the country. Certain Medicap policies (C, D, E, F, G, H, I, and J) provide foreign travel emergency health care coverage for travel outside the U.S. These policies typically pay 80 percent of the cost of emergency care during the first 60 days of each trip (after a $250 deductible), and be aware that a lifetime limit of $50,000 applies.

If these plans don’t apply to you, then you will have to consider other options for medical coverage while traveling abroad. Although Medicare covers you in the U.S. and its territories, once you cross the border, you will be on your own. Travel medical coverage for seniors can provide peace of mind at a low cost, so ensure that wherever your next trip may take you, you are covered.

Planning a Trip Abroad? Steps to Purchase the Right Travel Insurance Thumbnail

Planning a Trip Abroad? Steps to Purchase the Right Travel Insurance

There’s nothing like the excitement of planning a trip overseas. It’s easy to get carried away with the anticipation, and while you may already have a checklist going (you do, don’t you?), you might be forgetting an important piece of the proverbial travel puzzle: travel insurance.

Travel insurance for US citizens?” you might be asking. I have insurance. Well, if you’re a US citizen you know how complicated health insurance can be domestically, and if you have a medical condition of whatever stripe or severity, you know navigating the insurance system doesn’t always mean a straight line. What happens if something happens to you overseas? Here are three simple steps you can take to give yourself peace of mind. You’ll be happy you prepared, especially if you need to visit a doctor overseas.

Make a list of potential issues

Are you traveling alone, or with your family? Regardless, you should make a list of potential issues that might arise abroad. If someone has a pre-existing condition, note that. Are you planning to play a sport abroad? Even something as seemingly benign as hiking could lead to a sprain or break. What happens in that case? Make a note of your recent visits to the doctor, say over the past twelve months, and the conditions that took you there. Could they recur? What happens if they do, and where will you find treatment abroad if so?

Contact your insurer

Look at your current plan and contact your insurer to see what’s covered, if anything, for overseas travel. We strongly recommend you contact your insurer and ask specific questions in preparation, as often the terminology can be confusing in writing. Be sure to ask what medical costs are covered outside the country, and for the international number to contact the insurer should something happen while you’re overseas.

You’ll also want to ask about medical transportation coverage. Typically the emergency need for transportation back home is covered by emergency ambulance service, but transportation and treatment are separate insurance benefits. Consider how expensive it might be should you need emergency care, hospitalization, and repatriation from a foreign country. This could easily cost tens of thousands of dollars, and who has that in their budget? Even if you do, I’m guessing you wouldn’t want to spend it that way.

Talk to an expert

Securing travel insurance for US citizens has its complications, but the process doesn’t need to be a headache. Fortunately you don’t have to become an expert in travel insurance to secure yourself against a financial disaster. At Insurance Services of America, we make health insurance for foreign nationals as easy as ready, set, renew. Call (800) 647-4589 or 01 (480) 821-9052 to learn more.

The Myth of “Free” Medical Care Overseas Thumbnail

The Myth of “Free” Medical Care Overseas

First thing’s first: unless the hospital or doctor is literally giving it away, there’s no such thing as “free” medical care. Somebody pays for it. In the United States, we know there’s a vast system of insurers and government programs. Elsewhere, taxpayers cover the bill, as in the case of the United Kingdom. So, let’s say you’re traveling to Old Blighty (that’s London) – why should you purchase travel insurance (for examples, Atlas Travel Insurance)? Won’t you be able to drop into an emergency room and receive treatment? The answer is… maybe, and are you willing to risk your financial well-being (not to mention your health) on a maybe? If you’re on the fence about whether you need travel insurance, here’s a quick list of things to think about when planning a trip overseas:

Imagine the worst

Nobody expects it to happen, but let’s say you look left when you’re supposed to look right, and a double-decker bus clips you. Now you’re in the UK, so medical care is covered, but will you be able to finance the cost of time spent abroad in recovery? Which leads to point #2:


If you’re unable to recover… those are very large buses… travel insurance will typically cover repatriation of your remains. It’s a pretty dark thought, but bad things happen. On a less morbid note, travel insurance will also often cover a return trip to the country if you’re in need of an emergency evacuation. That also applies for situations in a country abroad where you’re unable to access a hospital (e.g. a helicopter picks you up on a remote Scottish island… it could happen). Without travel insurance such as Atlas Travel Insurance, you’ll be left with the bill and possibly facing bankruptcy.

Non-emergency treatment

In some countries emergency treatment is covered but non-emergency treatment is not for non-residents. Do a bit of research and find out what the situation is in the country you’ll be visiting.

Unexpected Detours

In an emergency your flight might be re-routed. What happens if you end up in an unexpected country, perhaps with injuries, or if you or a loved one becomes ill on the flight?

What to do?

At Insurance Services of America, we make travel health insurance as easy as ready, set, renew. Call (800) 647-4589 or 01 (480) 821-9052 to learn more!