Skip links

Medicare and Summer Travel

Are you getting ready to take a summer vacation?  

If you plan to travel, did you know you may not have the same health coverage while away? People enrolled in Medicare might want to take another look at their policy to ensure they’re still covered throughout summer travels, especially for overseas trips. 

If you are traveling to another state and have original Medicare, you are still covered and can get treatment anywhere that accepts Medicare. 

Part D drug coverage, however, is sold by private insurance companies, and each policy is different. You need to reference your policy to know how or if your drug coverage will change if you travel out of state. 

The same goes for Part C if you have a Medicare Advantage Plan. Specifically, with a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll want to know if there are in-network providers in the location you’ll be traveling to or how your expenses may change.

It’s imperative to know how your coverage changes if you plan on traveling internationally. With rare exceptions, original Medicare won’t cover you at all while you are outside the country.   

Medigap plans C, D, F, G, M, and N, cover 80% of your medical expenses for necessary care while you are outside the United States. That’s good, but you are still on the hook for the remaining 20%, and these plans have a lifetime cap of $50,000. As with Medicare Advantage plans, you’ll want to review your plan coverages before you leave so you can plan appropriately. 

If you aren’t comfortable with the coverage Medicare provides during international travel, consider getting travel insurance. This is special-use insurance that will cover medically necessary expenses in the case of an emergency. These policies typically don’t cover routine medical expenses, so plan your trip around scheduled medical care. A travel insurance policy is meant to pay for things like injuries and unexpected hospital visits. 

Some plans cover routine expenses, however, so you could search for a plan that does if you’re going to be gone for a longer period and think you might need it.

Also, don’t forget about your health savings account! In addition to being a great savings vehicle to pay for medical expenses tax-free, HSAs also provide you with a ready source of funds to pay for medical expenses while traveling. This could be enough to bridge the need until you return. 

As long the expense would ordinarily qualify for HSA reimbursement, it qualifies internationally. Don’t forget to pack your HSA card! Even if you have an excellent Medigap policy or plan to purchase travel insurance, your HSA can be a good backup.

Finally, ensure your credit and debit cards don’t have international transaction fees. If your card does, transferring money to a specific account that you’ll use on your trip may be worthwhile to avoid. 

Some credit cards will also offer trip insurance. If you have one that does, you’ll probably need to use that card to book all of your travel and lodging expenses for it to be covered. Know your benefits so you can use them effectively! 

If you have any questions or need help planning insurance coverage for your trip, reach out today. 

Leave a comment