Travel Insurance for Medicare Beneficiaries

Most people like to travel and go globetrotting after they retire and have all the time in the world. However, at this point in time, the mind is usually willing but the body is never at its peak. This is why it is good to know what aspects of your healthcare that your Medicare policy will and will not cover for you while outside the confines of the United States of America. With your original Medicare Coverage, Part A or Part B, you will not be able to access emergency medical services outside the US. Your prescription coverage, Medicare Part D, is also rendered useless once you cross the U.S border into another country. The only way to ensure that you are actually protected is to sign up for Medicare Supplement Plans. These are Medicare covers separate from your original Medicare that covers your healthcare needs once your original cover runs out.

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Medigap and Foreign Travel

Original Medicare Covers pay for all of your medical needs within the United States. However, in the following cases, they can kick in and cover up to 80% of your emergency care costs.

  • If you are a U.S resident but your nearest hospital is in the next country
  • If you fall ill within the U.S but the nearest hospital facility that can actually treat you is outside the U.S in another country
  • On a cruise ship. However, you need to be less than six hours from the nearest U.S port
  • If you are driving the direct route between the state of Alaska and the continental U.S

The meaning of this is that Medicare will only cove you if you are on your way to Alaska or on a short cruise. It is in other scenarios separate from this that Medigap becomes quite valuable

Getting Medigap for Travel Overseas

The Medigap policy officially kicks in where your Medicare policy stops. It helps to cover out of pocket costs like copay, coinsurance, and deductibles among other things. There are 10 Medicare Supplement Plans. Of these, 6 cover your emergency care while in a foreign country up to the limits of your plan. They are Medigap Plan C, D, F and High Deductible F, G, M, and N. there are people that are covered by the older plans E, H, I and J. these also provide Medigap coverage while outside the U.S they are however not sold anymore in several of the States.

What Medigap Travel Insurance Covers

Medigap is only designed to cover you in case of emergencies, it will not cover routine medical procedures or tests. Features of the cover include

  • A $250 deductible
  • A lifetime limit of $50000
  • It covers travel emergencies in foreign countries during the first 60 days of your trip
  • It pays 80% of your bill for necessary emergency medical care

The plan has its limitations and as such, is not the best alternative for individuals taking extended trips. If you are living overseas, then it is best to get covered by the country you are currently residing in.

Why do you need to go for Medicare supplement plans?

What are ​Medicare supplement plans?

​Medicare supplement plans are known to be such a policy that is there to pay for your various health care cost which is not generally covered by your original medicare. Some of these health care costs are deductibles, coinsurance, copayments etc. This is also known as Medigap policies which are basically sold by the private companies.

More information on it

  • You are supposed to purchase both the Medicare part A and part B. On the other hand, in case you already have a Medicare Advantage Plan, you are still allowed to apply for the Medigap policy but you have to leave the advantage plan just before acquiring the other one.
  • You need to pay a private insurance organization some monthly premium for the acquired Medigap policy. It is also important to know that a single Medigap policy is likely to cover a single person. Hence if you are married, then you need to go for separate policies for both of you. Moreover, you are advised to buy your Medigap policy from such a company or organization that is licensed or authorized.
  • There are various insurance plans available which are not Medicare supplement plans and you should know about such plans. Some of these plans are long term care insurance, union or employer plans (such as Federal Employees Health Benefits Programs), Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, Medicare Advantage Plans (such as Private Fee for Service Plan, PPO or HMO etc), Urban and Tribal Indian Health Plan, Indian Health Services etc.

Dropping your whole Medigap policy

If you want a completely new Medigap policy or drop the Medicare Supplement Plans 2018, then you are really required to be very careful about timing. You are just supposed to pay some kind of late enrollment penalty if you want to join some new Medicare plan provided one of the below described things apply:

  • You want to drop your whole Medigap policy and drug coverage was never really creditable prescription drug coverage.
  • On the other hand, in case you go 63+ in a row before your actual Medicare coverage begins.


You should know that Medigap policy generally does not cover various things such as private duty nursing, hearing aids, eyeglasses, dental or vision care, long-term care etc. Before you opt for the Medicare supplement plans, it is really important for you to explore all the essential information about this policy. This way you will be able to know the pros and cons of this plan. On the other hand, you will also be able to compare this plan with other medical health plan available out there.