Senior Couple On Shore in Front of Cruise Ship

Medicare Foreign Travel Coverage

Medicare may provide foreign travel coverage outside the United States. To qualify for coverage, special circumstances apply. Otherwise, Medicare will not cover your health care outside the US.

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Medicare Foreign Travel Coverage

Medicare may pay for services you get on board a ship within the US’s territorial waters. For example, you take a vacation aboard a cruise ship to the US Virgin Islands. Medicare may pay for medical services while you are in these territorial waters.

Senior Couple On Shore in Front of Cruise Ship
Senior couple on shore in front of cruise ship while on vacation in the Eastern Caribbean.

Foreign Hospital and Medical Services

Medicare may pay for inpatient hospital, doctor, ambulance service, or dialysis in a foreign country in the following cases: (Medicare.gov)

  • While in the US, you require immediate medical attention, and the nearest hospital that can treat your medical condition is a foreign hospital. 
  • For example, you are traveling in Canada, and you have a medical emergency. Medicare may cover your medical services at a Canadian hospital when it is closer than a US hospital. 
  • Your US home is closer to a foreign hospital than a US hospital. Regardless of any emergency, the foreign hospital can treat your medical condition. 
Medicare Foreign Travel Coverage cruise ship Sydeny Opera House
Medicare will not cover foreign travel on a cruise ship in Sydney Harbor Australia. Find out what else Medicare does not cover.

Furthermore, Medicare will not cover health care services on a ship that is more than 6 hours away from a US port.

Senior man at the airport in times of pandemic
Senior man traveling during the coronavirus pandemic.

Medigap Foreign Travel Coverage

Your Medicare Supplement Plan may cover foreign travel emergency care. When you travel outside the US, the following Medigap Plans provide you with foreign travel emergency coverage: plans C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, M, and N. 

By the way, you can not currently buy Medigap Plans E, H, I, and J. However, you could have purchased one of these plans before June 1, 2010, and kept it. (Medicare.gov)

Medicare Supplement Plan Foreign Travel Coverage

If Medicare does not cover your care, these Medigap Plans pay for foreign travel emergency care within the first 60 days of your trip. Medicare Supplement Plans pay 80% of medically necessary care outside the US after you pay a $250 deductible for the year. Furthermore, this foreign travel emergency coverage has a lifetime limit of $50,000. 

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