Going out of town? Here’s How Medicare Coverage Works.

December 7th, 2015
senior travel

With the holiday season in full swing, you may be planning a trip out of town. However, if you’re like many older adults, you may be wondering if your health care costs will be covered while your travel, particularly in the event of an emergency. The answer: it depends.

It’s important to know what your plan covers while you’re away from home. As you evaluate your Medicare coverage during open enrollment, you may want to re-evaluate whether your plan best matches your needs and lifestyle.

Original Medicare

Medicare covers treatment and care you receive from any provider that accepts Medicare in the U.S., Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the North Mariana Islands, and American Samoa. This includes both emergency and non-emergency care.

If you spend extended periods of time away from home, but remain in the U.S., original Medicare is a great way to ensure your health care costs are covered. However, in most cases, you won’t be covered outside of the U.S.

Medicare Advantage

Medicare Advantage plans typically covered emergency medical care within the United States. For non-emergency care, some plans only cover treatment you receive from providers within their network. You may be able to get care outside of the network, but you’ll probably have to pay a larger portion of the costs.

Other types of MA plans, such as fee-for-service plans, are non-network and will cover services you receive from any provider in the U.S. who accepts Medicare.

Medicare Supplement (Medigap)

Most Medigap plans provide emergency medical coverage within the U.S. This type of plan can only be used in combination with Original Medicare, and is designed to pay for some out-of-pocket costs that Medicare Parts A and B won’t cover.

Check Your Coverage Before You Leave Home

It’s vital that you know what your Medicare plan covers before you travel. Otherwise, you may get stuck with expensive medical bills.

If your plan won’t cover your health care needs out of your network area, consider buying a separate travel health insurance policy to cover any emergency medical expenses. These short-term plans also cover health and emergency care costs you incur outside of the U.S.

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