What Medicare Covers When Traveling

With many people finally able to start planning for travel again after Covid-19, it's essential to consider your health insurance coverage while you're away. While there's nothing like exploring new places, being prepared for any unexpected costs is necessary to ensure you're not left significantly out of pocket on your vacation. 

Where you're traveling, and the type of Medicare policy you have can impact your coverage while you're away. It can also be a good idea to purchase additional insurance depending on your coverage. If you have any questions, a local health insurance agent can help you decide on the right policy for you, so you can rest assured and enjoy your trip.

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn
Full length of encouraged calm retired man and woman are talking to each other while standing outdoors. They are carrying a suitcase while looking at each other with love.

With many people finally able to start planning for travel again after Covid-19, it's essential to consider your health insurance coverage while you're away. While there's nothing like exploring new places, being prepared for any unexpected costs is necessary to ensure you're not left significantly out of pocket on your vacation. 

Where you're traveling, and the type of Medicare policy you have can impact your coverage while you're away. It can also be a good idea to purchase additional insurance depending on your coverage. If you have any questions, a local health insurance agent can help you decide on the right policy for you, so you can rest assured and enjoy your trip.

Coverage while in the U.S.

If you're thinking about doing some travel within the U.S., your level of coverage in other states typically depends on the type of Medicare coverage you have. 

Original Medicare

Original Medicare allows you to see any physician or visit any hospital that accepts Medicare patients, which is usually most hospitals. This rule applies throughout all 50 states and territories, including the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

Medicare Advantage

Some Medicare Advantage plans only offer coverage where you live, so you must check your policy for details before assuming you're covered. However, all plans cover emergency and urgent care as standard, so if you need medical help in an emergency, you'll have coverage no matter which state you're visiting. 

If your plan does offer coverage in another state, it's still important to check what providers are 'in network' for those states. Seeing a provider outside your plan provider's network could result in out-of-pocket costs for you. 

Does Medicare cover international travel?

Depending on your plan, you may be eligible for some coverage if traveling outside the U.S. But it’s important to check before you leave to ensure you're covered.

Original Medicare

Apart from very few exceptions, Original Medicare doesn't provide coverage for any health-related expenses once you travel outside the U.S. 

If you have Original Medicare, purchasing a Medigap policy can be an excellent option, as most (although not all) provide coverage for emergency services while you're overseas. In addition to paying for the Medical policy, you'll also typically have a deductible of $250. It's a good option for shorter trips, as coverage is limited to the first 60 days of your trip. There's also a standard co-pay of 20%, and most plans usually have a lifetime limit of only $50,000. 

Medicare Advantage

A Medicare Advantage plan typically includes some coverage for international travel, but there can be restrictions. Check your plan's policy to find out the details so you can understand your coverage.

Coverage if you're traveling to Canada

If you're traveling near the Canadian border or into Canada itself, there are a few instances where you are eligible to receive emergency treatment. These include:

  • If you're in the U.S. and need emergency treatment, if the closest hospital is in Canada, you're eligible to receive emergency care. 

  • If you have a medical emergency when traveling through Canada (as your most direct route between Alaska and another state), you can seek emergency care from a Canadian hospital if it's closer than the nearest hospital in the U.S.

Coverage if you're on a cruise

It's important to consider coverage when you're on a cruise traveling in overseas waters. If you're cruising on a ship in U.S. waters or are no more than six hours away from a U.S. port, you'll have coverage as standard. However, if your ship is further away, Medicare won't pay for any medical services you need while on the cruise ship. 

Our tips for ensuring you're covered when traveling

Here are some recommendations if you plan to travel in the coming months:

Check definitions on your policy

Whether you're purchasing a Medigap plan or already have a Medicare Advantage plan, understanding what your plan provider means when they say 'emergency' and 'urgent' care is essential. The definition of emergency care is when there's an injury or condition that will place you in serious jeopardy, either physically or mentally. In comparison, urgent care usually refers to less severe conditions and may not be covered as part of your plan. 

Purchase additional insurance

If an existing plan does not cover you, talk to an experienced and local health insurance broker to get you the right level of coverage for when you're traveling. Our professional team can check definitions, risks, and exclusions to ensure you're fully covered for your trip. 

Sort out your Covid vaccination and tests

If you're traveling overseas, you may need to show proof of vaccination and undertake a Covid-19 test depending on the country or countries you're visiting. Check the CDC website for more information, or check with your airline for more details.

List your medications and allergies

When traveling, we always recommend carrying extra medication and a digital copy of all your prescriptions in an emergency. Also, if you have any serious allergies, keep a list of this information on you, to be safe.

Carry your health insurance information

While you don't need to print out your entire policy, having your policy numbers and contact information if you need to make a claim or check anything while you're away is essential. You can keep this digitally or print it out with your other travel information so it's easily accessible. 

Need help deciding on health insurance?

If you have any questions about Medicare when traveling or Medicare travel coverage, our locally based team of experts is here to help. We specialize in helping North Carolina residents get the right level of insurance for their needs. Along with offering international travel insurance, we can help you buy Medicare Advantage plans with travel coverage or check what Medigap plans are available for your Medicare travel insurance. Contact us today to find out more.

Related Articles

Couple snuggling in a park
Medicare

What Is Medicare Advantage and How Does It Work?

Medicare Advantage plans replace Original Medicare Parts A and B. They’re offered by private companies that are Medicare-approved. If you live in North Carolina and want to find out more information about Blue Cross NC Medicare Advantage plans, our dedicated local agents can help.
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn

Shot of a young pharmacist helping an elderly customer at the prescription counter.
Health, Medicare

Drug Pricing Law: How It Affects Your Medicare Coverage

U.S. President Joe Biden recently signed the Inflation Reduction Act authorizing the government to negotiate prices on some prescription drugs and allow the government to cap the costs of Medicare. With over 63 million Americans receiving Medicare health benefits, the law is likely to affect many people throughout the country, including those living in North Carolina. 
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn

Couple looking at a tablet on a sofa
Medicare

The Four Different Parts of Medicare

Many people new to Medicare can find it overwhelming. There are four different parts that offer different types of coverage. Understanding what these four plans cover can help to ensure you have the right level of coverage for your health needs. 
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn

Six people smiling and hugging outside
Medicare

Answers to The 10 Most Common Medicare Questions

Medicare decisions are highly personal and you may have many different questions about your specific situation. But certain questions do seem to come up more often than others. Here are some of the most common Medicare questions and answers that our local agents often hear from North Carolina residents.
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn

A young mixed race male doctor meets with his senior African American patient in a casual setting. They are seated at a table as they talk and both are wearing casual clothing. The doctor has a stethoscope around his neck and is holding out a tablet as they talk about the results. Both are smiling as they discuss the good news.
Medicare

What Is Medicare Part D Insurance?

Medicare Part D is an optional prescription drug plan for anyone currently enrolled in Medicare. Before its introduction in 2006, many Americans spent thousands of dollars each year covering the costs of their prescriptions.  If you need help finding a prescription plan, our locally based NC health insurance brokers can help. We specialize in assisting people in North Carolina find the best prescription drug plan for their needs.
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn

A couple looking at something and smiling
Medicare

How To Get Medicare Dental & Vision Coverage in NC

Regular dental and vision exams are essential to help prevent any health complications and maintain your overall health. If you live in North Carolina, our Medicare agents NC can help you understand how to get the right Medicare dental and vision plans for your needs. Once you know your options, you can plan and budget for your future.
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn

5 older people hugging outside and looking down at that camera
Medicare

Cómo Obtener Más Beneficios Con Los Planes Dual Medicaid-Medicare, D-SNP

Apoyo para los residentes de Carolina del Norte que tienen Medicare y Medicaid Los planes duales para necesidades especiales (D-SNP) son planes especializados de Medicare Advantage para personas con Medicare y Medicaid. Por lo general, ofrecen muchos beneficios y características adicionales más allá de Medicare Original. Si es residente de Carolina del Norte, nuestro equipo de agentes locales de Medicare, NC, puede ayudarle a comprender cómo obtener más beneficios con estos planes duales.
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn

Three men resting during a hike
Medicare

Different Types of Medicare Supplement Plans

Medicare Supplement Plans, also known as Medigap plans, provide coverage for millions of Medicare beneficiaries. These plans help pay for any gaps not covered by Medicare, such as your coinsurance or deductibles. These plans are a great choice if you don’t want to ‌pay out-of-pocket for your health care, and there are a range of plan options available in North Carolina. 
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn

Four older people conversing at a round table
Medicare

How Do Medicare Supplement Plans Work?

Medicare Supplement Plans are a type of health insurance offered by private insurance companies to help cover the gaps in Medicare. Medicare Supplement Plans are also known as Medigap plans.
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn

Older couple at desk with laptop
Medicare

How To Apply For Medicare

If you’re approaching 65, it’s essential to find out how and when to apply for Medicare. While it may seem overwhelming, enrolling in Medicare can be simple with access to the correct information. 
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn

Four people walking outside
Medicare

Different Medicare Enrollment Periods

It can be a little overwhelming to understand all the different parts if you’re approaching Medicare eligibility, especially the various enrollment periods. This article will cover everything you need to know about each Medicare Enrollment Period and what they mean for your coverage. 
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn

Two older patients with a doctor seated in a hallway
Medicare

What Are Medicare Special Needs Plans?

A Medicare Special Needs Plan (SNP) is a Medicare Advantage Plan that provides organized care for people with special needs. 
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn

Two couples smiling with a ferris wheel in the background
Medicare

What Is Medicare? (Including The Different Parts of Medicare)

Medicare is health insurance for people aged 65 and over and people with specific disabilities. It’s a national health insurance program that is divided into four parts. Each of these parts fits together uniquely to provide different types of coverage for your health needs.
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn

Four people sitting on a porch
Medicare

Your Medicare Eligibility

Most people living in North Carolina are eligible for Medicare benefits when they turn 65, even if they’re still working.
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn

Family eating dinner
Medicare

Am I Eligible For Medicare?

If you’re a U.S. citizen or a permanent legal resident of the United States, then you may be eligible for Medicare if you meet one of the following criteria: You are 65 years old or older. You’re younger than 65, but you have a qualifying disability. You are of any age and have been diagnosed with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also called Lou Gehrig’s Disease). To qualify as a legal resident, you need to have lived in the United States for at least five consecutive years before applying for Medicare.
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn

Older woman and younger woman looking at a tablet computer on a sofa
Medicare

Medicare Costs

If you’re approaching Medicare eligibility, it’s essential to understand the costs for each of the different parts of Medicare, so you can work out how much to budget. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize the costs associated with certain aspects of Medicare, which can make it difficult to manage your monthly bills.
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn

Ready to get started?
Get a free quote today.
Get Started