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The reality is that Medicare coverage is very limited outside the United States, so it’s a good idea to consider trip insurance that includes medical coverage. it’s also important to understand what defines travel within the United States. This includes the 48 continuous states plus Washington, DC, Alaska and Hawaii. An individual is also considered to be traveling in the United States if he or she is traveling in American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. For more details on

The only foreign coverage Medicare will consider is if a Medicare recipient is in Canada on a route “without unreasonable delay” between a U.S. state and Alaska. The Canadian hospital must be closer than a hospital in the United States, and Medicare has the final say on what constitutes “without unreasonable delay.” Therefore, it is still a good idea to have trip insurance if, for example, getting to the Alaskan cruise ship involves some travel through Canada. This also brings up the question of Medicare coverage on a cruise ship. An individual is only covered if he or she is either in a United States port or within six hours of one, so it safer to have travel insurance on a cruise as well.

So, with all this in mind, it’s a good idea to investigate travel insurance as part of the trip planning process. it’s important to note that not all travel insurance is created equally. Some of the plans simply cover the money spent on the trip itself should illness or injury strike before the scheduled travel date. Other plans include the cost of the trip itself and medical coverage. Plans can cover anywhere from $50,000 to a million dollars in medical expenses. Many plans also include emergency medical evacuation should an illness or accident require the individual to be taken back to the United States.

Something to keep in mind with many of these travel policies is the pre-existing condition clause. Some policies only cover emergency medical evacuation should a pre-existing condition occur, others vary the coverage by age, and there are a few that cover pre-existing conditions outright. The other thing to consider is most of these travel insurance policies have waiting periods for coverage of pre-existing conditions. These waiting periods can range from a few weeks to two years.

it’s important to plan ahead for medical coverage when traveling. Most of the time things go well, but if an emergency does crop up in a foreign country, it’s important to be prepared with travel insurance and avoid the possibility of massive uncovered medical bills.

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Our Trusted Providers Include

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  • Global Trip Protection
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  • John Hancock Travel Insurance
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  • Travel Insured International
  • Travelex Insurance
  • Trawick International
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