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medicare travel insuranceAs a rule, Medicare does not cover you abroad. Many Medicare beneficiaries make the mistake of assuming that Medicare covers them overseas but wind up paying expensive medical bills instead. It is important to know how to get coverage before leaving.

Medicare Coverage Limitations

According to Medicare, they only cover care abroad in three uncommon situations. These include the following:

  • You have a medical emergency in the USA, and a foreign hospital is closer than the nearest American hospital.
  • You live in the United States, and the nearest hospital that can treat you is a foreign one.
  • You are traveling from Alaska to the lower 48 states and have a medical emergency on the way, and the nearest hospital is in Canada instead of Alaska or the lower 48 states.

In the last point, you must be traveling through Canada “without reasonable delay” to qualify. Since Medicare determines what constitutes a reasonable delay on an individual basis, you face the risk of being denied. These exclusions only include Medicare Part A and Part B.

How To Get Medical Coverage For Traveling Abroad

Travel insurance packages often come with medical coverage. If you are healthy but want the peace of mind that sudden injuries or illnesses will be covered abroad, travel medical insurance is a good investment. It covers everything from lacerations to hospital stays due to an illness. If you anticipate a dangerous trip, death and dismemberment insurance or flight accident insurance may be wise if you have a family and no life insurance. Pregnant women can purchase special insurance for traveling abroad. You should purchase special coverage for a preexisting condition if you have a chronic illness. All of these coverage options can be added to your trip insurance policy if certain conditions are met.

When buying travel insurance, you have many options. Most companies offer several package deals with optional add-on features. Higher tiers offer more extensive coverage or higher policy limits but come with higher premiums. Determine your needs based on your budget, the health risks of your destination, the length of your trip, the limitations of your existing primary insurance policies and what gives you the most peace of mind. That is the most valuable asset on a trip even if nothing goes wrong. Always compare trip insurance policies from different companies, and read the terms carefully before making a purchase.


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