Many older adults look forward to fulfilling their travel bucket list during retirement, but Medicare may not be along for the ride.
If you have Medicare coverage, you won’t receive reimbursement for international medical bills. Healthcare services received beyond U.S. borders are not covered.
In some cases, Medicare may cover inpatient hospital costs, ambulance services or dialysis for the following circumstances:
- You are in the U.S. when emergency treatment is needed and the closest hospital is in a foreign country (e.g., Canada or Mexico).
- You are traveling through Canada between Alaska and another state (via the most direct route) when an emergency situation occurs and the closest hospital is in Canada.
- You are a U.S. resident, but a foreign hospital is closer to your home than the nearest U.S. location that can treat your condition, regardless of whether it is an emergency situation.1
In any of these situations, the foreign hospital is not required to file a Medicare claim. If it doesn’t, be prepared to submit an itemized bill to Medicare.2
Your Medicare coverage follows you if you travel to:
- Another state in the U.S
- District of Columbia
- Puerto Rico
- U.S. Virgin Islands
- Northern Mariana Islands
- American Samoa
Going on a cruise?
While on a cruise in international waters, you may be covered for medically-necessary care if the ship is within 6 hours of a U.S. port.3 Most liners have medical personnel on staff, but check with the cruise company before departure if you’re concerned about available medical care.