Will Medicare cover me if I travel within or outside the U.S.?

Will Medicare cover me if I travel within or outside the U.S.?

Traveling with Original Medicare: Part A and Part B

You are covered anywhere in the United States if you receive care from a hospital and/or doctor that accepts Medicare. Coverage is provided in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands. Traveling in a location other than these areas means you are traveling "outside of the United States". Your Medicare coverage is limited when you travel outside of the U.S.

Limited Medicare Coverage Overseas

Medicare will cover only certain healthcare services in a foreign hospital regardless of situation. However, Medicare coverage is usually limited to certain situations such as:

  • Medicare will pay for emergency care in a foreign hospital if the foreign hospital, rather than a U.S. hospital, is the closest available hospital.
  • Medicare coverage in Canada for medical emergencies is only available if you are directly traveling between Alaska and another U.S. state without unreasonable delay and the nearest hospital for your care is in Canada. "Without unreasonable delay" is up to discretion of Medicare on a case-by-case basis.
  • You will be covered by Medicare aboard a cruise ship for medically necessary care if you are in U.S. waters or within six hours of arrival or departure for a U.S. port. You must receive care from a doctor who is legally authorized to provide medical care on a cruise ship.

For these above situations, Medicare will cover inpatient hospital care, doctor services, and/or ambulance services. You will not be covered for prescription drug coverage purchased outside of the United States even if you are covered under a Medicare plan that usually provides prescription drug coverage (such as a stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug Plan).

Traveling with Medicare Advantage Plans

If you are covered under a Medicare Advantage plan, your out-of-state coverage will differ based on your plan.

Medicare Advantage plans such as HMOs will provide coverage if you get routine care and health care services from doctors and hospitals in the provider network. If you need emergency medical care, urgent care, or kidney dialysis from an out-of-area provider, you will still be covered under your plan.

PPOs and other Medicare Advantage plans may allow you to see an out-of-area provider. However, you may have to pay a higher copayment or coinsurance for non-emergency care when seeing an out-of-area provider. Contact your Medicare Advantage plan if you will be traveling out of state to receive more information on out-of-area health services coverage.

Medicare Advantage plans will provide at least the same amount of coverage as Original Medicare. This means Medicare Advantage will pay for costs associated with the limited situations described in the Original Medicare coverage. You may receive additional coverage under some Medicare Advantage plans when traveling overseas. Contact your Medicare Advantage plan to understand your coverage while traveling.

Medigap Coverage Outside of the United States

Medicare Supplement insurance plans, known as Medigap, may help pay for certain services not covered by Medicare including emergency medical coverage when you're traveling outside the country. Medigap Plans C, D, F, G, M, and N will cover or partially cover emergency medical coverage while traveling overseas according to plan rules.

Our Medicare Cost Revealer will help you review Medicare plan options in your area. If you have any questions, please contact Medicare anytime at any time at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227; TTY users 1-877-486-2048).

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Will Medicare cover me if I travel within or outside the U.S.?