Picture this: You're soaking up the sun on a white sand beach in Hawaii, staring out into the hues of blue that line the ocean while the palm trees sway above you. The sun starts turning that deep shade of orange, a subtle reminder that cocktail hour is approaching, and you think to yourself: What kind of Medicare coverage do I need when I turn 65?
OK, maybe not.
Health insurance should be the last thing on your mind while you're vacationing. However, sickness can strike when you least expect it, even when you're on vacation. So, it's important to make sure you're covered before you check travel off your retirement bucket list. And that includes Medicare coverage while you travel.
Here are a few reasons why seniors love Medicare for traveling.
1. Medicare can travel state to state
With Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), you can travel anywhere in the United States and still be covered ― as long as you use doctors and hospitals that accept Medicare. This includes all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands. If you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, the rules for out-of-state coverage are different. It all depends on the type of Medicare Advantage plan you choose. It's important to know that Medicare Advantage plans are required to cover emergency and urgent care anywhere in the United States.
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2. Your Medicare coverage doesn't require a passport
Original Medicare doesn't cover medical services when you're traveling overseas. The good news is that some Medicare Advantage plans cover medical emergencies or urgently needed care overseas. If you're considering a Medicare Advantage plan and are planning to travel outside the United States, check with the insurance company to find out what's covered.
Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans may also cover medical costs while traveling. There are six Medigap plan options (C, D, F, G, M, and N). They provide coverage for medical emergencies outside of the United States — as long as medical care starts within 60 days of you leaving the United States.
It's important to know that Medicare Advantage plans and Medigap plans cannot be used together. You can choose one or the other depending on your health care needs.
Looking for more information?
Visit Health's Senior Health and Wellness Resource Center,
your destination for 2019 Medicare information.
3. Pick up your prescriptions on the go
If you have Medicare prescription drug coverage through a Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan, you'll likely be able to get your prescription at a pharmacy in the state you're visiting or passing through. Going to a pharmacy that's in your plan's network is the easiest, and often the cheapest route to take when getting a prescription filled out of state.
Whether you're jet setting in the United States or planning the international trip of a lifetime, there's a Medicare plan that can help cover your medical expenses. It's best to do your research and choose a plan that fits your budget and lifestyle needs. Bon voyage!
Amy Capomaccio is a health care writer at Aetna with experience in senior wellness, Medicare, Medicaid, and commercial health care. When she's not practicing new mindfulness techniques, Amy is spending time outdoors and traveling. Amy hails from Wakefield, MA and has a degree in Advertising and Public Relations from the University of Tampa.
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