Like to Travel? It May Affect Which Medicare Plan You Choose.Posted by Medicare Made Clear
You may not have considered your vacation plans when choosing healthcare coverage. But knowing if you will be away from home and for how long is an important consideration as you choose a Medicare plan or re-evaluate your Medicare coverage.
Open enrollment is the time to ask whether your Medicare plan still works for you.
Some Medicare plans don’t provide for coverage beyond the state or county where you live and where the plan was purchased. That may be a concern for snowbirds or people who travel a lot. They may fly south to winter in a warmer locale or travel north in the summer to escape extreme heat. If you spend a good portion of the year somewhere other than your home state, you have some decisions to make.
What About Emergency Care?
Susan Morisato, President, Insurance Solutions, UnitedHealthcare says one thing you don’t have to worry about is an emergency while travelling. “If you are having chest pains and you go to the emergency room, it absolutely gets covered. But if you say ‘I’ve got the sniffles, or my allergies are kicking up, it’s not life-threatening; your plan may not provide coverage.”
Coverage Options For Travelers
There are a number of options for snowbirds. One of them is Original Medicare. It is available nationwide. You can see any doctor or go to any facility that accepts Medicare and new patients. In most cases, you don’t need a referral.
If you choose Original Medicare, Medicare supplement insurance plans, also known as Medigap plans, are also available. The plans are operated by private insurers and most offer nationwide coverage. Most plans help pay some of the health care costs Original Medicare doesn’t cover, like copays, co-insurance and deductibles.
Medicare Advantage plans are another option. Like Medigap plans, they are operated by private insurers. However, this type of plan may not travel with you. For example, if you buy a Medicare Advantage plan in Minnesota and then go to Arizona, you may not be covered unless it’s a life-threatening emergency. Check your plan for coverage details.
Every plan is different, so check and compare your coverage options carefully.
For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.
Traveling Abroad: Tips for a Better Trip: MedicareMadeClear.com
Medicare & You: Traveling Abroad video: Medicare.gov
Medicare Coverage Outside of the United States: Publication by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services