One of the most frequently asked questions about Medicare plans is what happens if you have plans to travel or live in another location throughout the year. It’s a great question to ask—and an important question to understand before you select your 2018 Medicare plan.
If you are covered under Original Medicare, you can rest assured knowing that you can travel throughout the United States and its territories and receive the coverage that you need. Doctors and hospitals who accept Medicare will be available to you while you are outside of your home community.
Medicare Advantage plans, on the other hand, may not cover you while you travel in the United States unless you need emergency or urgent care. For many retirees, this is perfectly acceptable, especially if travel is for limited periods of time. Some Medicare Advantage plans require that you use a particular network or hospital dependent upon where you need care. Others are more flexible and allow you to receive coverage from providers outside of their preferred network; however, copays or coinsurance coverage rates may increase if you visit a doctor out of network.
Coverage Outside of the United States
If you plan to travel abroad, be sure to talk with Vince Homan Insurance about getting travel insurance before you leave. Medicare coverage is limited outside of the United States, although there are several instances in which Medicare will offer coverage, such as if you receive medically necessary care while on a cruise ship. There are stipulations around coverage rules, and we recommend reviewing the coverage rules before you begin your trip.
Many retirees are fortunate enough to have a second residence where they spend significant portions of time throughout the year, like ‘snowbirds’ who leave states with cold winters for the milder seasons down south.
In this scenario, the type of plan you have will have a significant impact on your coverage. As always, Original Medicare travels with you wherever you go so long as you remain within the United States. Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans, on the other hand, often require you to remain within your covered network to take advantage of benefits. There are some Medicare Advantage plans that allow access to all benefits while staying within a covered service area. For other plans, you must be a permanent resident in the service area of the plan. Consulting with an expert to understand your options and coverage is highly recommended!
Medigap, or Medicare Supplement Plans, are slightly more forgiving. Every Medigap plan, regardless of the company that provides it, is required to cover the same benefits no matter where you purchase the plan. This means that if you have a Medigap Plan F, you will receive the same coverage and benefits regardless of where you are.
Traveling can be one of the most rewarding ways to spend your retirement years—so don’t leave your coverage to chance! Schedule your appointment today to talk with us about your travel plans and find the Medicare plan that works right for you.