Traveling with Medicare: Check your coverage before you hit the road

There is finally a light at the end of the tunnel! We’re administering more COVID-19 vaccines every day, and after a full year of restrictions, people are eager to get out of town. But it’s important for anyone with Medicare coverage to be familiar with their coverage before booking their next trip.

There are certain factors that can affect whether or not you’ll have Medicare insurance coverage while away from home, including:

  • What kind of plan you have
  • Where you’re going
  • What kind of medical care you need while traveling

What’s your plan?

Not your travel plan — your Medicare plan! Some policies have networks that limit your coverage. Make sure you know your plan type and if your network has providers along your route and at your destination.

Medicare is widely accepted throughout the United States, so your domestic vacations shouldn’t be a problem. However, you’ll need to purchase another plan if you’re travelling internationally. Many Medicare Supplement Insurance (or Medigap) plans cover care domestically and overseas, so this may be a good investment for you if you have jetsetting dreams.

Another option is a Medicare Advantage plan. These combine Medicare and auxiliary coverage under one plan and usually have networks attached. While these plans will cover many expenses within the U.S., you likely will not have coverage outside of the country. Other auxiliary plans, like Part D and Dental, Vision, and Hearing are also dependent on networks and will leave you to pay out-of-pocket when travelling outside their network.

Before you plan your upcoming vacations it’s important to make sure you know which plans you have in place and their networks. Along with plenty of socks, you may need to add “Medicare Supplement” to your packing list.

Where will you be travelling?

Staying in the U.S.? Good news: if you have Medicare coverage, you’ll be covered for emergencies within the United States.

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, a Part D plan, or other auxiliary coverage, you will want to check your network. Because these plans are administered by private insurance companies, their networks are more limited.

Does Medicare Cover International Travel? Things can get a little complicated.

There are some instances where you can get coverage from your Original Medicare while outside of the U.S., but they aren’t very common. It’s usually best to purchase a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan that covers international travel.

Standard Medigap Plans C, D, F, G, M, and N provide foreign travel emergency health care coverage when you travel outside the U.S., for the first 60 days of your trip. They will pay 80% of the billed charges for certain medically-necessary emergency care outside the U.S. after you meet a $250 deductible for the year. Foreign travel emergency coverage with Medigap policies has a lifetime limit of $50,000.

Will my Medicare coverage travel well?

You might notice that your international coverage from Medigap only covers emergencies. You should plan to get all regular, scheduled care in the U.S. where Medicare coverage is available.

Luckily, if you’re traveling within the country, the type of care you need doesn’t matter as much. You’ll still want to double-check your network, but you can feel confident that your regular and emergency care will be eligible for Medicare coverage.


If you still need help determining if your Medicare coverage will travel well, enlist the help of United Medicare Advisors’ Licensed Insurance Agents. We’ll help you find a Medicare Supplement plan that will cover your care — no matter where you go! Give us a call at 1 (855) 665-9200, and be sure to read our top travel tips and surprising travel discounts before you book your trip and pack your bags.

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