Is international adventure and exploration part of your retirement agenda? As a seasoned traveler you already know that despite the best of plans, unexpected illnesses and accidents sometimes happen. How do you protect yourself from huge medical bills while accessing emergency care in other countries? By choosing a Medicare Supplement that gives you the coverage and peace of mind you need when you are far away from home. Read on for the best Medicare Supplement plans for people who love to travel. 

Why you need the right Medicare Supplement Plan

Original Medicare generally only offers coverage for enrollees while they are in the United States and U.S. territories. These limitations mean that with very few exceptions, the emergency medical care you may need while on foreign soil would not be covered. If while traveling you were to take an unexpected fall or encounter a local parasite that didn’t agree with you seeking medical care could lead to significant out-of-pocket medical expenses. To get Medicare travel benefits, you usually need a Medicare Supplement plan. Not all Medicare Supplement plans offer a foreign travel benefit, so it’s important to choose the right plan for you. 

There are currently 9 Medicare Supplement insurance plans available to new enrollees and 6 of them offer foreign emergency travel coverage. This foreign travel coverage includes emergency care during the first 60 days of any trip and 80% of the billed charges for  medically necessary emergency care outside the U.S. after you meet a $250 Deductible for the year. Medigap plans C, D, F, G, M, and N provide international protection, while plans A, B, K and L do not. Plans E, H, I, and J are no longer for sale, but if previously purchased also provide foreign travel emergency health care coverage when you travel outside the U.S. Foreign travel emergency coverage for all  Medicare Supplement plans has a lifetime limit of $50,000.

If you enjoy taking cruises it’s good to know what will happen if you experience an unexpected illness or injury while onboard. Basic Medicare will cover emergency care if the doctor treating you is allowed to practice medical services on a cruise ship and the ship is within six hours of a U.S. port or territory. Any Medigap supplemental policy would pick up some or all of the costs Medicare doesn’t cover if you are in this range. For longer cruises, a Medigap policy with emergency international coverage—including plans C, D, F, G, M and N—would ensure that you don’t have large out-of-pocket expenses, for the portions that Medicare doesn’t cover. 

For protection on domestic trips any Medigap insurance policy will help cover emergency services and the potential associated inpatient hospitalizations not covered by Original Medicare. These policies allow you to see any doctor or provider in the United States—and U.S. territories—that accepts Medicare. Medicare supplemental plans also offer full or partial coverage for Part B services, which include any outpatient care you might need while on the road—including procedures and routine care— not just emergencies. 

Choosing the right insurance plan with Medicare travel benefits for you can help make travel more enjoyable and less stressful. Where will your next trip take you?