Retiree Health Insurance and Travel: Staying Covered on the Go

As exciting as it might sound to sell your home and spend your retirement years living abroad, there are some insurance considerations you’ll want to take into account. These include whether your current Medicare plan covers you in a foreign country, how much your international travel policy will cost, and what kind of medical coverage is available where you’re going.

Retiree Health Insurance and Travel: Staying Covered on the Go

If you’re a retiree with Medicare Parts A and B, you can travel anywhere in the world that accepts Medicare coverage. That includes all countries that participate in the Medicare network, plus some other locations, such as Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Those places are listed in the Medicare online directory.

Most Advantage Plans offer some travel coverage, though that depends on the particular plan and its rules. For instance, some Advantage Plans disenroll you from the plan if you’re outside of its service area for more than six months. In those cases, you’d be switched to basic Medicare. Those kinds of details are usually in the plan’s marketing materials.

You should also pay attention to how your plan treats Click here to read international claims. Some Advantage Plans require you to submit a claim form, while others simply ask you to provide a copy of your claim receipt. It’s important to know the rules for your particular plan, and you can always contact your insurer with questions.

For those who get their Medicare benefits from Original Medicare, the situation is a little trickier. If you go to a foreign country, only hospitals that participate in the Medicare program will be able to treat you. And that means most overseas hospitals don’t accept American credit cards. For this reason, many travelers choose to buy a Medigap policy that will cover some or all of the remaining costs after original Medicare pays its share.

A Medigap policy is a type of private insurance that can be purchased from a private company. These policies can be expensive, but they can help you avoid the out-of-pocket costs associated with foreign travel. Depending on your location, plan selection and age, your travel insurance may be cheaper than a Medigap policy.

Retirees who enroll in a NYSHIP medical plan (option) and then switch to another one will not be subject to the same option transfer periods as active employees, provided the new plan meets the requirements for creditable coverage. If you are considering switching to a different plan, it’s important that you make the change before your last day at work. This will ensure that you don’t lose valuable coverage for your retirement.