When Medicare was originally drafted, international travel was not as prevalent as it is today, and was not drafted into the plan. Today, many more seniors travel internationally, and limited coverage has been drafted into the Medigap policies of C,D,E,F,G,H,I and J. Medicare supplement plans include a specific benefit for Emergency Foreign Travel. However, the key words here are “Emergency Foreign Travel.”
If your chosen Medicare supplement insurance plan has the Emergency Foreign Travel benefit, it will pay 80% of certain qualified emergency medically necessary medical services outside the U.S. after a $250 deductible is met. The lifetime cap for total emergency foreign travel benefits is $50,000.00. The care must be included in the first 60 days of the trip to make sure that it’s foreign travel and not foreign residency. If you go on longer trips than 60 days, travel insurance may be beneficial to you.
However, the care must be deemed an emergency. For example, let’s say you go to the hospital with what you believe to be a heart attack. It turns out, you ate some spicy thai food that did not agree with you. Your Emergency Foreign Travel policy may not pay for this hospital visit as it turned out not to be an emergency.
Many U.S. seniors today live in Mexico or or other foreign countries at least part of the year, if not most of the year. In this instance, a more robust, permanent major medical international health care policy will be better suited for you. Long term international health insurance will be a better choice as travel insurance is really designed for travel and not residency.
Long term international medical health insurance is the better approach for either longer stays outside the country or for more robust coverage than just emergency based coverage. Otherwise, for pure short term medical travel insurance coverage, the Medicare supplement Emergency Foreign Travel coverage can provide some piece of mind while you’re taking the trip of a lifetime, for less than 60 days.