Whether you travel occasionally, or – like me – you dream of spending winter someplace warm, it’s important to make sure your Medicare health coverage travels along with you.
This article tells you what kind of plans offer a travel benefit, and what you need to consider so that wherever you want to go, you’ll know if your health care needs are covered.
Do Medicare Advantage plans cover out-of-state care?
Many people choose to get their Medicare benefits through a Medicare Advantage plan. One of the benefits of this kind of plan is that you can save money on health care costs if you see doctors, clinics and hospitals that have agreed to provide plan members with health care services. This is called a provider network.
Most in-network doctors, hospitals and clinics are in the state where the plan is offered, or in nearby states.
So, if you are thinking of traveling out-of-state, here are a couple of things to keep in mind:
- With Medicare Advantage plans, you’ll have emergency and urgent care coverage when traveling outside of your network, within the United States. That means you don’t have to worry about coverage if you get a sudden illness or break a bone while traveling.
- If you need non-emergency or non-urgent care while traveling, it may not be covered, and you’ll likely have to pay more out of pocket. That’s where a travel benefit can help.
What is a Medicare Advantage travel benefit?
Some Medicare Advantage plans include travel benefits for when you need care away from home. These travel benefits usually cover more than just emergency and urgent care and help ensure you have coverage no matter where you are.
How does a Medicare travel benefit work?
With a travel benefit, you’ll pay the same cost sharing amount for out-of-state care as you would close to home at in-network providers. Some travel benefits, such as those for international travel, include emergency and urgent care and certain ambulance services. There may or may not be a limit to how much the plan will cover for international care and services.
For domestic travel, Medicare requires that a travel benefit covers at least 6 months of out-of-network care no matter where or when you go. Some plans may cover more than 6 months, check with your plan for more details.
And like we talked about; you’re always covered at in-network cost sharing when you have an emergency or urgent care need while traveling.
Not all Medicare Advantage plans include a travel benefit
If you’re like me and plan on traveling south every winter, you should look for a plan that offers one. And because every plan is different, contact your Medicare plan to learn more.
Travel coverage is more than a doctor when you are on the go
Beyond the more standard travel benefits discussed above, some plans will offer additional benefits. These nice-to-have benefits can include access to pre-travel consultations at specialized travel clinics, where you can get required vaccinations and learn important details about the area you’ll be traveling to, like food and water safety concerns or the political situation.
Some plans also offer global logistical support services. These services can include access to a multilingual call center, help finding care when you’re away from home, and medical evacuation.
No matter where you’re headed, be safe, plan ahead and don’t forget to pack your health insurance card. Happy travels!