Jul 09, 2012

Stay healthy when traveling abroad

Member for

1 year

Got your passport? Check. Change of clothes? Check. Trip insurance? Check. Additional health care coverage? What?

You take time checking into airfare, hotels, and sightseeing adventures, so why not make sure you know what your health care covers when you go on vacation?  This is especially important if you’re traveling outside the U.S.

Original Medicare generally doesn’t cover care you get abroad—however, you are covered if you visit Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, or the Northern Mariana Islands, as they’re considered part of the U.S.

If you take a cruise, you may be covered by Medicare if the ship's doctor is allowed to provide medical services under certain laws and the ship is closer than 6 hours away from a U.S. port. Medicare won’t cover services you get if your ship is further away than 6 hours from a U.S. port.

In rare cases, Medicare will pay for inpatient hospital services you get in Canada or Mexico. For example, you may be covered if you’re in the U.S. when a medical emergency happens and a Canadian or Mexican hospital is closer than the nearest U.S. hospital that can treat the emergency.

Visit "Medicare Coverage Outside the United States [PDF, 143 KB]” for more details on what Medicare covers when you’re on a cruise or out of the country.

Also, keep healthy by being aware of local health conditions at your destination. The Centers for Disease Control’s Traveler’s Health Web page has health information for travel to more than 200 international destinations. Bon Voyage!