MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT PLANS
Who doesn’t love to see the world? If you’re traveling abroad in retirement, you’ll need to evaluate appropriate Medicare Supplement plans. Here’s how.
One of the great things about retirement is the freedom it gives you to explore hobbies or interests you lacked the time for during your working years. If you’ve ever wanted to travel abroad, now’s the time. You can explore whatever country you wish and enjoy getting to know other cultures. Believe it or not, Medicare Supplement plans can help.
Certain Medicare Supplement plans offer coverage for foreign emergency travel. Let’s say that you fall while you’re touring France with your significant other. If you have the right Medigap plan, you can get treatment for your injuries without putting a huge dent in your traveling budget.
But what do Medicare Supplement plans have to do with traveling abroad? Let’s find out.
WHY YOU MIGHT WANT TO TRAVEL ABROAD IN RETIREMENT
First, why would you want to spend your retirement traveling abroad? Seniors have many reasons for hopping borders and crossing oceans after they retire. Some of them include the following:
- The ability to stay in foreign countries for longer periods of time because there’s no obligation to return to work by a certain date
- Freedom to change plans on a whim without being stuck to a firm itinerary
- Returning to places visited on business trips because those places have more to offer than conference rooms
- Fulfilling items on a bucket list
- Inspiring learning by immersing into a new culture, learning a new language, and seeing new places
You might have a completely different reason to travel abroad. Maybe you have family in other countries, for instance. Whatever the case, Medicare Supplement plans with foreign emergency travel coverage allow you to jet-set around the world with fewer worries.
HOW HEALTHCARE ISSUES CAN IMPACT FOREIGN TRAVEL
Seniors often have medical issues that require medication and other treatment, whether they’re at home or on vacation. If you fall under that umbrella, you’ll want to know that you can fulfill lost prescriptions or find treatment providers no matter where you go.
Medicare supplement plans with foreign emergency travel coverage make it easier to cover any unexpected issues that crop up during your stay in another country. Maybe you get food poisoning at a restaurant or fall and injure yourself. You’ll want to visit an emergency room — or the equivalent — in the country you’re visiting.
Every country has its own healthcare system, so it’s hard to predict what physicians and hospitals will charge. Knowing that you won’t have to pay enormous coinsurance rates can make your stay in that country far less stressful. Plus, you won’t have to cut your trip short due to budget problems.
YOUR OPTIONS FOR MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT PLANS FOR TRAVELING ABROAD
As you can see from the chart above, as of 2018, six of the 10 Medicare supplement plans offer foreign travel emergency coverage. If you choose Plan C, D, F, G, M, or N, you enjoy that coverage.
This doesn’t mean that you can eliminate out-of-pocket costs entirely. Each of these six plans covers 80 percent of your emergency healthcare costs while traveling abroad, so you’ll still have to pay a few costs out-of-pocket.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF BEFORE AND WHILE TRAVELING ABROAD
It’s nice to know that Medicare Supplement plans help protect you from outrageous healthcare expenses while traveling abroad, but there are a few ways in which you can protect yourself from needing that coverage.
- Fulfill all prescriptions you’ll need ahead of time. Consider protecting them in a heavy plastic bag while packing.
- Sign up for your primary care physician’s patient portal if one exists. That way, you can contact him or her with any questions you have without needing to phone.
- Take precautions in unfamiliar areas. Identify any potential tripping hazards.
- Avoid entering unfamiliar areas after dark. If possible, only leave your hotel with a friend or loved one.
- Know the limits that your and your spouse’s Medicare supplement plans have for foreign emergency travel coverage.
- Inform at least one person at home that you’ll be out of the country. Provide a detailed itinerary.
Following these tips might help you avoid serious medical problems while you’re away. Medicare supplement plans with foreign emergency travel coverage should provide a safety net, but try to prevent accidents or problems before they can occur.
HEALTHCARE DOCUMENTS YOU NEED FOR FOREIGN TRAVEL
Make sure you bring with you photo identification in addition to your passport and your Medicare and Medigap healthcare insurance cards. Additionally, bring any medical directives and information about allergies so you can provide them to a healthcare provider.
Documents are easily lost, especially when traveling abroad. A great way to back up these documents is to photograph each with your phone. That way, they’re always at your fingertips.
Traveling abroad can be a great way to celebrate retirement. However, you also have to protect yourself. Medicare supplement plans can help.
When choosing from the 10 Medigap plans, consider selecting one of the six that provides foreign travel emergency coverage. Even if you only plan to travel once or twice, the coverage could prove beneficial for your health and your wallet.
Additionally, remember that Medicare supplement plans aren’t the only way to protect yourself. Exercise safety and caution while you’re away, and make sure you have all necessary documents. If you’re traveling with someone else, make copies of those documents so you each have a set of the other’s.
Bon voyage! You’re ready to hit the road — or the high seas. First, though, use Ensurem’s handy Medigap Quoter to find the best Medigap plan for your needs. The more you know about your options with Medicare Supplement insurance, the more educated a decision you’ll make.