Social Security and You: Medicare usually doesn't cover
medical expenses outside U.S.
Posted: 07/02/2007 12:56 AM CDT
Question: My wife and I will be traveling this
summer to Asia. Will Medicare cover my medical expenses
outside of the U.S.?
Answer: People living or traveling outside the
United States usually cannot benefit from Medicare. This is
because, generally speaking, the program provides protection
against the cost of hospital and medical expenses incurred in
the United States.
There are rare emergency cases where
Medicare can pay for care in Canada or Mexico. Also, Medicare
can sometimes pay if a Canadian or Mexican hospital is closer
to your home than the nearest U.S. hospital that can provide
the care you need. If you get emergency treatment in a
Canadian or Mexican hospital or if you live near one, ask
someone who works at the hospital about Medicare coverage, or
have the hospital help you contact the Medicare Intermediary.
Health insurance protection may be very important to anyone
temporarily abroad who plans to return to the United States.
If you plan to return to the United States shortly after you
are eligible for the medical insurance program, you may wish
to enroll during your first enrollment period. If you expect
to be abroad for a longer period of time, you may wish to
enroll during a later general enrollment period.
A general enrollment period is held January 1 through March
31 of each year. Your protection will begin July 1 of the year
you enroll. If you enroll during a general enrollment period,
your monthly premium may be increased by 10 percent for each
12-month period you could have had medical insurance coverage
but were not enrolled. You will have to pay this extra amount
as long as you have Part B.
For more information about Medicare, visit www.medicare.gov