Sunday, October 18th 2015

Medicare and the Expat and a Plan

Written by

Rafael Bracho

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Don't be caught in a medical emergency without medical insurance.

Have you ever wondered what Medicare supplements and Medigap plans provide coverage outside of the United States? Many American Expats move to Mexico and have no idea what coverage they might have from their American Medicare program while here in Mexico. It is important to have a plan in case of a medical emergency abroad.

First and foremost, Medicare _will not_ _cover_ _you_ in Mexico. However if you purchased a Medicare supplement or a Medigap policy, some coverage might extend to you during your time abroad. Check with your medicare supplement or Medigap provider to see what coverage you might have. These policies are coded to easily shop between the different companies:

  • Standard Medigap plans C, D, F, G, M, and N provide foreign travel emergency health care coverage when you travel outside the United States.

  • Medigap Plans C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, M, and N pay 80% of the billed charges for certain medically necessary emergency care outside the U.S.—after you meet a $250 deductible for the year.

These Medigap policies cover foreign travel emergency care if it begins during the first 60 days of your trip**—**and if Medicare doesn’t otherwise cover the care. Foreign travel emergency coverage with Medigap policies have a lifetime limit of $50,000.

One thing to note is that the program works on a reimbursement basis. This means you pay the foreign hospital and then you submit your bills for reimbursement. From my experience, it usually requires about 60 to 90 days to process and receive your reimbursement. Some providers also require you to have your bills translated to English at your expense.

Another thing to note is that hospitals will not bill the Medigap provider directly. You pay and then will be reimbursed. Make sure you have sufficient funds to access in order to pay the hospital.

What Options are Available for Those Without a Medicare Supplement?

Traveling for only a few months?

Consider a short term travel policy.

Traveling for more than 6 months or permanently?

International Health Insurance Policies are available to be issued to age 74.

For those who might not qualify for insurance due to health conditions.

Consider a Medical Evacuation Policy that would return you to the United States in the event of a serious injury or accident.

Source – https://www.medicare.gov/

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