How Medicare Supplemental Coverage Works While Traveling

Hi Joann Quinn, co-founder of,
here to make Medicare and Medigap a little bit easier one video at a time. And, if you
travel for leisure, travel to visit family, or live in another state part time, you might
be wondering how Medicare Supplemental coverage works while you travel outside your zip code,
city, state, or even the United States. And, if you’ve done any research about Medicare,
then you might already know that Medicare’s network is huge. In fact, there are 515,000
providers actively receiving Medicare payments, according to CMS (the Centers for Medicare
and Medicaid Services) as of January 2017. So, this is a huge benefit to you while you
are traveling. But, do you wonder if a Medicare provider will accept your Medicare Supplemental
coverage plan outside of your zip code? Well, I’m going to provide you all the details
about how Medicare Supplement plans work while you’re traveling. How it compares to Medicare
Advantage Plans, and make sure you stay to the end for my tips on how to use your Part
D drug coverage while traveling, as well. So, let’s get started. You know, the great
news about Medicare Supplement insurance is that you can use it across all 50 states,
including U.S. territories (District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American
Samoa, or Northern Mariana Islands). So, all you have to do is remember that a provider
who accepts Medicare will also accept your Medicare supplement plan regardless of who
the insurance company is. For example, let’s say that you live in Texas and you purchased
a Medicare Supplement plan from Manhattan Life Insurance Company, and you’re going to
travel to Florida either for pleasure or maybe you live there part time. But, you realize
that, in Florida, Manhattan Life does not sell Medicare Supplement insurance, so you’re
wondering if your plan will work in Florida. Well, not to worry, you can absolutely use
your plan. Again, while traveling, it’s not about the name of your insurance carrier.
It’s about seeing providers who accept Medicare. And, that’s the key. As long as you go to
the provider who accepts Medicare, where ever you are in the U.S., or the territories, then
your Medigap plan will pay its portion of costs according to your Outline of Benefits
for your plan. And, it works seamlessly, because the provider sends your claim to Medicare,
who then processes it, and then electronically sends it to your Medigap insurance company.
Who will then pay its portion of costs. So, the bottom line is, as long as you’re seeing
a Medicare approved provider who is in Medicare’s vast network, then you will be covered and
your Medigap insurance plan will also work regardless of where where you are in the United
States. So, now you know how Medicare Supplement coverage works in the United States and it’s
U.S. territories. But, what about foreign travel? Well, Medicare, itself, is very limited
on what it will cover outside of the United States. In fact, there are only three situations
in which Medicare will provide some healthcare coverage and they are very limited and have
very strict rules that apply with hospital stays within Mexico and Canada. So, I advise
you to read the publication in which CMS put out regarding those rules, and I’ll put the
link in this post below so you can look at the details of those situations. But, now
let’s focus on Medicare Supplement insurance plans and how they work outside of the United
States. So, 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 needs outside the U.S. after you have
met a $250 deductible for the year. Now, keep in mind, these Medigap policies cover foreign
travel emergency care if it begins within the first 60 days of your trip and has a lifetime
limit of $50,000. Now, I want to be clear, Medicare Supplement insurance is the same
thing as Medigap insurance. The terms are used interchangeably, but they’re the exact
same types of health coverage. But, what’s not the same are Medicare Supplement plans
and Medicare Advantage plans. And, they definitely don’t work the same while traveling. And,
one of the reasons why is because Medicare Advantage Plans do not use Medicare’s huge
network of Medicare providers. Instead, Medicare Advantage Plans, being HMOs and PPOs, have
providers in their service area networks, dedicated to your zip code or your county.
So, this limits your availability when needing a provider out of your area. So, depending
on the type of coverage you have with a Medicare Advantage Plan, it’s quite possible they will
not cover you as you’re traveling throughout the United States and U.S. territories. It
really all depends on where you’re traveling, how long you’re traveling for, the type of
care that you’ll need. Those are really important details if you’re planning on getting a Medicare
Advantage Plan or you have one; that you really take a look at the rules that apply to traveling
within the United States with that Medicare Advantage Plan. And, the same holds true if
you plan on traveling with a Medicare Advantage Plan outside of the United States. There are
different rules that apply with each Medicare Advantage Plan, so you want to make sure that
you look at those rules for your particular plan. Which is definitely not the case with
a Medicare Supplement plan, also known as a Medigap plan, you do not have to continue
worrying about what rules apply. You never have to check that. If you have Medicare and
your Medigap plan, then you know that you can visit any doctor within the United States
who accepts Medicare, and you will be covered. And, let me share an example of how Medicare’s
network really came in handy for my father-in-law who was getting ready to travel out of the
country. Prior to leaving, he was staying with us and, they day he was actually leaving,
noticed a spot on his skin that was rather uncomfortable. So, he wasn’t near his home.
So, he wasn’t able to see his dermatologist, so he had to find one near our home. Which
he was able to do using Medicare’s network. Their provider network. Now, had he had a
Medicare Advantage Plan, it would have been a different story. He would have had to go
outside of the network, which would have incurred either the full cost of the provider visit
or he would have had to pay a higher out of network cost. But, because he had Medicare
and a Medigap plan, he had no problem finding a Medicare provider. Having that spot taken
care of before he left for his vacation. Which he was going out of the country, so Medicare
wouldn’t of deemed that as medically necessary, or an emergency while he was traveling out
of the U.S., so he would not have been able to have that treated until he returned. So,
it was good he was able to take care of it before leaving. And, as promised, let’s talk
about Part D drug plans and how they work while traveling. Now, if you already have
a Medicare Part D plan or you’re going to be choosing one, definitely want to check
on this – when you’re in Medicare’s Plan Finder Tool or you can even call Medicare directly,
but what you want to know is that this particular plan has national coverage. And, with Medicare’s
Plan Finder Tool you can do this by looking at the plan and finding the little “N”. That
“N” indicates national coverage and you can use this plan across the United States. The
other thing you want to do is make sure that you choose a plan that has more than one retail
location. So, right now, in 2017 (at the time of this video), there’s a plan called AARP
Walgreens. This particular plan you can only use at Walgreens. So, if that’s the plan that
you’re going to choose, where you can only use one retail location, you might want to
make sure that this particular retail location is available where you’re traveling. Especially,
if you live somewhere part time. Of course, there’s so much more to learn about Medicare
and Medicare Supplement insurance and if you’re just starting your research feel free to access
my free Medicare eCourse, by simply clicking on the little “i” in the right hand corner
of the screen. Or, by clicking on the links in the post below. I cover all the different
parts of Medicare, enrollment opportunities, deadlines, penalties, and so much more. And,
if you want to stay on top of Medicare topics, feel free to join me at REMEDIGAP’s Facebook
page. And, of course, you can subscribe here so you can always see my videos when they
come out. And, if you like this video, please “like” it. And, last but not least, share
it with your friends so that they can stay informed, as well. I’ll see you next time.
Thanks for watching! Bloopers, Bloopers, and more Bloopers. Still, more Bloopers!


I plan to travel about 50% of the time outside of the United States. Since the supplemental coverage would not cover me outside of the US, and I heard that the advantage plan would cover me internationally, although it would only cover 80% of the cost. Since I plan to be out about 50% of the time, it would appear to make sense to be in the advantage plan. My question is, is there a time limit as to how much time I can spend outside the US in the case of the advantage plan? I also heard that some supplemental plans do include coverage for emergency and urgent services but it is limited to 60 or 90 days; sort of like a travel insurance. I will appreciate the information you can provide. Thank you.

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