Yesterday morning at the Fort Bend County, Senior Trust Alliance I was asked about health insurance for people while they are overseas.
A friend of one of the members had a stroke while he was vacationing in Africa. He had to stay in the hospital for over 2 months and ran up quite a bill. I was asked what his options could have been.
I wanted to share options that senior citizens have for health insurance while they are on vacation over seas.
Except in some very specific situations, Medicare does not pay for medical care obtained over seas. My colleague’s friend in Africa has lost a sizable chunk of his retirement fund to pay for medical bills he incurred while over seas if he placed his trust in Medicare to cover him on vacation.
His loss was preventable. Although Medicare will not cover medical bills over seas, some Medigap plans will. At least they will pay up to $ 50,000. In order to use the Foreign Emergency Travel Benefit you must first have a Medigap C, D, F, G, M or N plan.
If you have one of those Medicare Supplement plans and become injured or ill while traveling outside of the United States, you will first have to pay the doctor/hospital that treats you over seas.
Save your receipts. When you return you will need to send them to your insurance company along with a paper claim form.
Your insurance companies claim department will review your claim. If they decide that Medicare would have paid towards your bills if you had obtained medical treatment inside the U.S., they will reimburse you, up to $ 50,000.
They will not base their reimbursement on what you actually paid. It will be based on what Medicare would have paid.
You are responsible for all the costs that Medicare would not have paid.
With a Medigap plan, my colleague’s friend would have still made a hole in his retirement savings but not nearly as big a hole as he made by not having any Medigap.
Just because Medicare will not cover you while you are on vacation in Europe is no reason to stay home if you want to travel during your retirement. There is another, less expensive, option for those occasions when you dust off your passport for vacation.
If you are under the age of 75 and enjoy traveling, there is no reason why you need to lose your retirement savings merely because you had a stroke while on an African safari.
By clicking on the photo of the cruise ship above, you can obtain health insurance that will pay all of your medical bills while you are traveling outside of the United States.
You will not have to pay up front, save your receipts and be reminded of your experience by filing a claim form and waiting several weeks to be reimbursed.