Traveling with Medicare: Tips for Using Medicare in Another State
Ready to start your retirement traveling, but not sure if your health care is covered? If you’re enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B (Original Medicare), and/or Medicare Supplement Insurance, these plans will cover you anywhere in U.S. as long as the health care provider accepts Medicare. But, did you know that your prescription drug plan (Part D) and Medicare Advantage plan coverage may vary from state to state? If you’re not sure how your Medicare plan will cover you while you travel in the U.S., contact your Medicare plan provider.
Tip 1: Keep your Medicare card and doctor’s contact information on you
Unfortunately, accidents happen. And sometimes people get sick on vacation. Keep your Medicare card with you so it’s handy and secure in case you need it. Also, leave a copy of your health care insurance with a loved one so they can send it to you if you lose yours. You should also have your doctor’s contact information on you in case any questions or concerns arise while you’re traveling.
Tip 2: Know your Medicare plan coverage areas
Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug Plan) and Medicare Advantage plans have specific coverage areas. Do you have one of these plans? You’ll need to check and see if the location you’re traveling to in the U.S. is in your plan’s service area. You can contact your plan provider or search for your plan’s information on Medicare.gov.
And while your Medicare Supplement Insurance policy will cover you anywhere in the U.S., you might need to look at a new policy if you take up permanent residence in a new state. There are 10 standardized Medicare Supplement Insurance policies in 47 states, which means you can keep your plan in most places you might move. But Minnesota, Massachusetts and Wisconsin, have their own standardized Medicare Supplement Insurance policies.3 If you’re moving in or out of, or traveling to one of those three states, you might need to look into more specific details. You can ask your Medicare plan provider for more information about coverage.
Tip 3: Check to see if you need vaccines before your trip. Medicare may cover that.
The CDC has tools for travelers to prepare for any illnesses prevalent in the places you’re traveling to. This is helpful, so you know what medications to bring or vaccines you may need to get before you travel. If you’re enrolled, Medicare Part B will cover you for:
- Annual Influenza (flu) shots
- Hepatitis B vaccine
- Pneumococcal (Pneumonia) shots
- Tdap shot (for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis shot)
Keep in mind, you may need Medicare Part D (prescription drug) if you want to cover any additional vaccines.
Tip 4: Bring your prescription drugs with you, plus some extra just in case
Are you traveling with prescription medications? Even if you have Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug Plan), you may not be in your coverage area and need to check with your Medicare plan provider be you go. Just in case, bring enough of your medications for the length of your trip, plus a few extra days. You should also leave some back-up bottles at home so that if you lose your luggage or pill organizer, a loved one can send your medications to you.
You may also want to keep a first aid kit with you when you travel. You never know when you or someone else may need a bandage or some antibiotic ointment.
Ready for your trip?
Taking your grandkids on a road trip down Route 66? Meeting up with your family for a weekend in Lake Tahoe? Enjoy your trip to the fullest knowing your health care is covered!
If you still have questions about how your health care can be covered through Medicare, you can click here to learn more about which plan might be right for you.
1,2Medicare Interactive. Web page: Traveling with Medicare. (1/14/19), from https://www.medicareinteractive.org/get-answers/medicare-covered-services/medicare-coverage-overview/traveling-with-medicare
3Medicare.gov. Web page: How to Compare Medigap Policies. (1/14/19), from https://www.medicare.gov/supplement-other-insurance/compare-medigap/compare-medigap.html