4 Tips for Traveling with Medicare Overseas

4 Tips for Traveling with Medicare Overseas

You’ve got the travel bug and have decided to plan a trip abroad! Whether it’s a relaxing Mediterranean cruise or sightseeing in Rome, retirement is the perfect time to go on your next adventure. But, like with any travel, it’s good to be prepared and know how your health care will be covered in case of an accident or if you get sick. Here are some tips for traveling and information on which Medicare plans are best for overseas travel.

Tip 1: Check with your Medicare plan provider about your plan’s coverage

There are a few different kinds of Medicare plans, in addition to Original Medicare (also known as Medicare Part A and Part B). Original Medicare is government funded, and covers certain hospital and medical expenses, but not usually if you’re outside of the country.

Medicare supplement insurance (also known as Medigap) plans can be good plans for avid travelers. Medigap Plans C, D, F, G, M, and N provide emergency foreign travel health care coverage in some form. These plans typically cover 80% of health care costs, after you meet the $250 deductible.1

Some Medicare Advantage plans may cover you overseas. It depends on your specific plan, so contact your Medicare provider for more information. Also, be sure to bring a copy of your Medicare and health care insurance cards with you when you travel. That way, you’ll have that information at the ready if you need it.

It’s always best to contact Medicare providers for more information on each plan’s coverage. That way, you can decide which option is right for you!

Tip 2: Get your vaccines and medical check-ups ahead of time!

Are you traveling somewhere that requires vaccinations? Be prepared before you travel! The CDC provides information on illnesses or diseases in your travel destination spot, and if you need to get any vaccines before you go. Depending on the vaccines and the Medicare plan you have, you may be covered for any necessary shots.

Medicare Part B covers a few vaccines and yearly wellness visits. If you know you’re going to travel, plan your wellness visit before you go. Your Medicare Part B plan also covers:2

  • Annual Influenza (flu) shots
  • Hepatitis B
  • Pneumococcal (Pneumonia) shots
  • Tdap shot (for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis shot)

You may need Medicare Part D in order to cover other vaccines that are needed for your trip. Check in with your Medicare provider so you know where to get your shots and how much of the cost you’ll be responsible for.3

Tip 3: Bring an extended supply of your medications

Even if you have a Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug) plan, you won’t be covered for prescription drugs that you buy outside of the United States. Before you take your overseas trip, make sure that you:4

  • Talk to your doctor about your prescriptions and get them refilled early if needed.
  • Pack enough of your medications for the entire trip plus a few days and store them in your carry on. That way, if you want to extend your trip or experience travel delays, you’ll be set.
  • Have refills at home that your family or friends can send to you if you run out or lose your medications.
  • Bring your doctor’s information with you, just in case you need to contact him or her while you’re away.

Tip 4: Look into travel health insurance plans

You may prefer to have additional health insurance for extra financial coverage and peace of mind while you’re abroad. If this is the case, you can look into purchasing travel medical insurance while you’re out of the country. This isn’t the same as insurance for cancelled flights or lost baggage, since it’s specific to medical treatment abroad or emergency evacuation services. The U.S. Department of State has more information and recommendations for travel health insurance if you want to learn more.

You’ve picked a destination, and it’s time to start planning!

Have you picked a destination for your next adventure? Don’t forget to pack your camera to capture some memories! Learn more about Medicare supplement insurance and the other health care insurance plans that are available.


1 Medicare.gov (updated January 2021). Web page: Medicare Coverage Outside of the United States. Retrieved on June 9, 2021, from https://www.medicare.gov/Pubs/pdf/11037-Medicare-Coverage-Outside-United-States.pdf

2,3 MedicareInteractive.org. Web page: Vaccinations and Immunizations. Retrieved July 5, 2018, from https://www.medicareinteractive.org/get-answers/medicare-covered-services/preventive-services/vaccines-and-immunizations

4 Medicare.gov. Web page: Travel (when you need health care outside of the U.S.). Retrieved July 5, 2018, from https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/travel-need-health-care-outside-us.html