A Guide to Traveling Abroad if You Receive Medicare Benefits

If you’re planning to travel abroad as a Medicare enrollee, it’s important to realize that your coverage will not apply while you’re traveling says Medicare specialist from https://clearmatchmedicare.com. So, it’s important to do plenty of research on the healthcare system of the country that you’ll be traveling to. Here are a few tips that can help you find the healthcare that you need while traveling internationally:

medicare for traveling

1 Bring All Necessary Medications With You

If possible, you should always bring all of your medications with you. This is especially true if you take a drug that tends to be difficult to find. In fact, some medications are not available abroad. Here are a few situations where you could run into problems finding a medication in a foreign country:

    • Individuals who take certain chemotherapy medications may have difficulty finding the treatment that they need
    • Individuals who take certain medications for a rare disease may find that the medications they need are not available in the country that they’re traveling to
    • Individuals who take a medication that’s only made by one manufacturer may run into issues when attempting to locate it while traveling abroad

2 Single Payer Healthcare Systems Often Don’t Apply to Non-citizens

In many countries, all healthcare costs are covered by a government funded system. Unfortunately, this system doesn’t always apply to non-citizens. Therefore, you could potentially wind up with sky high medical bills even if the country you’re going to has a single payer system.

However, this varies from country to country. Here are a few examples of countries with a single payer healthcare system that covers non-citizens:

    • The United Kingdom: If you’re traveling to the UK, it’s unlikely that you’ll need to spend much on medical expenses. That’s because the National Healthcare System provides a wide range of healthcare services to both citizens and non-citizens for free, but you will need to pay for medications.
    • Canada: While Canada does not offer free or low cost healthcare to all non-citizens, it is possible to have access to most healthcare services for free if you are registered as a temporary resident.
    • Australia: Australia has a healthcare system that’s very similar to Canada’s. While it is a single payer system that offers care to citizens free of charge, you’ll need to register as a resident.

It’s important to note that you typically do not need to reside in a country for very long in order to be considered a legal resident. Therefore, individuals who are traveling and plan to stay in a certain country for an extended period of time will often be able to find coverage through a single payer system.

It Can Be Harder to Get a Second Opinion

Depending on the specific country that you’re traveling to, it could be harder to get a second opinion than it is in the United States. That’s because many national healthcare systems assign individual patients a doctor.

The Cost of Medications Varies From One Country to Another

The amount that you’ll pay for medications often varies greatly from one country to another. Furthermore, the region of a country that you’re traveling to can make a substantial difference when it comes to the cost of certain drugs.

3 If You Take A Medication That’s Hard To Find, Ask Your Healthcare Provider If Emergency Substitutions Can Be Made

If you take a medication that may be difficult to access, it’s a good idea to ask your healthcare provider if substitutions will be available in an emergency. Luckily, this is often possible, but it’s important to check with your doctor before your trip.

4 If You Have Private Coverage, Your Costs May Be Covered

While private coverage often covers healthcare costs during a trip abroad, this will depend on the specific plan that you have. Some policies do not provide any coverage for healthcare costs incurred outside of the country. However, it will usually be easy to determine whether or not your plan will include medical expenses incurred abroad.

5 COVID-19 Restrictions Vary Considerably From One Country to Another

Depending on where you are traveling, the Covid-19 restrictions that you’ll need to adhere to will vary from one region to another. This is especially true for US citizens are traveling abroad in regions with a low rate of cases. Here are a few examples of countries that have restrictions for travelers from the United States:

    • Australia
    • Canada
    • New Zealand
    • EU Countries
    • The UK

In many cases, the only requirement will be a negative PCR test. However, some countries do have more restrictive travel requirements. So, make sure that you check before you go.

6 Assess the Quality of Local Healthcare Services

The quality of the healthcare that you’ll have access to while traveling abroad will largely depend on where you’re going. Here are a few tips that can help you evaluate the quality of the local healthcare system and plan accordingly:

    • Consider the region’s overall level of economic development.
    • Look at the country’s statistics on the number of practicing doctors in proportion to the national population, and compare the ratio to the statistics that you find for your region.
    • If you’re traveling to a region that lacks healthcare services, it’s extra important to make sure that you bring all necessary medications with you. Also, ensure that you’ll be able to leave the country quickly if you’re going somewhere that does not have a quality healthcare system

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