Does Medicare cover my care when I travel?

If you have Original Medicare, you can travel anywhere in the U.S. and its territories (this includes all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands) and get the medical care you need from almost any doctor or hospital. Medicare does not cover medical care you get outside the country. If you will be traveling to a foreign country and want insurance, talk to your travel agent about special travel insurance. The only exceptions in which Medicare may cover medical care you get outside of the U.S. are:

  • Medicare will pay for emergency services in Canada if you are traveling a direct route between Alaska and another state.
  • Medicare will pay for medical care you get on a cruise ship if:
    1. The ship is registered to the U.S.;
    2. The doctor is registered with the Coast Guard; and
    3. You get the care while the ship is in U.S. territorial waters. This means the ship is in a U.S. port or within six hours of arrival at or departure from a U.S. port.
  • Medicare may pay for non-emergency in-patient services in a foreign hospital (and connected physician and ambulance costs), if it is closer to your residence than the nearest U.S. hospital that is available and equipped to treat you medical condition. This may happen if, for example, you live near the border of Mexico or Canada.

Some supplemental insurance, such as Medigap plans, provide coverage for foreign travel. Medigap plans C through J cover 80 percent of the cost of emergency care abroad during the first two months of a trip with a $250 deductible and up to $50,000 in a lifetime.