Although you might think that you haven’t broken a bone in seventeen years, unfortunately, accidents happen. What if you need to see a doctor if you are staying abroad? In a minute, you’ll learn whether Medicare covers overseas travel. Let’s go!

Medicare within the U.S.

With Original Medicare, you are covered if you need medical care anywhere in the U.S. but also in its territories. It means that in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, but also Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands, the government will pay directly for the health care services.

If, on the other hand, you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, the situation is more complicated. Depending on your type of plan, if you are outside your service area, your medical expenses might not be covered, or they might be covered, but you could have to pay a larger share of the costs. If you are traveling to a far-away state, it’s best to call your insurance provider to receive Medicare information.

Medicare outside the U.S.

If you are traveling outside the U.S. or its territories, your medical expenses won’t be covered by Medicare, though there are several exceptions.


If you find yourself requiring medical attention while traveling to or from Alaska, Medicare will cover the costs of the health care in the nearest Canadian hospital if it’s closer than any American hospital. The important part is that for your expenses to be covered, you must be traveling a direct route.

Cruise ships

If you are on a cruise ship that’s either in an American port or not more than 6 hours from it, the Medicare will cover your medical expenses even if the medical procedure is not urgent. 

The nearest hospital

If you live near the border, and the closest hospital is on the other side of the border, Medicare will pay for the health care provided in this hospital, even if your life isn’t threatened. It can apply if you live near the Mexican or Canadian border. 

If you find yourself in one of those situations, Medicare will pay for the:

Inpatient hospital care

An inpatient is a person admitted to the hospital that will need to stay there for some time to be monitored by the doctors. It could be for one night or for three months. An outpatient, on the other hand, is someone who doesn’t require hospitalization. Medicare will cover your hospital abroad if one of the previously mentioned conditions applies to you.

Emergency services

If your condition is severe, Medicare will pay for the ambulance and the medical services before and during your inpatient hospital care. If you no longer have a status of inpatient, then the medical expenses won’t be covered by Medicare.

Non-emergency services

If you are admitted to the hospital as an inpatient, and one of those 3 situations apply to you, then even medical procedures that won’t be necessary will be covered by Medicare.

Inpatient hospital care in foreign countries is covered by Part A, while the next two are covered by Part B. If you have any doubts if your medical expenses will be covered by your insurance plan, then it is best to contact your insurance provider directly. Depending on your plan, the out-of-pocket costs may vary even if you are traveling from one state to another. Leaving your service area could lead to surprising costs, which is why it’s best to contact your insurer directly. If your medical expenses aren’t covered by Medicare, a visit to the doctor could be quite costly.

Stay informed

It is impossible to predict whether you will need to visit a hospital, while travelling overseas. Unfortunately, many things could happen and you might need the help of the trained professionals. If you are on a cruise ship that’s either in an American port, or 6 hours from it or less, are travelling between Alaska and another state, or live next to the border, then Medicare will cover your medical expenses. Still, it’s best to call your insurer, as some of the medical services are covered by Part A, while the others are covered by Part B.