I’m a U.S. Citizen Living Abroad and Need Medicare

Last Updated : 10/03/20192 min read

If you live abroad and are eligible for Medicare coverage within the United States, you may wonder if your Medicare policy still covers your needs. It’s important to know that Medicare generally does not cover medical expenses incurred while outside the U.S. There are exceptions if you live in the following U.

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S. territories:

  • Puerto Rico
  • Guam
  • The U.S. Virgin Islands
  • American Samoa
  • The Northern Mariana Islands

American citizens who live abroad and are eligible for Medicare coverage within the U.S. may still have options under certain Medicare Supplement plans. Depending on the specific plan, provisions for medical care and medical supplies while living abroad may be covered. Medicare does not cover prescription drugs if you live outside the U.S.

Even though Original Medicare doesn’t provide coverage for most citizens living abroad, there are certain situations in which Medicare may pay for inpatient hospital, doctor, or ambulance services you get in a foreign country. Here are three rare circumstances for which Medicare-covered services may be covered in a foreign country:

  1. You are traveling through Canada without unreasonable delay by the most direct route between Alaska and another U.S. state when a medical emergency occurs.
  2. You are in the U.S. when an emergency occurs, but the hospital closest to you is located in another country.
  3. You physically reside in the U.S., but the hospital or doctor that can best treat your condition, whether or not it is an emergency, is in another country.

If you have a health condition that requires regular medical appointments or supplies such as diabetes test strips or certain prescriptions, you may also want to consider a travel insurance policy that cover individuals who live, work, or travel outside of the U.S. You may also find this publication helpful: Medicare Coverage Outside the United States.

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