Medicare Supplement Foreign Travel

Medicare Supplement Foreign Travel

If you are a cross-country traveler, you’ll be happy to know that your Medicare benefits for emergencies extend to all 50 states, as well as the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa.  If you are going to travel to other countries you will need the Medicare Supplement Foreign Travel Rider. Keep reading to understand how this works for you or call 920-545-4884.

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So if you plan to tour the country during retirement, you can feel safe knowing that almost anywhere you travel, your health care will travel with you. 

But what if you plan to travel outside of the United States?

What if you’re a regular cruise-goer or have been holding off until retirement to finally tour Europe with your spouse?

If you’re planning to see the world, you’ll need to take extra steps to make sure that your Medicare comes with you. But don’t worry. Our Medicare Supplement Foreign Travel Guide has everything you need to know about traveling outside of the U.S. on Medicare.

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Does Medicare Extend Outside the United States?

With very few exceptions, your Original Medicare cannot benefit you outside of the U.S. This means that any medical emergencies that might arise during travel would have to be paid out-of-pocket by you.

Four circumstances are exceptions to this rule. In the following situations, your Medicare might cover some of your healthcare from a foreign hospital:

  1. A medical emergency occurs when you are still within the states, but the nearest hospital is outside of the U.S.
  2. The closest hospital to your home is in a foreign country (for example, you live right next to the Canadian border).
  3. An emergency occurs when you are traveling to or from Alaska by way of the most direct route through Canada, and the nearest hospital is outside the states. In these situations, Medicare will only cover expenses if they rule that you were travelling “without unreasonable delay”.
  4. You are on a cruise and receive medical services no more than six hours from a U.S. port.

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As you can see, these rare exceptions are not meant to cover world travelers. The good news is that there is a way to take your Medicare benefits with you: the Wisconsin Medicare supplement foreign travel rider. If you plan to do any travelling outside the U.S., it’s important for you to strongly consider adding this coverage to your plan

Wisconsin Foreign Travel Rider

In addition to your Original Medicare (Parts A and B), you are also eligible to enroll in a Medicare Supplement Plan. Also known as Medigap, these plans serve as supplemental insurance meant to reduce costs not usually covered by Medicare.

In Wisconsin, your Medigap plan consists of several “riders”, which are just additions to the basic plan. The Foreign Travel rider does exactly what it sounds like: extend your health care to foreign countries.

(Note: You aren’t eligible for Medicare Supplement if you have an Advantage Plan, also known as Part C.)

Medicare Supplement Foreign Travel | Benefits

If you add the foreign travel rider to your plan, Medicare will pay for 80% of covered charges after you have paid the $250 annual deductible.


You are responsible for the remaining 20%. The policy has a lifetime limit of $50,000, and its benefits only cover you for the first 60 days after you have left the country (per trip).


If you are planning to travel outside the U.S. for more than two months, it is advisable to purchase separate travel insurance for medical care.

When Should I Apply for the Medicare Foreign Travel Supplement?

You might be tempted to save on premiums by holding off until just before your trip to add the foreign travel rider to your Medigap plan.

But this is a bad idea.

Even though you are allowed to change your Medigap coverage at any time, there are serious drawbacks to doing so outside of your open enrollment period.

Your normal enrollment period for Medicare supplement plans in Wisconsin is the six months immediately following your enrollment in Medicare Part B once you are 65.

During this time, you can enroll in any Medigap plan with guaranteed rights. If you enroll in or change plans after this period, the insurer may refuse coverage, charge you increased premiums, or require medical underwriting.

Therefore, it’s important to add the foreign travel rider as soon as possible. If there is the slightest chance that you might do any travelling outside of the U.S. in your retirement, you should add it during open enrollment.

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Wisconsin Medicare Supplement Foreign Travel Rider

We hope our guide has helped you determine if a foreign travel Medigap plan is right for you. If you still have questions or are looking for professional advice on choosing the best riders for your Wisconsin Medicare Supplement, we are ready to help.

Give the experts on the Medicare Solutions Team a call at (920) 545 - 4884, or feel free to contact us through our website at your convenience.

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