International Travel Concerns for Seniors with Medicare…

GeoBlue_logo2As International travel expands, so do health and safety concerns.  We have all heard of the Pandemics and terrorist attacks around the globe and unfortunately these are real concerns for Americans traveling abroad, including Seniors.  For some Seniors, managing chronic conditions exacerbated by sleep loss, dietary changes and increased physical exertion can complicate their trip.  Given the heightened risks we are now facing as Americans, being prepared and avoiding potential hazards is a must.

The simple fact is that most existing health insurance benefits shrink or disappear when travelers cross the U.S. border.  Medicare provides no protection overseas, while Medicare supplements strictly limit benefits abroad.  Critically, most policies do not pay to get you to a high standard of care should you need to be evacuated due to a medical emergency.  More and more, senior travelers are becoming aware of the many gaps and limitations that exist and many are not leaving things to chance.

“What about Medicare? –
Direct from U.S. State Department Website – You are NOT covered by Medicare abroad.  The Social Security Medicare program does not provide coverage for hospital or medical costs outside of the United States.  Senior citizens may wish to contact the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) or a travel agent for information about foreign medical care coverage with private Medicare supplement plans.

Travel medical insurance policies are designed to pick up your medical expenses when you leave home.  If you are covered under Medicare, these plans act as your primary insurance while abroad.  Travel medical insurance also fills critical gaps when taking Medicare Supplement plans overseas.  Here is one example:  Some Medicare supplements typically cover emergencies up to $50,000 and are subject to a $250 deductible and 20% coinsurance.  In this case, the benefit gap that opens on a $100,000 hospitalization followed by a medical evacuation bill of $25,000 or more would cost the uninsured traveler $85,000 or more.

The best designed International health plans today offer more than emergency benefits too.  They cover everything from  hospitalization and surgery to physician office visits, ambulance services, and prescriptions medications.  The better plans available make it a point to cover sickness or injury resulting from a pre-existing medical condition or a terrorist event without limitations, including emergency medical evacuation.  The policies even pay medical providers overseas on a direct basis so you can avoid the drudgery of paperwork hassles that come with filing claims.

Obtaining a solid International Travel Plan prior to leaving home for places abroad is worth serious consideration.  Finally, Americans now have some of the best products ever designed and insured by the largest known insurance entities in the world, the Blue Cross Blue Shield networks.  GeoBlue is the premier branded product for HTH Worldwide Insurance Services which has been a leader in providing International health insurance for both Individuals, Seniors and Groups for a long time.

If you are over 65 and planning a short or even longer term trip outside the borders of the United States consider GeoBlue as one of your options when seeking coverage prior to departure.  If you have questions give a call (619) 435-6700, or send me an email (“”), we are here to help.


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