Many of us enjoy the freedom of traveling and the opportunity to experience new cultures that it provides. What many of us do not realize, however, is that we may not be covered by our health insurance while traveling abroad. This can be especially true when it comes to the seniors in your life and their Medicare coverage.

We know how easy it can be to feel invincible while on vacation. After all, most of us do not plan to get into an accident or come down with a serious illness while in a foreign country. In reality, however, accidents and illnesses can occur at any time, and it can be overwhelming to navigate a foreign country’s health care system without the proper coverage. This is why we want to share a few tips about health care coverage to help ensure you are protected before you jet off for your next family trip or exotic adventure.

First, we encourage you to do some research about what your and your aging loved one’s current healthcare policy covers. Call your insurance provider to verify whether your emergency medical coverage will protect you in a foreign country. Be sure to ask the right questions to get a clear answer. Questions that may be helpful include “If I am injured or become sick abroad, will my current policy protect me?” “If I need to use my policy abroad, will I have to pay any out-of-pocket expenses there and file for reimbursement when I return to the United States?” “How does my policy work abroad when it comes to pre-existing conditions.” Sometimes, the details of your insurance policy can sound like a foreign language. It is important to understand the specifics of what is covered by your policy before you travel so you have time to change or update your policy as needed.

If your current health care policy does not extend overseas, it may be wise to research supplemental travel insurance plans that cover a wide range of services. There are also many insurance providers that offer a short-term coverage plan, specifically designed for travelers. Before committing to a plan, examine each option carefully. Understand the amount of coverage each plan provides, who it may cover, including any deductibles and copayments, as well as, refund policies and exemption limits. The type of coverage you need may depend on your health, pre-existing conditions, and even the country which you plan to visit. This may look a little different for seniors. If you are a senior or planning for one, we encourage you to research insurance providers that offer medical insurance for travelers as part of your Medicare supplement plan.

Traveling can open many doors and is generally a very enjoyable experience and we want to keep it that way for you! These are just some of the factors to be aware of when preparing for your trip abroad. If this article raised any questions for you or you need further advice on protecting yourself while traveling, do not wait to contact our office.