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Medical insurance for Medicare travelers

Hi all -
My usual medical insurance for Europe travel is no longer available.
Asking Medicare Travelers - what carrier have you used during travels.
(Not trip insurance - only medical insurance.)
Thanks very much.

Posted by
2788 posts

I would have posted the same thing Alan did. Done it with Travel Guard for the last 8 years since going on Medicare.

Posted by
2870 posts

If you have Medicare supplement part F, it covers $50,000 overseas. I have AARP/UnitedHealth. You will want to check your policy for exclusions. As you know, Medicare will not cover you outside of the US.

Why don’t you want trip insurance? You can get more medical coverage and evacuation coverage. Of course the cost will be more for the higher limits. For my upcoming trip I am using John Hancock trip insurance. Ratings and reviews were good. I had a problem with Travel Guard but that’s a different story.

Posted by
8212 posts

I have a great Medicare supplement obtained from my ex-Megacorp employer. They cover overseas travel.

Posted by
4441 posts

I haven't used it yet, since I've only been on Medicare for 6 weeks, but in AL Blue Cross has something called GeoBlue. You might want to see if Blue Cross does this in your state.

Posted by
20336 posts

I go with an Evac plan that has $50,000 of in Europe emergency medical care. The Evacuation is the big thing. Medical costs in Europe are very cheap compared to USA. Usually you just need to get patched up and go home. Its the "go home" that can cost serious money.

Posted by
8173 posts

Until recently we didn't buy travel insurance. We had Medjet Assist annual policy for both of us that would fly us from any hospital in the world to a hospital near home as medical evacuation is the most significant expense you are likely to have in a medical catastrophe. It can easily run 100K. Our medigap policy covers us for 60K each in medical coverage when traveling but there is a 60 days limit for any one trip. When we traveled to Russia and France a couple of years ago for 10 weeks, we did get an Allianz policy. On that trip is broke my elbow and spent 5 days in the hospital in Menton and had surgery on it and then follow up care and PT in Paris. Allianz covered all this. We didn't have to use the Medjet assist since we didn't want to end the trip -- I just bought clothes that covered my cast and finished the 5 weeks of the trip.

For shorter trips, we relied on medigap plus medjet assist. But never had to test it.

Posted by
5697 posts

Medigap G plus credit card coverage (medical plus evac) through Chase Sapphire Reserve -- but haven't had to try them out yet since expenses have been minimal, just €50 for re-cementing a dental cap and €30 for removing ear wax (on separate trips)

Posted by
2712 posts

I’d be interested in hearing more from Janet regarding her experience with Allianz. One difference between travel insurance and credit card or Medi-gap coverage is that (in our experience) the travel insurance company has staff that will navigate you to the right facility, provider, and communicate to them regarding financial coverage. We had this experience in Lisbon when my daughter fell, badly sprained an ankle, needed a wheelchair. The insurance nurse was all over this. Credit card and Medi-gap coverage, for the most part, is “pay and chase”. You pay upfront, then look for reimbursement from the insurer. They do not have nurse navigators, usually have no evacuation coverage. As for care in Europe being cheap-yes, if your illness is along the lines of what my doctor calls the moles, colds and itchy holes. But, if things go south and you require surgery you don’t want to test your credit card limit.

Posted by
73 posts

Thanks to all for your replies.
Obviously this isn’t a black/white topic... I appreciate your timely replies.
Through InsureMyTrip, Atlas International separately states coverage for Terrorism ($50,000) and Political Evacuation ($100,000), and Medical Evacuation ($1,000,000). So this “seems” to be most comprehensive @ $88.20

2-week trip, 72-year-old (me).
I’m considering getting annual plan ($180.)
I think RS Guidebooks recommend a different company - need to locate that one before a final decision.
Appreciate all your thoughts. Thank you.

Posted by
8173 posts

I was glad to have my husband to deal with the insurance while I had the operation. I went to the nearest hospital by car 6 days after the accident with a purple arm. It was a public hospital and luckily was the regional hospital that dealt with auto accidents so I had a real orthopedic surgeon. I had surgery the next day and was in the hospital 5 days. It took several days but my husband managed to get Allianz to pay the hospital directly. There was some push back about making sure it wasn't pre-existing (my insurance actually covered pre-existing conditions but my broken elbow wasn't one obviously). We had several rounds of hassles when they got back as they wanted various forms of paperwork to try to get some back from our gap policy. At one point they were denying claim because we hadn't signed the paperwork -- I had a copy of the signed paperwork and when I called it was 'yeah, don't see what this is about, I can see it is signed right here.' But all in all they came through on what was a very straightforward situation. We did not claim for a number of things like the sling etc.

We didn't get any help from Allianz as to doctors or the follow up PT in Paris -- I managed that. myself, but they did reimburse us for the doctor's visit in Paris and the PT when I submitted receipts. It saved them a bundle that we continued the trip and didn't required lifts home etc. And it saved our trip so win win.

Posted by
85 posts

For travel insurance I use the insuremytrip aggregator website. I inevitably use different companies for each trip, depending on coverages and cost of the policy.

Be sure to check reviews on any policy you're considering. Also, be sure you cover ALL up-front expenses of your trip (airfare, tours, pre-paid hotels and train tickets). Most policies will cover nothing unless you've covered ALL pre-paid costs.

Posted by
6364 posts

angelina, isn't an insurance company. It's a site where you can compare a number of companies and policies. We've used the website several times, and have chosen a different company each time. We've never had a claim, so I can't make recommendations.

Posted by
776 posts

Other's views are noted with interest.

For the past 25 years, I've lived half the year in Paris. ( I'm 80 plus some now) I carry no medical insurance other than the emergency benefits in my Medicare advantage policy. The only time I've needed my medicare supplement emergency benefit was years ago for a sprained ankle. As medical care in France is excellent and cheap, I have no desire to be returned to the US for care, I'm content with that.

Depending upon where you're going, for two weeks only, wouldn't your emergency medicare/supplemenr be sufficient? Doesn't your travel insurance cover evacuation?

Other viewpoints appreciated.

Posted by
73 posts

Dear 75020,
I want your life!
Do write to us all about how you’ve managed this great adventure.
I’m 73 - my family goes NUTS! everytime I embark on one of my journeys (twice a year with backpack suitcase).
Here - in San Francisco - I’m “Double I” (irrelevant and invisible.
In Europe my birthday is dyslexic - not 73, but rather 37!
Three years ago I raced my son (now 43) up the steps of the Eiffel Tower.
Seriously - please continue your note and advise us on your adventure.
I always say - “My favorite place in all of San Francisco is the departure gate of the International Terminal.”

Posted by
2712 posts

75020-Medicare Advantage plans are different than traditional Medicare. They cover all that Medicare does (by law) but also can add benefits. Yours obviously has some emergency coverage abroad. Traditional Medicare has none. Medigap policies have some benefits abroad as has been pointed out. Here is how I think of travel insurance-I want to insure for low probability but high impact events. If I lose the cost of my travel its painful. But, if I have a major health event that requires hospitalization, surgery, repatriation, that is a horse of another color. That is what I insure for as I think the amount covered under a Medigap policy is insufficient. The vast majority of people who buy travel insurance never use it. Those who need it are glad they purchased it.

Posted by
776 posts

"Traditional Medicare has none."

You're right. At the time I needed emergency service I had a medicare supplement plan as they were then called. I did not collect on Medicare. I should have stated that. Thanks for the clarification. I corrected my post accordingly

Posted by
5837 posts

Some Medigap (Supplemental) insurance plans include foreign travel coverage. See

Standard Medigap Plans C, D, F, G, M, and N provide foreign travel
emergency health care coverage when you travel outside the U.S.

Plans E, H, I, and J are no longer for sale....

If you have Medigap Plan C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, M or N, your plan:

Covers foreign travel emergency care if it begins during the first 60
days of your trip, and if Medicare doesn't otherwise cover the care.

Pays 80% of the billed charges for certain medically necessary
emergency care outside the U.S. after you meet a $250 deductible for
the year.

Foreign travel emergency coverage with Medigap policies has a lifetime
limit of $50,000.

I bought recently the AIG TravelGuard MedEvac policy:

Accident Sickness Medical Expens .$50,000
Emergency Evacuation & Repatriation of Remains...$1,000,000
Escort Maximum..$25,000
Accidental Death & Dismemberment..$25,000

Note that the InsureMyTrip notes that medical coverage is "secondary".