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Medicare Supplement With $1M Major Medical - Is it worth it?


We like to travel abroad a few times/year. I expect we will also spend some extended time (3 - 6 months) abroad a few times over the next 5 - 10 years. Time for us to sign up for a Medicare Supplement Plan. Choices are:
- an AARP UHC Medigap plan subsidized by my former employer, or
- an Anthem plan from my significant other's soon to be former employer which includes a $1M/person Major Medical plan.

The Anthem plan with $1M major medical would be ~$2K/year (for both) more expensive than plan F, or ~$3.7K more expensive than Plan K.

Major Medical in the U.S. is probably not worth the extra cost. But it might be worth it for our short term trips and extended travels.

Plan F does have a $50K/ lifetime benefit for traveling abroad.

What are folks thoughts? Is it worth it to pay the higher premium for the $1M major medical?

Posted by
5697 posts

Better check the fine print on the length of time you can be covered outside the U.S. on each of these policies. I have Plan F foreign coverage but it's only for treatment which starts during the first 60 days of travel outside the U.S. (haven't needed it yet -- worst illness was a cold from as rainstorm in Pisa.)

I'm not sure what "major medical" would mean -- I have Anthem which picks up right where Medicare stops, so in the U.S. I hand over my Medicare and Anthem cards and the bills resolve themselves. Anything that Medicare doesn't approve is all my cost. Since you're looking at specific employer-sponsored supplemental plans with non-standardized benefits, you should probably check with the benefits people at both places, and/or enlist the help of an insurance agent who works with Medicare supplements.

Good luck !! I was looking at these choices for months before making a decision.

Posted by
2879 posts

JD, I'm not sure if this can help you... but... why don't you simply hire a medical insurance in Spain instead of having your US company adding an overpriced supplement -we all know US health insurers are by far the most expensive around!

In case you're interested, some major European insurers (ie. Sanitas) have specific policies for foreigners -including non-EU citizens- residing in another country. This is just one example for foreigners residing in Spain

Posted by
7727 posts

my medigap policy also has a 60 day time limit for coverage. Since we have occasionally traveled for 3 mos, we have to purchase a travel policy for that time. It might be more cost effective for you to get an annual travel insurance policy; Alianz has a business traveler plan that has pretty good emergency medical and dust off coverage. It doesn't cover much in the way of travel costs but has the critical air lift coverage. They also sell a separate air evacuation policy.

If you are American passport holders you would need a visa for trips to Europe longer than 90 days and part of that is having health insurance equal to what is offered in the foreign country -- which means buying a special policy usually.

When we stayed for an extended period in Italy we were able to buy into their national health plan for not much money, but when we looked into French requirements, it entailed getting a policy for ex pats which is very pricey, especially since you have to continue paying medicare coverage at home if you don't want to have those costs escalate.