When it is summer time, many of us plan to leave the desert for a while. Whether you are heading out of state or out of the country, one thing you need to pack along with you is your health insurance.
Traveling within the USA:
If you are enrolled in traditional Medicare and a Medicare supplement, your coverage is good anywhere in the country, any provider that accepts Medicare will also accept your Medicare supplement.
If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan however, your coverage is regional. Your network of providers, usually an HMO, is tied to the home area where you enrolled. Your plan does provide emergency benefits, but that is the bare minimum. Be aware that in the case of an emergency, you are required to notify your insurer as soon as possible.
For people enrolled in Group Health plans, usually through an employer, you should check with the benefits administrator for your plan, or call the number on your card and ask what is covered outside your home coverage area.
And for those enrolled in an individual plan, either HMO or PPO, your coverage is also tied to the region where you enrolled, and may have restrictions as to what healthcare services are covered beyond your home area.
Traveling outside the USA:
Most plans have very little coverage outside the USA. Benefits are usually limited to the minimum required to stabilize you in an emergency situation. We highly advise anyone traveling beyond our borders purchase travel health insurance. This type of coverage is different than the trip cancellation insurance offered by travel agencies and online travel booking agencies. Travel health insurance covers you the same way your health insurance at home does. Rates are quoted per day for your journey and are age-rated. Some things to look for are repatriation of remains, medical evacuation and political evacuation. These benefits will get you or your remains home as hassle free as possible in the case of serious injury, illness or worse. Also, ask if there an existing network of contracted providers that will be paid by the plan or must you pay up front and submit a claim.
Plan for peace of mind with full travel health insurance and have a great summer.
Randy Alan Foulds is an independent health insurance agent, with Foulds & Feldmann Insurance Agency in la Quinta, and can be reached at 760-346-6565.