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International Living Article re Healthcare Insurance (Medicare) While Living Abroad

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Moderator comment: the bolding and highlighting of text in the below email are of my doing, not part of the original message.

From: International Living <webeditor@internationalliving.com>
Date: September 9, 2017 at 12:12:07 PM EST
Subject: Medicare Abroad: What You Need to Know
International Living Postcards

International Living Postcards—your daily escape
Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017

Dear International Living Reader,

With 57.7 million U.S. citizens covered by Medicare, it's one of the most important programs for retirees there is—right up there with Social Security.

So if you're planning to retire overseas, what effect will that have on your Medicare coverage and your healthcare in general?

IL Editor Suzan Haskins has the details.

Read on...


Declan Aylward
Managing Editor, IL Postcards

P.S. Today is your last chance to take advantage of the ultimate "retirement fix." It's the quick, easy, and fun way to embrace a richer retirement, with the guidance of our most trusted editors Dan Prescher and Suzan Haskins. Find out more here.

* * *

Medicare Abroad: What You Need to Know
By Suzan Haskins

No matter what (or if) politicians decide about healthcare, one thing is for sure: your Medicare coverage won't go with you if you decide to retire overseas.

Luckily, though, there are many countries where, as a legal resident, you can qualify for a local healthcare plan that's often more comprehensive and less costly than Medicare.

Here's what you need to know: Medicare doesn't normally cover healthcare costs outside the U.S. (The official definition of the U.S. includes the 50 states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands—you can use your Medicare benefits in these countries.)

There are some small exceptions that allow you to use your Medicare benefits internationally. If you are traveling in the U.S. and have a medical emergency, but the nearest hospital is in Canada or Mexico, you can qualify for Medicare coverage at that nearby hospital. Similarly, you can use your benefits if you are traveling to or from Alaska via Canada and the nearest hospital is in Canada. Or if you become ill or have an emergency while on a cruise, and you seek assistance from the doctor onboard, if the ship is no more than six hours from a U.S. port, you will be covered by Medicare.

How to be prepared: If you often travel internationally, consider one of the Medicare C through J supplement (Medigap) plans sold by private companies that provide foreign coverage. And especially if you relocate overseas, consider an evacuation plan (many are available) that will cover the cost of your transportation back to the U.S. for treatment.

But here's the good news: Even though you may want to maintain your Medicare coverage as a fallback if you retire overseas, you'll find many countries offer residents a government-sponsored health coverage plan. In some cases, you'll pay a percentage of your income...often $100 to $200 a month for a couple, depending on your age, for a full government healthcare plan that covers office visits, hospitalization, prescriptions, and more.

In some cases, you can qualify despite your age or pre-existing conditions. And some healthcare plans are even free to those of retirement age.

Almost every country on the IL beat offers a three-tiered healthcare system...free public healthcare, subsidized government healthcare of some kind, and a private system.

Private hospitals are typically the best equipped, with state-of-the art technology and doctors that have studied in the world's best medical universities—many of them speak English and are well acquainted with the newest diagnostic and treatment procedures...some of which may not yet be available in the U.S., for example.

And if you have a resident visa and you qualify, you can buy a private health insurance plan for far less than it would likely cost in the U.S.—often for one-fifth the cost.

Healthcare—especially when you are of retirement age—should be one of the most important considerations in your decision to move overseas. Fortunately, you have many great, affordable options.

Editor's note: Medicare and health coverage is one of the most important things to consider in retirement. Suzan and her husband Dan know all the secrets of the proven "retirement fix" to hand you a dream lifestyle in your golden years. They'll walk you through every aspect you need to consider and give you the tools you need to build the best retirement possible. But you have to tell us you want to know before midnight tonight. All the details are here.

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