Do I have coverage from Medicare when traveling to Canada?

Paul asked...

Do I have coverage from Medicare when traveling to Canada?

Expert Answer

Medicare doesn't normally cover regular or emergency medical care in Canada, whether you're living or vacationing there. Medicare can cover medical care in Canada in a few very limited circumstances. They are: (1) If you're in the U.S. when an emergency arises but a Canadian emergency room is closer than any in the U.S., Medicare can cover your emergency treatment there; (2) If you live in the U.S. but a Canadian hospital is closer to your home than the nearest U.S. hospital, Medicare can cover your treatment there even if there's no emergency; and (3) If you're in Canada while traveling directly between Alaska and any other U.S. state, you can be covered for emergency care at a Canadian hospital.

Although Medicare doesn't generally cover medical care outside the U.S., many private Medigap  Medicare-supplement insurance policies (those under Plans C through J) cover emergency medical care while traveling abroad. These policies usually pay 80 percent of costs after you pay a $250 deductible.

If you don't have a Medigap policy that covers foreign travel, you might consider buying a short-term travel insurance policy that covers you during a specific trip. You can arrange for one of these policies through a travel agent.