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Does Medicare Cover Me When I’m on a Cruise Ship? – Frequently Asked Questions

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If you have an urge to travel, you might be interested in checking out a cruise ship that takes you to Alaska, Florida, Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, Europe, or Australia. As you pack your suitcase and ready your passport, be aware that Medicare may not cover you for all cruise ship destinations.

Where does Medicare cover me? 

Medicare will cover you in the U.S. and U.S. territories including:

  • The 48 continental states
  • Alaska and Hawaii
  • The district of Columbia
  • Puerto Rico
  • The U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Guam
  • American Samoa
  • The Northern Mariana Islands

Medicare may also cover you in Canada if you’re traveling between Alaska and another state when you have a medical emergency and the Canadian hospital is closer than the nearest U.S. hospital that can treat you.

Does Medicare cover me on a cruise ship outside the U.S.?

Medicare will generally cover you on a cruise ship under the following conditions:

  • The doctor treating you is allowed to provide medical services on a cruise ship
  • The cruise ship is in a U.S. port OR
  • The cruise ship is no more than six hours away from a U.S. port when you receive the medical services, even if they are emergency services

If you receive medical services more than six hours away from a U.S. port Medicare will generally not cover you.

How can I get medical coverage on a cruise ship?

If you have Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) you can enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan to help you pay your Medicare out-of-pocket expenses. Medicare Supplement plans C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, M and N generally cover foreign travel emergency care during the first 60 days of your trip. Once you meet a $250 deductible for the year, the Medicare Supplement plan may pay up to 80% of the charges for medically necessary emergency care outside of the U.S, including care on a cruise ship.

You cannot use a Medicare Supplement plan together with a Medicare Advantage plan.

Do you have more questions about Medicare coverage when you travel?

Let me know if you’d like help exploring your options.

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