“Kathleen, I have only one question. I will be going on Medicare at 65. Say I’m living in Mexico or Spain and have to have medical treatment at a hospital.
“How does this play out in terms of my insurance?”
–Neil T., United States
The bad news is that your Medicare will not cross the border with you. That is, you cannot use Medicare outside the United States.
The good news is that you have many other good and sometimes even more affordable options for health insurance overseas.
One strategy that can make sense would be to keep your Medicare as a kind of fallback plan. Then you could invest in local health insurance in the country where you decide to settle…or, perhaps, choose not to invest in health insurance overseas at all but, rather, to go naked, as it were, paying for health care out of pocket. As scary an idea as that might seem, it can be a reasonable approach in a country where the cost of health care is so low that paying for it out of pocket makes more sense than insuring against it.
Meantime, you’d have your Medicare and could move back to the States for care in case of a catastrophic event.
Meantime, a group we are trying to support is working hard to make Medicare portable–that is, to make it possible for your Medicare benefits to apply in destinations overseas (as they do now for U.S. congressmen, for example, among others).
We’ve written more about this here.
In addition, we have just published a new and very comprehensive “Guide To Healthcare And Health Insurance Options Overseas,” which covers the topics of health care and health insurance overseas in great detail and from all angles. More information on this new resource is here.
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