You have to be a U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident to qualify for Medicare, but you don't have to live here.

Do You Lose Medicare If You Move Out Of The Country: Most individuals are aware that when they go on vacation in a foreign nation, Medicare normally does not follow them. Only if you have a Medigap plan that covers a portion of medically necessary emergency care outside of the United States are there any exceptions. But, if you move out of the country totally, do you lose your Medicare coverage? The short answer is no, when you relocate to another country, you do not lose your Medicare coverage.

Do I Have to Live in the U.S. to Get Medicare?

Do You Lose Medicare If You Move Out Of The Country

To access Medicare Parts A and B, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident, but you do not have to live in the United States.

However, the rules for Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) and Medicare Part D are different (prescription drug coverage). Private insurers provide these plans, and most of them require subscribers to live within the plan’s service area for at least 6 months of the year. Guidelines can be found in the details of any plan.

Medigap plans, often known as Medicare Supplement Insurance, simply require that you be a U.S. resident at the time of enrollment. You can keep your Medigap plan even if you move to another nation as long as you pay your premiums. Of course, you won’t be able to use it, but if you decide to return to the United States, you’ll have it.

What Happens to Your Medicare Coverage if You Move to Another Country?

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You won’t be disenrolled from Medicare if you move to another nation unless you request it or renounce your American citizenship. (Keep in mind that you must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent legal resident to be eligible for Medicare.) However, even if you pay monthly payments, you won’t be able to use Medicare Part A or Part B to pay for international treatment.

However, deciding whether or not to preserve your Medicare coverage is a more difficult decision. There are other factors to consider, including as if you are eligible for premium-free Part A or if you plan to travel to the United States on a regular basis. It’s crucial to keep in mind that the Medicare program undergoes annual modifications. It’s a good idea to check Medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE for answers to your specific questions.

Do You Get Premium-Free Medicare Part A?

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Nearly everyone qualifies for Medicare Part A premium-free coverage because the only requirement is that you or your spouse have paid Medicare taxes for ten years. And, because it’s free, we recommend enrolling in Medicare Part A as soon as you’re eligible. The only exception is if you want to keep contributing to a Health Savings Account (HSA) after you reach 65.

You can keep your Medicare Part A benefits even if you won’t be able to use them while residing in another nation. And you may need that coverage if you ever return to the United States, whether to live or visit. When you move, skipping Part A could result in costly coverage gaps.

If you don’t qualify for a Special Enrollment Period when you return to the United States, you’ll have to wait until the General Enrollment Period to sign up for Parts A and B. (Original Medicare). Every year, between January 1 and March 31, General Enrollment takes place, with coverage beginning on July 1.

The majority of people are required to pay the Medicare Part B premium, which varies from year to year. The regular Part B premium in 2021 is 148.50.

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Why Would You Keep Medicare if You Move to Another Country?

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If you have any intention of returning to the United States or spending a portion of the year here, you should keep your Medicare coverage. You’ll be protected from coverage gaps and potentially significant late enrollment fines as a result of this.

  • The late penalty for Medicare Part A is 10% for twice the number of years you might have received Part A but did not. As a result, for any entire 12-month period without having Part A, you must pay a 10% penalty for 24 months.

    The late enrollment penalty for Medicare Part B is 10% for each year you might have had Part B but didn’t. So, 12 months equals 10%, 24 months equals 20%, and so on.

  • The late enrollment penalty for Medicare Part D is calculated on a monthly basis. For each month you didn’t have creditable medication coverage, you’ll be charged 1% of the national base beneficiary premium, rounded up to the nearest dime. So one month equals one percent, two months equals two percent, and so on. In 2022, the base beneficiary premium will be $33.37.

Because few people pay the Medicare Part A payment, very few people owe the Part A penalty.

You are responsible for paying the late enrollment penalties for Parts B and D for the duration of your Medicare coverage.

Do You Have Medical Insurance or Other Coverage?

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If you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, you won’t have to pay the Medicare Part B late enrollment penalty (SEP). For the purposes of this article, creditable coverage is defined as having benefits and costs that are comparable to Medicare.

You have creditable coverage if you have group health insurance through an employer (yours or your spouse’s) or a national health system (which most developed countries provide). If you’re a volunteer with an organisation like the Peace Corps, your coverage is also deemed creditable. Once your current coverage expires, you should be eligible for an 8-month Special Enrollment Period in any of these scenarios.

Your SEP begins the month after your employment ends OR the month after your coverage ceases, whichever comes first (whichever comes first). You will not be charged a late enrollment penalty if you enrol in Medicare Part B during your SEP.

If you wait until you return to the United States to apply for Medicare (unless it’s inside the 8-month deadline), you’ll almost certainly be charged late penalties. You’ll also have to wait until General Enrollment, which could leave you with a huge coverage gap.

Is Your Health Insurance Creditable?

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Not all health insurance is creditable coverage, especially once you reach the age of 65. Here are several examples:

Only if you have Medicare Part B may you keep TRICARE or CHAMPVA coverage (unless you or your spouse is an active-duty service member).

Not actively working: If you have health insurance through your company but are no longer employed, your coverage is no longer creditable. The same is true if your spouse’s employer provides coverage. Coverage ceases to be creditable if the insured person is no longer actively employed.

  • COBRA: You are not deemed creditable if you have COBRA coverage since you are not actively employed. However, if your COBRA plan includes health insurance for dependents, you may want to keep it. If you wish to avoid permanent late fines, you must still sign up for Part B.

    If you had creditable coverage before enrolling in Medicare, you’ll have to prove it. Save anything you can — tax returns, medical statements, insurance company notices, pay stubs, and so on.

Did You Turn 65 While Living in Another Country?

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If you weren’t quite 65 when you relocated to another nation, things are a little different.

When you enter your Initial Enrollment Period and live in a foreign nation, SSA should send you a letter (IEP). If you were already receiving Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) or Social Security payments when you turned 65, you may be automatically enrolled.

While living in another nation, those who qualify for premium-free Part A can enrol in Medicare. A list of international offices that can help you is provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA). You may find it here on SSA.gov.

If ALL of the following apply, you will have to wait until you return to the United States to enrol in Medicare Part B:

You are a citizen of the United States of America.

You’ve reached the age of 65.

You are not entitled to Social Security benefits.

On your 65th birthday, you were living in a distant country.

Once you return to the United States, you’ll have three months to sign up for Medicare.

What Happens with Medicare Part D?

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If you were enrolled in a Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage before going abroad, contact your plan to arrange for your disenrollment.

You should be eligible for a 2-month SEP whenever you return to the United States. You won’t be charged a late enrollment penalty if you enrol in a new Part D plan during that 2-month timeframe. If you have already owed late fees, these will still apply; however, you will not incur any extra penalties.

When Should You Sign Up for Medicare?

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If you’re 65 and live in the United States, you should enrol in Medicare during the Initial Enrollment Period. This starts three months before your 65th birthday and continues for seven months. For example, if you turn 65 in April, your IEP will begin on January 1 and expire on July 31.

Even if you know you’ll have other insurance once you relocate, you should sign up for Part A (assuming it’s free). If you don’t think you’ll have enough coverage while abroad and plan to visit or relocate to the United States on a regular basis, Part B coverage is also recommended.

Those who are eligible for a Special Enrollment Period should act quickly. If you don’t, you risk incurring late penalties and coverage gaps.

Our Find a Plan feature makes comparing Medicare plan alternatives simple. To compare Part D, Medigap, and Medicare Advantage plans in your area, simply input your location and coverage start date.

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