Original Medicare (Parts A & B) may cover medically necessary health care services on a cruise ship, if the ship you’re on when you receive the care is in a U.S. port or no more than 6 hours away from one when you get the services. That means the ship can be in the water, but must be within six hours of a U.S. port. Also, the doctor must be legally allowed to provide medical services on a cruise ship.
Original Medicare will not cover any care you get on a ship that’s more than six hours from a U.S. port, even if it’s an emergency.
How to get Medicare coverage for an international cruise
Some Medicare Advantage plans (Part C) may offer coverage for foreign travel, along with other benefits not provided by Original Medicare. Talk to your plan provider to see if you would be covered while cruising in international or foreign territorial waters and what your costs might be.
Certain Medicare supplement insurance plans cover foreign travel emergency care, including care on a cruise ship. Check the details with your plan provider to understand what is and isn’t covered as well as how much it may cost.
Travel insurance coverage for international medical care
You may also investigate buying travel insurance specifically for your trip. In addition to providing protection against trip cancellation, theft or other mishaps, some plans will cover you if you need medical or hospital care while you’re outside the U.S. Plans vary, so talk with your insurance agent/producer, travel agent or insurance provider to learn about your options. Travel insurance is separate and distinct from any Medicare or Medigap plan.
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