How to Manage the Highest Spending Category in Retirement – Be Creative!

Its not unusual to read in the news about studies which predict the next financial disaster ready to hit retirees and seniors.

Recently I read an article about retirement, and how the figures show that spending for seniors decline the most after the age of 65. The interesting (and most useful) piece of information from this graph, is that the amount of money put out for housing stays about the same from when we are age 45 to the end of our days.

What happens if your pension fund goes under, or severely cuts their payouts to you? Or, what if some other torpedo expense hits your savings?

One of the things you can do to take charge is to monitor – and be willing to change – your conventional housing choice.

Paring down to a smaller home, moving to a state that is tax-friendly, moving overseas where cost of living is more manageable, renting out a room, a section of your home or a casita can bring in extra cash should you find yourself needing to supplement a pension that has gone sour.

Considering a roommate, or perhaps joining financial forces with your children to have an “in-law’s unit” built as part of their home so you have a place to live that is close to your family are also alternatives.

Living on a boat, utilizing an RV as your domicile, or choosing your Active Adult Community manufactured home as your chief domicile are also more affordable options than a 4-bedroom, brick-and-mortar home with the maintenance costs, insurance and high property taxes.

There are so many more attractive choices today for housing than ever before.

The most important thing is to have your plan B – and to start thinking about that NOW, instead of waiting for a financial disaster to come and blow you out of the water.

 

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“Change Is Hard,” She Said

It was cool sitting on the shaded veranda.

We were surrounded by a lush garden, and my best friend and I were staring at the Bradshaw mountains of Arizona in the background.

Change is hard,” she said to me.

How many times have I heard this? But I took a few moments to mull it over again.

“I’m not so sure it needs to be…” I gently offered back to her.

I felt that emotional resistance of someone who absolutely holds this belief to be true.

On her face I could see the “Oh, here she goes again” expression that I sometimes get.

To this, I responded, “Look. I know ‘everyone’ believes that. ‘Everyone’ thinks change is hard because they’ve been told it’s hard. They’ve been taught that it’s hard…

“Unbearable, even.”

The wrinkle in her brow told me she wasn’t yet convinced. Over and over, life experience has shown her how hellish it has been to make changes. She has always said that she didn’t “do” change very well.

I leaned in a little closer to her and pointed to her garden.

“Do you see those plants?

“The butterfly bushes, the trees, the roses… the vegetables you have in your raised beds?”

I could hear her say mentally to herself “So?”

“They are changing.

“Every. Moment.

“Every second.

“They are growing, thriving, … just BURSTING with life.”

I paused for dramatic effect.

With an open hand I gestured to her manicured paradise and then asked “Does this look like a hell-hole to you? Do you hear screaming, cursing, and gnashing of teeth because these plants hate change?”

Bird feeders hung from the rose trellis, and together we watched a few wild rabbits munching on the seed that had fallen. Humming birds zipped through this idyllic scene and the silent butterflies landed on her specialized plants to attract them.

“I think Life is Movement,” I almost whispered.

Warming to my topic, I went on.

“Some people call it ‘Change’ and can barely spit out the word because it takes them away from a comfortable routine and they are afraid of what might come next. But actually…

“LIFE MOVES.

“Try not moving for a day or two. Don’t drink water, pass your bowels, blink or even leave your bed.

“I think THAT would be hard…

A few more moments passed.

“This garden that you enjoy every day is the perfect example that movement and change are good. It’s easy, natural, and necessary. Otherwise we’d be dead!

“I think that we have been taught that change is hard. We’ve been taught to hate it. Why not call it movement instead and just go with it?

My dear friend just sort of blinked, staring out into her amazingly full… abundant… back yard.

“Yeah, sometimes I just beg for these plants to grow. I want to see what they’ll look like when they’re a little taller or when they bloom.”

“I bet!” I agreed.

“And do you ever hear them cussing you out?”

She gave me a crooked smile.

“They’re just doing what nature does – grow, expand, bloom… drop a dead leaf…  – Every. Single. Moment.

“I think that’s what Life is supposed to be like for us,” I sighed.

We soaked in the bliss of the warm breeze rustling through the leaves. The fountain bubbled water, and we watched cloud art float by.

Sipping on her iced tea, my dearest companion said “ ‘Life is Movement.’

The feeling is different when I look at it that way.

“I just hope I remember.”

Smiling softly and crunching on an ice cube I suggested (to the both of us), “We’ll have your garden here to remind us just in case.”

At that moment, the back door flew open.

Wanna play cards?” her husband asked enthusiastically. Meanwhile, Noodles, her 8-pound rescue pup jumped up on her lap and started licking her face.

My girlfriend and I looked at each other knowingly.

“Life is movement,” she said confidently.

“Yup, it shure is,” I said as I grabbed Noodles and nuzzled into her soft fur.

 

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Dumb Things Financial Experts Say, Part I

Do you ever cringe when you read some of what financial advisers say in interviews or online?

Here’s a quote that we can dispute. It’s from Michael Kresh, president of MD Kresh Financial Services and author of You Can Afford to Retire.

Kresh said the average person cannot afford to retire before his/her forties.

“The only people who can retire that young are the people who have hit it big really young,” Kresh said. “You’re looking at somebody who’s effectively hit the business jackpot or lottery.”

It’s also difficult to retire young if you have children. Kresh argues that children can set your retirement savings plan back as much as 10 years, partly because of the increase in higher education costs.

I would have to hand it to Kresh that retirement before 40 can present challenges in ways some have not thought about. Questions like “Now that I’ve quit the job I hate, what do I do? I didn’t expect to land HERE…” or “I didn’t think about all those job perks I got (traveling first class, health care included in my salary, my title and status, co-worker events that filled my social life…)” Some have even mentioned to us that since they have left their jobs, they have gotten depressed! Too much time on their hands!

Yikes.

But we dispute that one has to hit the business jackpot or that it’s SO. MUCH. MORE. DIFFICULT. to retire if you have children.

Our own story proves that being focused, not being big consumers, tracking spending and cutting down on personal infrastructure can be a highway to FIRE.

We’d also recommend that you take a look at our interview with Jillian Johnsrud. She and her husband retired early and are raising 5 children.

So don’t let those financial “experts” define your life for you. Choose your own future.

For more interviews of Captivating Characters and other Early Retirees, click here

 

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Are We Being Misleading about FIRE?

Q&A with a Reader

Hello,

Saw the article on MSN about both of you– Congrats on your success. ….. I am sure you are getting tons of emails….

What the article doesn’t mention is how much money you started off with?  I have seen some articles that say $500,000………We are obviously not all stock brokers and successful restaurant owners….

I think it is a bit misleading excluding that information.

My guess is you had well into 6 figures, if not more, to take off and do this…..I am not trying to be confrontational and I know that info is private, but people need the “whole story” or else its of little value….. at least to me….

I think it would take over a million in today’s dollars to do what you are doing…. Not a reality for the majority of the population….

Thanks for any feedback….

Scott

Hi Scott,

Thanks for taking the time to write. We appreciate it.

Catey Hill from MarketWatch didn’t ask us what amount of money we had when we retired in 1991 – but there are other stories that state we had $500k.  Yes, in today’s dollars that would probably be a million or so.

That being said, the FIRE lifestyle or the FIRE choice isn’t for the majority of the population.

It would probably be safe to say that most people would rather live a conventional life, fitting in with their peers, have a job, a pension, own a home, have a pet, maybe have kids, live in the same neighborhood for a decade or more…

But that doesn’t mean Early Retirement can’t be done on less, or with an income less than $100k a year to save up for Financial Independence.

The internet is full of FIRE-ees who have done this (Jillian Johnsrud with her family of 5 kids, Mr. Money Mustache, and countless others). Take a look online for personal financial bloggers or on Twitter for the same. I think you would be surprised.

Everyone is different. We all make choices and have different priorities. Life has never been a one-size-fits-all.

You might be interested in our article How to Create a Pension for the Average Joe. And take a look at our Retirement Issues Page for more articles on this topic.

And just to mention, in our world travels, we have met many people living on their Social Security income. Countries such as Mexico, Guatemala, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Ecuador, and Panama offer a good quality of life for less money.

It just depends on what you might want to do.

The hardest thing isn’t living the FIRE lifestyle, I think it’s the decision to live the FIRE lifestyle. It will definitely separate you from your peers, and some people don’t like that.

Everything in life has a trade-off. You just have to ask yourself if you want to make that negotiation with yourself. Then commit to it.

Wishing you the best.

Feel free to write any time.

Akaisha and Billy

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Keep Your Mind Sharp Even When You’re Retired

Lora Young

Congratulations, you’ve finally retired from the daily grind, the seemingly endless struggle of your profession. You’ve worked hard and now it’s time to let things simmer down a bit. You’ve earned it.

But, even as it may sound like it’s going to be a great time for the rest of your life, you might suddenly find yourself bereft of stimulation. It’s not uncommon for retirees to lapse into a state where their minds may not be as sharp as they once were while they were in their respective professions.

The Theory of Use and Disuse

It is not war that breaks men, but rather it is stagnation. The sword is useful in war, but it is dulled in peace.

The same principle applies to our bodies. When an athlete stops training long enough, his muscles atrophy. When you stop using your cognitive skills, they, too, waste away.

You might even put it (bluntly) that as far as the body is concerned, either you use it or you lose it.

Without a career, retirees often find themselves wasting away because there is no longer a challenge to keep them on their toes. Skills deteriorate, and later on, so might reasoning. So, how do you keep your mind sharp when you retire?

You Use It

It’s a simple statement but there isn’t a more specific way to put it. In the same way that muscle fibers can waste away if left unused for a long time, so too can a brain path deteriorate. So, the simple solution would be to seek out opportunities to create new brain paths. Anything that requires any form of problem solving and skill will contribute greatly to this objective. Even the simple act of reading is bound to help keep your mind sharp. This is especially true when you read books that delve into deeper topics. A few good examples of these types of books are the works of Saint Augustine or even Sun Tzu’s Art of War.

You can even take on new hobbies, like gardening, farming, or carpentry. What’s important here is that you replace the skills that waste away if you’re unable to put them to use. This way, as you continue to learn new things, you also build new brain paths. With each problem that you’re able to solve, you also train your brain to retain or even enhance the way it functions. This is also why chess is especially popular with the elderly. It provides them with an avenue to test their reasoning and planning.

One of the saddest things to happen to any individual is to have that person slowly fall into a vegetative state. From a position where that person was once full of life and light, to where a light fades like a candle’s dying flame.

As I’ve said time and again in this article, either you use it or lose it. You should never allow yourself to waste away. When your mind runs idle, that’s when you begin to deteriorate. Don’t stop moving, never stop learning. Live a happy, fruitful life. There’s more to life than just work.

 

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Things You Should Know Before You Go to Maui

Veselina Dzhingarova

Maui is one of the most popular travel destinations from around the world. It is really easy to understand why since there are literally countless available options for tourists of all different desires and wishes. There are numerous luxury beach front rentals in Maui and attractions that you can choose but there are also many things that should be known before you travel there.

In the event that you are planning your Maui vacation now, here are some reminders that will help you make the most out of the experience. These tips might very well make your vacation better.

You Will Need to Rent A Car

Most tourists do not realize the fact that Maui is a really big island. It is so big that you do need a car in order to be able to experience all that you can. Be sure that you accordingly plan. If you decide to rent a car at the very last moment, there is a pretty good possibility you will end up overpaying.

Whenever possible, rent your car from the locally-owned firms. Try to avoid the international chains since they are going to be more expensive. The local options are those that offer the very best possible customer service.

If you rent a car, be sure that you read the contract so you understand if there are some restrictions that apply. In the event you need a ride really fast, you can always go for taxis or Uber but this can easily get really expensive.

You Need Sunscreen

There is simply no way around this. If you decide to visit any part of Hawaii, you do need quality sunscreen or you will have problems.

The best option available for you in Maui is reef safe sunscreen. This practically means that the active ingredients are either non-nano titanium dioxide or non-nano zinc oxide. In the event that sunscreen contains ingredients like homosalate, octisalate, oxybenzone or octinoxate, among others, it is not actually reef safe.

Chemical sunscreens are actually banned in Hawaii so you might have problems if you use them. The problem is that this is only the case starting in 2021. Until then, you have to read labels.

To put things as simple as possible, you should never use sunscreen that is not safe for the reef as this would damage nature, which is definitely not what you want to do. Many brands just use false advertising to sell products. Do not buy anything that you find.

Don’t Focus Just on Maui’s Beaches

There are obviously people that travel to Maui just to escape the cold weather at home and relax in the sun. Nobody can say that there is something wrong with that. Relaxing on a beautiful Maui beach while drinking a Mai Tai is wonderful but why not enjoy more of the island?

You can do so many incredible things in Maui. If you just stay on the beach and in your resort, you miss out on so many activities you are going to join.

Just as a simple example, Maui includes 10 climate zones, which is huge given the fact that the entire world has 14. This is important as it means you can find tropical rainforests, deserts and more in just one island. If you are an adventurer, this is a dream vacation spot for you.

Make sure that you consider the Haleakala Crater and if you have time, go on a scenic drive on the stunning road to Hana. If you are not afraid of heights, you can even go on a sightseeing helicopter ride.

Learn as much as you can about the travel activities in Maui and choose as many that you will like as possible, based on budget and how much you can afford.

Maui Can Be Much Cheaper Than Initially Imagined

Most tourists believe that Hawaii is very expensive and they will need to spend a lot on the trip but the truth is that there are many ways in which you can visit the island in an affordable way. Everything boils down to your research and allowing yourself enough time to make the best possible choices.

The best thing that you can do is read articles written by locals. See how they travel, where they eat and what they do. This will offer a local experience that allows you to enjoy culture in a totally different way than with a large tour. Also, you might find really cheap deals that are not advertised online.

Simply put, the more you learn about what is available in Maui, the easier it is to save money. Also, the longer you plan, the easier it is to come up with a travel itinerary that will be very affordable. Saving money in Maui is possible in various ways. You just need to find what is great for you.

Enjoy Aloha

“Aloha” is a word that can mean so many different things. So much of the local language is just like that. This is a word that is normally used to say goodbye or hello but it can also express love. The point is that if you visit Maui, it is a really good idea to learn all that you can about the local culture so that you can understand exactly what Aloha means.

Aloha is about interacting with nature and teaching children to love the world. It is a huge part of almost everything that is done in Hawaii so learn all that you can about it. This might change your way of seeing life as a whole.

 

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How to Enjoy Yourself to the Fullest when in San Tiago, Chile

Danish Wadhwa

Chile is a fantastic South American nation that has plenty of beautiful places to visit. This country is the top-notch place for adventure tourism in the world. The report revealed that Chile received over 6.4 million tourists in 2017 and it is expected to increase each year. Below is the figure that shows the flow of tourists in Chile.

Image Source: Trading Economics

 

If you are traveling to Chile, it is almost sure that you will put your foot in Santiago, which is the capital and also the largest city in the country. There are plenty of things that you can do in Chile, but some of those are the ones that you cannot afford to miss.

It is evident that you will not be knowing much about the country when you visit the nation for the first time, which is the reason why I have written this article to make your tour as enjoyable as possible. You can quickly get American Airlines tickets to San Tiago, Chile so that traveling won’t be much of a problem. Consider booking your next flight from Faremart.com, a robust travel booking platform providing satisfactory services to all its clients and users, making their journey a memorable one.

Missing out on these seven things will make you regret later

It is not possible to do all items when you visit a specific city in a country, especially when you are in short of time and you want to complete as many items as possible in a limited time. I could have mentioned more than seven items on this list, but I decided to put seven coolest things to do, keeping many things in mind.

Here are seven things that you must do in San Tiago when you give it a visit:

Walk or take a bike to roam around the city

I know that you would want to visit around a few areas of Santiago after getting a good rest at the hotel after you reach the town. There are plenty of places that you can visit as there are apps that can guide you on where to go. You can check out Central Barrios by walking around the site and enjoying the surroundings around the place.

Explore and take some photos at Foto-Ruta and hop onto Turistik as well on a bus. If you want to roam around on a bike, it is a great choice as well. You can rent a bike for a day and wander around places starting from Viticura, where you will get a bike sharing service.

Image Source: Wiz Tours

Outdoor adventure if you are looking for some exciting activities

Cerro San Cristobal has something for both who loves challenges or who only want a quiet walk. There is a hiking trail for people who want a road path for exploring the area. You can observe spectacular views of the city when you hike up Cerro San Cristobal, Recoleta.

Besides Cerro San Cristobal, you also have options to go out for hiking in areas like Parque Natural Aguas de Ramon and Glaciar del Morado. Keep in mind that you are not only limited to hiking here. At Parque de Montana Farellones also features trampolines, rock climbing, rope courses, and so on. If you opt for going to a beach, do more challenging stuff like a kayak, scuba dive, and more.

Sanhattan/El Golf

Get to Tobalaba/El Golf and check out Santiago’s modern financial center. You will be amazed by the structure after checking out its impressive sculptures. There is a sequence of painted horses along with painted benches to rest and enjoy the view.

Check out the Costanera Center mall along the way and observe the Costanera Torre, which is the tallest building in South America for now. After roaming around and doing some observation, you can head to restaurants and enjoy a delicious meal. You can find a lot of restaurants in this area.

Image Source: Santiago Tourist

Cementerio General de Santiago

It might seem strange for you to see this one on the list as the cemetery is a place that you often want to avoid. However, this cemetery in Santiago is worth the visit, and you will regret your decision later if you ignore it.

Cementerio General de Santiago is a burial place of two historical figures of Chile, and they are Dictator Augusto Pinochet and Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins. The president’s tomb is in the height range of 2-3 stories, which is pretty unique.

You will fall in love with this place if you have any interest in Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires.

Image Source: Wikimedia

Barrio Lastarria

Lastarria, a tiny oasis in Santiago Centro, is a fantastic place to hang out at night or to check out on a variety of restaurants. Bocanariz is a place to visit if you want to taste some great local wines of the city. You will love the range of wine choices that the restaurant will offer when you visit it.

There is also a place for coffee lovers at Colmado Coffee and Bakery. In weekend time, you will find street vendors demonstrating their arts. In case you are craving for a museum, you can visit the MAVI Museo de Artes Visuales, which is a museum for enjoying visual arts. You will have a wonderful time visiting this place by eating delicious foods, drinks, and beautiful crafts.

Try Helado, seafood, and other local foods

Finally, it is time for some tasty meals. At first, you can start with something light like Helado, which is delicious ice cream. While looking for ice cream, you should check out for Helados Artesanales, which is a best quality ice cream around.

You will see many locals enjoying ice creams of various flavors. There is also an option of Helados de Fruta, and it is for those who want low calories ice cream. Emporio  La Rosa is one of the best ice creams that you will ever taste, and it is the most prefered ice cream in the town.

When you are in Santiago, you also cannot miss out on trying classic Chilean seafood. You can try out tasty ceviche/cebiche. Also, check out Chilleian sushi, and you will often get cream cheese with it.

Palacio de La Moneda

It is a presidential palace, and its location is in Santiago Centro. Its original purpose was to build it as Chilean mint. To visit this palace, you need to schedule your visit in advance.

Finally, try enjoying foods like local. Try classic cuisine like pastel de choclo, which is like shepherd’s pie, meat with a mix of vegetables and cornmeal topping. There is grilled beef, a classic Chilean drink, and more.

Image Source: Pixabay

Chilean artists have designed their sculptures, and it is superb. There is a guard ceremony at, and you can observe it.

If you want to check out arts and know about the culture, you can head to the Centro Cultural Palacio de La Moneda.

The Takeaway

Only traveling to a new place will not be much of memory if you do not do activities that are popular in the town. Instead of fun, you may regret it later because it may not be possible to visit that same nation next time.

Now that you have read this article, you will be able to enjoy your trip to the fullest. Surely, you will miss out some things here and there, but I’ve covered all the significant things that one should do in San Tiago. If there are more things that you want to add, do let us know!

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How to choose the best female and male digital watch

Anna Jonson

Not only luxury classic watches like Panerai Submersible or Rolex Daytona, personality and style should be considered in choosing the best digital watch, be it female or male. Although the basic function of every digital watch is to display the hours, today the item is much more than that. After all, from solar clocks to wall clocks and wrist watches, the evolution of models has accompanied the style and changes in consumer behavior, offering models that match their needs and occasions. And so do digital clocks. With several other functions such as a stopwatch and GPS, they can also become true accessories that make a difference in production.

Depending on the style of each, digital watches can also be used as jewelry, complementing the look. Already the luxury brand models also give a touch of social status and elegance. And with opposing interests in various subjects, when it comes to style, it could not be different: the requirements for choosing the best digital watch are different when it comes to men and women.

While women take into account the occasions on which they will wear the digital watch, according to their features – after all, a meeting and a run ask for different accessories – women usually focus more on the style and details of the piece, such as jewels, or as a bracelet.

How to choose the best digital watch for women

In addition to acting as an attractive piece, female digital watches are also very functional. The accessories help make a good impression both in the corporate environment or on special occasions. Some recommendations can help in the task of choosing the best digital watch for women:

  1. Focus on your own style.

It’s easy to get carried away by attention-grabbing accessories. But it is important that your personality is considered, otherwise the chances of getting distracted fast from the digital watch and not using it more increase considerably. Depending on your mood at the moment, several styles may emerge. The important thing is that the digital watch you choose communicates who you are.

  1. Choose a digital watch that matches your looks – and your physical type.

Before, watches were seen as just a way to monitor time. Today they are true accessories that enhance your productivity. Therefore, it is important that women’s digital watches are combined with the color of clothes that the woman usually uses, with the same concern used for bags and shoes, for example. To balance the look, bet on tones similar to other accessories. If your favorite earrings, bracelets and rings are gold, for example, opt for a digital watch of the same hue. The same goes for the physical characteristics: very thin women can be disproportionate with very large watch models. Therefore, the size of the watch’s display and the width of the bracelet should take into account the woman’s bio-type. Comfort and well-being are essential when choosing the best digital watch.

  1. Choose your female digital watch according to the occasions on which you will use it.

If the idea is a digital clock for moments of leisure and relaxation, the options are limitless: there are rubber wristbands and waterproof. After all, every moment asks for a different material so that the watch fits perfectly with the occasion.

For day-to-day, invest in digital watches with less sophisticated models, made with leather, metal or fabric straps – so the accessory becomes sturdier for frequent use. Hopefully the information above can help you to find a watch that is able to meet your expectations.

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What if all US health care costs were transparent?

Jeanne Pinder

This is a woman after my own heart.

I wrote a post a while back asking how your life would change if you utilized the words “What If…?” In a positive manner?

The answers to our conundrums are often in the questions we ask, so Jeanne Pinder asked “What if all US Health Care Costs were transparent?

At first, doctors, billing offices and insurance companies balked at their audacity to ask such questions, and Jeanne mentions how she felt like she was breaking the law with wanting to know the prices of procedures and medicines. Some people hung up on her, others told her that their lawyers wouldn’t let them reveal their true pricing.

But Pinder’s company persevered. And the experience became liberating.

She found answers and data.

WOW!

This is where she went with her answer. It’s a must-see video. Click on the photo to watch.

 

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Will Medicare Cover Me Outside the USA?

Danielle Kunkle

Retirement brings a lot of exciting, new changes. One thing many people look forward to in retirement is being able to travel when they want, where they want. Whether you’re taking a quick trip, going for an extended stay, or even relocating for a little while, it’s important to know how—and if—Medicare will cover you.

Medicare coverage outside of the 50 states (plus American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) depend on things like the type of coverage, how long you’ve been outside of the country, and whether it’s an emergency or not.

This article explains when and how Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage, and Medigap covers you while traveling outside the USA.

Original Medicare Travel Coverage

Generally, Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) only covers emergency situations out of the country. Also, Original Medicare only offers emergency coverage in certain situations. For instance, if you are vacationing in Europe and an emergency occurs, Original Medicare will not cover it.

Situations where Original Medicare will cover your emergency medical expenses include:

  1. If a medical emergency occurs while you’re in the United States, and a foreign hospital that can properly treat you is closer than a U.S. one, Original Medicare will cover you.
  2. If you are traveling to/from Alaska from/to another state directly through Canada and an emergency occurs, Original Medicare will cover your medical expenses at a Canadian hospital if it’s closer than a U.S. one.
  3. If you live in the United States and a foreign hospital is closer than any U.S. hospital. Your medical expenses will be covered by Original Medicare even if it’s not an emergency.

Covered Services Outside the USA

If one of the above situations occurs, Original Medicare pays the same as it would inside the United States. However, not all services are covered outside the country.

For example, Medicare Part B will only cover doctor services you receive outside the hospital after you’ve been released if Medicare covers your inpatient hospital stay. If Medicare doesn’t cover your hospital stay, then your doctor services won’t be covered either.

Medicare Part B may also cover any non-emergency medical services that you receive before and while you’re admitted to the foreign hospital. However, these services are only covered if Medicare covers your inpatient hospital stay.

Note that foreign hospitals are not required to submit claims to Medicare. Therefore, you may end up having to pay for your services yourself at the time you receive them. Once you return to the U.S., you can submit your claim to Medicare and file for reimbursement.

Traveling with a Medicare Plan

There are two types of Medicare plans that you can have in addition to or instead of Original Medicare: Medicare Supplement Plans (Medigap) and Medicare Advantage.

Medicare Advantage, also known as Medicare Part C, has thousands of plan options. These are private plans approved by Medicare; each plan is designed by the carrier and may have different benefits than others. However, most Medicare Advantage plans include emergency travel coverage.

Medicare Advantage plans must offer the same benefits as Original Medicare—you don’t lose any coverage—but many offer additional benefits for their members. To see how a Medicare Advantage plan covers health care outside of the U.S., review its Summary of Benefits.

Medigap Travel Coverage

A great thing about Medigap plans is that they cover you anywhere within the U.S. as long as you see a doctor who accepts Medicare. However, they work a bit differently outside the country.

If you have one of the Medigap plans that offer foreign travel emergency coverage such as Plan F or Plan G, then your Medigap plan will cover up to 80% of your emergency medical expenses. Medigap plans with this coverage have a $50,000-lifetime benefit limit as well as an annual $250 deductible.

Another restriction on this benefit is that it only is in effect during your first two months outside of the country. So, if you’re traveling for longer than two months, you will want to look into purchasing travel insurance in addition to your Medigap plan.

Short-term travel insurance is a great alternative to Medicare’s travel coverage. If you’re worried about health coverage overseas with Original Medicare, you may want to purchase a travel insurance plan to cover you on your trip.

 

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