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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

Stop, Look & Listen: Railroad Retirement Benefits Q&A

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Medicare Benefits Outside the United States

(Posted April 22, 2005)

Question 542: Does Medicare pay for medical costs incurred overseas?

Answer: Medicare normally does not cover medical expenses incurred outside the United States with two exception. Both of the exceptions involve Canada.

The first exception applies to all Medicare beneficiaries; it involves either travel through Canada between the "lower 48" states or Alaska, or where the Canadian facility is more accesable than the closest US facility.

The second exception is only for Railroad Retirement beneficiaries. The Railroad Retirement Act provides Part A (Hospital) benefits thoughout Canada. The benefits are reduced by any Provincial health insurance paid. Those benefits are paid from the Railroad Retirement Trust Funds and are financed by a special Medicare level payroll tax paid by Canadian rail workers who are employed by a US owned railroad.

Important notice:

Answers are provided as general guidance on the subjects covered in the question and are not provided as legal advice to the questioner or to readers. Any legal issues should be reviewed by your legal counsel to apply the law to the particular facts of this and similar situations.

The law in this area changes frequently. Answers are believed to be correct as of the posting dates shown. The completeness or accuracy of a particular answer may be affected by changes in the law (statutes, regulations, rulings, court decisions, etc.) that occur after the date on which a particular Q&A is posted.

Copyright 1997-2017 Robert S. Kaufman
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