Can Medicare Advantage Plans Be Used Out of State?

Understanding how being enrolled in Medicare Advantage Plans works and their potential coverage limitations when traveling is crucial.

One common question is, “Can Medicare Advantage plans be used out of state?” Knowing the answer to this could help you make informed decisions about your healthcare coverage while traveling.


Key Takeaways



  • Additional travel insurance options might be available for seniors, with varying costs and conditions that should be considered when traveling internationally.

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Medicare Advantage Plans: The Basics

Medicare Advantage Plans could act as an all-in-one alternative to Original Medicare, potentially offering health care services through private insurance companies approved by Medicare.

Some of these plans may provide more extensive coverage than Original Medicare, which might include prescription drugs.

However, unlike Original Medicare, which provides coverage for health care anywhere in the United States and its territories, some of the Medicare Advantage Plans may have limitations when it comes to out-of-state coverage.


Medicare Advantage Plans- The Basics

One of the possible factors that might affect out-of-state coverage for some Medicare Advantage Plans may be network restrictions. These potential restrictions could limit prescription drug coverage and other healthcare services when traveling out of state, which might lead to increased costs.

Moreover, certain Medicare Advantage Plans may have specific regulations, such as prior authorization, and might involve additional cost-sharing for out-of-network healthcare providers or services outside of the service area.


Possible Network Restrictions

In a Medicare Advantage Plan, utilizing healthcare providers within the plan’s network will likely be necessary for non-emergency or non-urgent care to receive full Medicare benefits.

Otherwise, you could face higher costs or even the full cost of the services. An in-network provider is a healthcare provider that has a contractual agreement with the health plan concerning the rates for services, while an out-of-network provider does not have a contract with the health insurance plan and may not be covered for out-of-state care.

Using out-of-network providers may lead to increased out-of-pocket expenses and may not be taken into account when meeting the plan’s deductible or out-of-pocket maximum.

Certain Medicare Advantage Plans may cover services provided by in-network providers, but some out-of-network care may not be covered, which could leave you accountable for the entire cost of the services.

To determine if a provider is in-network or out-of-network for your specific Medicare Advantage Plan, visit the plan’s website and search their directory, contact the plan’s Customer Service department, or check your online member portal if available.

Out-of-State Coverage with Certain Medicare Advantage Plans

Generally, Medicare Advantage Plans may have restricted out-of-state coverage. However, exceptions could be made for emergency, urgent care, and dialysis services.

Before enrolling in a Medicare Advantage Plan with out-of-state coverage, understanding the plan’s terms and conditions, especially those related to out-of-state coverage, possible network restrictions, and costs for out-of-network services, is paramount.


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While traveling, you should carry your Medicare Advantage Plan card, a list of important contact numbers, and a copy of your medical records with you.

If you travel outside your plan’s service area for more than six months, most plans may automatically disenroll you, which may grant a Special Enrollment Period to join a different Medicare Advantage Plan.

If you don’t make a different selection, you could stay enrolled in the Original Medicare plan. This may apply even if you do nothing.


Emergency and Urgent Care Coverage

When traveling out of state, some Medicare Advantage Plans may cover emergency and urgent care services, potentially providing access to necessary care.

When a medical emergency or urgent care is needed while traveling, you will likely be protected with in-network cost-sharing.

Certain Medicare Advantage Plans may also provide emergency and urgent care across the U.S. without charging extra. They also might not require additional conditions to be accepted for coverage.

Choosing a Medicare Advantage Plan for Travelers

When choosing a Medicare Advantage Plan suitable for travel, you should weigh possible factors like network size, cost, benefits, and your travel habits. You could utilize the Medicare Plan Finder or directly reach out to providers to investigate your options.

Some of the Medicare Advantage Plans may have special benefits for continuous travel within the U.S. and its territories.


Does medicare cover travel expenses


This could potentially allow members to stay in the plan for a maximum of 12 months. However, certain areas may not be included and additional costs may be incurred if care is sought from providers outside the plan’s network.

It’s important to note that not every Medicare Advantage Plan includes a travel benefit.

The Medicare Plan Finder may allow you to:

  • Compare Medicare Advantage plans available in your area


  • Get information on potential coverage and benefits, which may include coverage for out-of-network providers and services


  • Choose a plan that best suits your needs while traveling.


The network size of a Medicare Advantage Plan could impact the availability of healthcare providers outside the plan’s network. Plans with smaller networks may have limited provider options and coverage away from their service area.

Thus, consider the network size when selecting a plan to ensure access to healthcare services while traveling.


Tips for Traveling with a Medicare Advantage Plan

While traveling with a Medicare Advantage Plan, understanding your plan’s network and coverage boundaries is fundamental. You may want to consult with your specific Medicare Advantage plan regarding coverage details while traveling.


Which medicare advantage plans cover international travel



To ensure you have enough prescription medications while traveling, you might want to follow these steps:

  • Allow ample time to obtain the prescriptions before departure.


  • Have enough medications to last the entire trip.


  • Consider utilizing a vacation override to refill medications before traveling.


Emergency services may be covered during travel, but coverage and limits may differ. Consult with your specific Medicare Advantage plan for specific details on coverage while traveling.

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Additional Travel Insurance Options

Alongside your Medicare Advantage Plan, other medical insurance, such as travel insurance, may be able to cover health care costs as well as supplement your coverage for both medical and non-medical costs during travel.

Navigating International Travel with Medicare Advantage

Coverage for international travel with Medicare Advantage may be limited. Nonetheless, certain plans might extend travel benefits such as pre-travel consultations, worldwide logistical support services, and medical evacuation.

Medicare may also offer financial aid for hospital, doctor, and ambulance services taken from a foreign country.

However, one should bear in mind that such cases are very rare. Locals outside the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands will likely not be included.


Best medicare plan for travelers


The Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa may be considered outside the United States for Medicare considerations.

A potential travel benefit for international travel may encompass emergency and urgent care and certain ambulance services, but there may be a limit to the amount the plan will cover for international care and services.

During international travels, having a clear understanding of your Medicare Advantage Plan’s coverage limitations is crucial, and you should always carry the necessary documents.

Understanding Medigap Policies

Medigap policies could serve as supplemental insurance that could assist with some out-of-pocket costs for emergency care outside the U.S. Understanding the potential limitations and coverage rules of these policies may be key:

  • They might cover emergency care during international travels, but not routine check-ups or elective procedures.


  • Medigap coverage is restricted to the initial 60 days of the trip.


  • Typically, Medigap policies pay about 80 percent of the billed charges.


Foreign hospitals may not be required to submit claims for your medical expenses incurred during travel. Consequently, some of these costs might have to be paid by you.

Medicare will likely require you to provide an itemized bill for any doctor, inpatient, and ambulance services relevant to ensure Medicare pays and covers hospital care at a foreign hospital. Failure to do so could result in the inability to receive coverage.

Certain Medigap policies could potentially supplement some of your Medicare Advantage Plan for emergency care outside the U.S., but understanding their potential limitations and coverage rules is important.


Understanding how Medicare Advantage Plans work and their potential coverage limitations when traveling out of state is essential for a worry-free trip.

From network restrictions to international travel, being informed and prepared could save you from unexpected costs and possibly ensure access to necessary healthcare services while away from home.


Frequently Asked Questions



Does Medicare Advantage work in other states?

Yes, some of the Medicare Advantage plans may be used in other states, as long as they provide emergency and urgent care coverage.

Certain plans may be required to cover emergency and urgent care within the United States without imposing additional costs or coverage rules, although some could limit coverage to a defined service area.


→  What is the biggest advantage of Medicare Advantage?

One of the key advantages of certain Medicare Advantage plans might be the broad range of provider networks, reduced out-of-pocket costs, and flexibility with coverage. These advantages could potentially leave seniors with more healthcare choices and reduced costs.


→  Why are people choosing Medicare Advantage plans?

People might choose Medicare Advantage plans due to the lack of prior authorization and quick payment processing from insurers.


→  Can you change Medicare Advantage plans if you move?

When moving, you are eligible to switch Medicare Advantage plans or enroll in Original Medicare through a Special Enrollment Period (SEP).

This SEP allows for at least two months to make the change and can be activated if you move out of your current plan’s service area or within it if different options are available.


→  How can I find out if a healthcare provider is in-network or out-of-network for my Medicare Advantage Plan?

To find out if a healthcare provider is in-network or out-of-network for your Medicare Advantage Plan, visit the plan’s website and search their directory, contact the plan’s Customer Service department, or check your online member portal.

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Russell Noga
( Medicare Expert )

Russell Noga is the CEO of ZRN Health & Financial Services, and head content editor of several Medicare insurance online publications. He has over 15 years of experience as a licensed Medicare insurance broker helping Medicare beneficiaries learn about Medicare, Medicare Advantage Plans, Medigap insurance, and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans.