Can I Cancel Medicare If I Live Abroad?
Yes, you can cancel your Medicare coverage if you live abroad, but there are several important considerations to keep in mind:
- Supplement Insurance Impact: If you have Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) and you cancel your Medicare Part B, you will lose your supplement coverage. Medigap policies are designed to work with Medicare Parts A and B, so without Part B, these policies are no longer valid.
- No Coverage During U.S. Visits: If you cancel Medicare Part B and don’t have any other form of health insurance, you will not have medical coverage when you visit the United States. This means you would have to pay out of pocket for any medical care you receive in the U.S.
- Re-enrollment Penalties: If you decide to reenroll in Medicare Part B after canceling it, you may face a late enrollment penalty. This penalty is typically 10% added to your premium for each full 12-month period you were eligible for Part B but not enrolled. This penalty can apply for as long as you have Medicare Part B.
- Limited Enrollment Periods: Medicare has specific enrollment periods. If you cancel your Part B coverage, you can only re-enroll during the General Enrollment Period (from January 1 to March 31 each year), with coverage starting on July 1 of that year. This means there could be a significant gap in coverage.
Given these factors, it’s essential to carefully consider your healthcare needs and potential risks before deciding to cancel Medicare Part B. It’s advisable to:
- Contact Medicare Directly: Reach out to Medicare or a Medicare counselor to discuss your specific situation and understand the implications of canceling your Part B coverage.
- Explore Senior Travel Insurance: If you travel frequently or spend time in the U.S., consider senior travel insurance for additional protection during your visits.
Ultimately, the decision should be based on your individual health needs, travel plans, and financial considerations.
Related Reading: Can You Travel With Medicare Advantage Plans
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