Does Medicare Cover Cruise Ship Claims?

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

Medicare Coverage on Cruise Ships

Understanding the Coverage

Medicare generally covers medical services you receive on cruise ships within certain conditions. The ship must be in a U.S. port or within six hours of departure from or arrival at a U.S. port when you receive the services.

However, if the ship is more than six hours away from the nearest U.S. port, Medicare won’t cover the costs.

Pre-existing Conditions

Pre-existing conditions do not influence Medicare’s coverage for services on a cruise ship. Medicare’s decision to cover or not cover a medical service on a cruise ship is based on other factors, like the location of the ship at the time of service, not on the nature of your condition.

Alternative: Travel Medical Insurance

For extensive coverage, including circumstances not covered by Medicare, it’s advisable to purchase travel medical insurance. This insurance can cover medical emergencies, evacuation, and services beyond the scope of Medicare, especially when you are outside the U.S. or in international waters.


  1. Covered: You fall and break your ankle on a cruise ship while it is docked in a U.S. port.
  2. Not Covered: You experience a flare-up of a chronic condition while the ship is more than six hours away from the nearest U.S. port.


In summary, Medicare may cover your medical claims on a cruise ship depending on the location of the ship at the time of service, not based on whether the condition is pre-existing. For broader coverage, including situations not covered by Medicare, consider travel medical insurance. This ensures that you are protected throughout your journey, regardless of location. Contact us today for a free quote.

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Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

Shawn Plummer is a licensed financial professional, insurance agent, and annuity broker with over 14 years of first-hand experience with annuities and insurance. Since beginning his journey in 2009, he has been pivotal in selling and educating about annuities and insurance products. Still, he has also played an instrumental role in training financial advisors for a prestigious Fortune Global 500 insurance company, Allianz. His insights and expertise have made him a sought-after voice in the industry, leading to features in renowned publications such as Time Magazine, Bloomberg, Entrepreneur, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, Women’s Health Magazine, and many more. Shawn’s driving ambition? To simplify retirement planning, he ensures his clients understand their choices and secure the best insurance coverage at unbeatable rates.

The Annuity Expert is an independent online insurance agency servicing consumers across the United States. The goal is to help you take the guesswork out of retirement planning and find the best insurance coverage at the cheapest rates

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