Medicare Made Easy: What Expats, Frequent Travelers, and You Need to Know

Medicare Made Easy: What Expats, Frequent Travelers, and You Need to Know

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If You are a U.S. Citizen and Qualify for Medicare—or Soon Will— and Plan to Live or Travel Overseas, You Need to Understand Your Rights and Obligations. Because Beginning With the 2019 Coverage Year, In Some Cases You Can Use Medicare Abroad

Dear Reader,

As you edge closer to your dream retirement, there are critical issues to consider.

One that's especially important is healthcare.

The good news, of course, is that moving overseas can actually be beneficial to your health, as you'll likely choose a better climate where you can be more active and have access to healthier, straight-from-the-source food.

Still, your healthcare needs should be one of your top priorities. Sure, you'll likely find really excellent, comprehensive (and best of all, extremely affordable), healthcare plans in your new community overseas. And in many cases, you'll find healthcare costs so low that you can cover them out-of-pocket.

Even so, if you are a U.S. citizen, there is one important safety net you should not overlook. This applies even if you are already enrolled in Medicare.

And that's Medicare. (This applies even if you are already enrolled.) If you've paid into Social Security over the years, you've likely already paid for this healthcare coverage and many of its primary benefits are free for you.

I'm Dan Prescher, for International Living.

Not too long ago I turned 65 myself—the age to qualify for Medicare—and I know for sure there's much we need to understand about our Medicare benefits. There's the free Part A, and then there are all kinds of supplemental plans you can pick and choose from to increase the robustness of your coverage.

There’s Good News If You Plan to Be Out of the U.S. for Longer Than Six Months at a Time.

Beginning with the 2019 coverage year, many Medicare Advantage Plans began to allow their clients to remain out of their resident coverage area for up to 12 months per trip. As author Ron Elledge says, he believes more carriers will offer this welcome option in the coming years.

And note that as of now, six Medicare Supplement Plans include foreign travel coverage. In Medicare Made Easy: What Expats, Frequent Travelers, and You Need to Know, you’ll learn more about your options and get Ron’s advice about an extra layer of coverage to consider if you plan to live part- or full-time overseas.

And although many of us have been led to believe that you can't use Medicare overseas, there are, indeed, some instances when you can.

The problem is, there's not a lot of reliable information about how to navigate the ins and outs of Medicare, especially not about how to make it work best for your personal situation.

Sure, you can find some details on government web pages, but good luck trying to decipher the legalese and academic terminologies. And yes, you can attend seminars or ask friends for advice. You can hire an insurance specialist (who will likely want to sell you a few cherry-picked supplemental plans) to create a blueprint for your special circumstances.

But you don't need to do that.

International Living has commissioned an important book, written just for readers like you who are exploring their overseas options. Recently updated for 2021, it provides dependable details about how to decipher your Medicare options—in plain, accessible, understandable language.

Whether you're looking to retire overseas full- or part-time, roam the world, or just travel now and again, this book is for you. In fact, if you never, ever plan to leave the U.S., this book is for you.

It’s called Medicare Made Easy: What Expats, Frequent Travelers, and You Need to Know, and it’s written by Ron Elledge, a U.S. Medicare and health insurance specialist who has devoted his entire career to understanding the intricacies of U.S. health insurance options. (No small task.)

Thankfully, Ron has a passion for helping those of us of Medicare age make sense of what's available to us. This book display his unique forte in helping expats and travelers determine the very best Medicare options.

I'm so impressed with the in-depth scope of his book (173 pages of valuable content) that I lobbied International Living publisher Jackie Flynn to make it available on the IL Bookstore.

To sweeten the pot, we'll throw in something extra. More about that in a moment but first, let me explain why Medicare Made Easy: What Expats, Frequent Travelers, and You Need to Know belongs in your library if you're currently or soon will be on Medicare and you're considering spending any at all time overseas.

First off, all the basics are covered... In an easy-to-understand manner, Ron explains how Medicare works, when you become eligible and how to sign up, your important beneficiary rights...and why, even if you are still working and have a healthcare plan, you must contact the Social Security Administration on a specific date.

Does Any of This Apply to You?

About to turn 65? Will you soon be leaving an employer health plan? Are you planning a move, including overseas? Thinking about changing your Advantage Plan or delaying or dropping Medicare Part B? Before you do any of these, READ THIS BOOK.

Part A is almost always yours free, as you likely know—so there is no reason not to have this. And you've earned it, so why not? Even so, keep in mind that there are important obligations you need to consider. But when should you opt into Part B? And when might you want to delay that, and without paying a penalty later? Ron explains....and this is just the beginning.

Supplemental coverage and all moving "Parts" are addressed in detail. Medicare Part A, B, C, D, Medigap, coverage for long-term care, Tricare, the "Donut Hole," veteran's options...all of this is explained in detail to help you determine the type of coverage that works best for you, especially if you intend to retire overseas or travel abroad frequently.

And this is where this book really shines... It's "need to know" information for all Americans at this critical point in age, but it's even more important if your plans include any kind of international travel or spending any extended time overseas.

If You Plan to be an Expat (or Already Are) or Intend to Do Any
International Traveling, Here's What You Need to Know...

  • If you are living abroad when you turn 65, and don't apply for Medicare at that time and you eventually move back to the U.S., you likely will be subject to late penalties or delayed Medicare coverage. Ron offers some real-world examples to help you understand your options.
  • And if you are in the overseas planning stage...while there is no residence requirement for original (or basic) Medicare," Ron says that where you live "makes a massive difference in how you approach enrollment." This is need-to-know stuff if you plan to go overseas.
Make No Assumptions.

Never assume anything when dealing with Social Security or Medicare, the author says. In Medicare Made Easy: What Expats, Frequent Travelers, and You Need to Know, Ron Elledge deciphers Medicare myths and solves the mysteries you're unsure of. This book shows you how to leverage your benefits to your advantage.

  • Whatever you do, don't drop Part A, Ron says, because if you do, you will become ineligible for Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits and be required to pay back all previous benefits received. (Note that Social Security administers Medicare enrollment, not the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. So you must abide by their rules.)
  • Again: This is need-to-know information that will help you better understand your Medicare options if you plan to spend time overseas. If you're living overseas when you hit your eligibility date, Ron explains why you want to reach out to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for an in-person appointment to discuss your best Medicare option.
  • And if you are working overseas and are covered by an employer's health plan, your options are covered in the book, too. This is especially important if you plan to retire from active employment while living in a foreign country. You have a different set of circumstances in these situations and you'll want to understand your options and obligations. |

Medicare: You Earned It. Now Put it to Work.

The most important thing to keep in mind in all this is that you want to make your benefits work for your personal situation. And you don't want to be without them should you need them. After all, you paid for them during a lifetime of work. And you deserve the benefits Medicare provides to you.

Medicare Made Easy: What Expats, Frequent Travelers, and You Need to Know showcases various scenarios to help you easily identify and assess your options. Importantly, it also shows you what not to do if you are living overseas. You don't want to risk running afoul of government regulations, no matter how inadvertently. Do that, and you may have a tax fraud case filed against you.

When Can You Use Your Medicare Overseas?

Ron Elledge is a long-time International Living subscriber.

At an IL conference a couple of years ago, Ron approached one of our editors. As a future expat himself—and with his Medicare expertise—he strongly believes that it’s important to have a comprehensive healthcare plan when you travel or live overseas. Medicare should be a key part of that, he says.

To that end, Ron first wrote about using Medicare benefits overseas in the IL monthly magazine of November, 2018, and he continues to do that today. Nearly two decades’ worth of articles like this can be accessed by subscribers in IL’s online archives.

Recent changes to some Medicare plans have expanded coverage networks, allowing wider coverage and longer stays out of the country, and also providing for emergency and urgent care services overseas. This is a big benefit for travelers and part-time expats.

In Medicare Made Easy: What Expats, Frequent Travelers, and You Need to Know, you'll get details about which Medicare plans provide this global coverage and how this all works. As Ron says, "It's important to know exactly what you're covered for before you leave the country. It may be worth the effort to change your insurance carrier in order to take advantage of worldwide services."

For example, for some options, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requires that you maintain residence within their coverage area. But CMS requirements for Supplement Plans only require that you are a resident in the coverage area at the time the policy is issued.

So it's important to have a strategy—before you leave the States—to ensure two things: that your coverage will never be interrupted wherever you choose to live and that it won't be adversely affected should you decide to seek legal residence status in another country.

Rita's Story...

To help you better understand this issue, Ron tells the story of Rita, who has made Panama her part-time home for the past 12 years. (She has been covered by Medicare for the last five.) A few years ago she decided to get her Panama residence visa to relieve herself from the tax burden imposed by her state and in order to benefit from the discounts and incentives offered through Panama's renowned Pensionado (Retirement) Program.

This program is one reason for Panama's popularity among expat retirees, as well as because there's no requirement that you live in the country for any length of time once you obtain a resident visa.

Because she moved her legal residence to Panama, Rita can maintain Medicare Part A and B, but will be disenrolled from all Advantage and/or Part D Plans six months to one year after her official residence change takes place. However, if she was enrolled in a Supplement Plan before the residency change, she won't be disenrolled, as long as she continues to pay the premium.

And if Rita were not to pursue a residence change...well, then she has far more options, as Ron weighs in on in Chapter 7 of Medicare Made Easy: What Expats, Frequent Travelers, and You Need to Know.

As he says, "Careful consideration should be given." And in this comprehensive book, he helps you understand exactly what those considerations are and helps you make informed decisions.

Are Your Ready to Get Your Hands on This Important Information?

One of the things I most appreciate about this book, as I've said before, is that the information is presented in a most understandable manner. As I also mentioned not too long ago, I turned 65. Unfortunately for me, that was before Ron had written this book.

So I toughed it out and cobbled together an approach on my own. I can't even begin to tell you how much easier the process would have been had I had this book to refer to.

Not only does Ron explain things in layman's terms, he also offers hypothetical scenarios based on proven strategies and situations similar to what you and I are likely facing. These examples showcase people in their 60s and 70s...some looking to craft their first Medicare solution and others who have been using Medicare for years but, thanks to Ron's guidance, have found ways to make changes that upgrade and enhance (and in some cases, save money on) their coverage.

I'll admit that even with all the prior research I did, I have now changed my original strategy. Ron's advice is worth its weight in gold. No matter if you'll be eligible for Medicare in the coming year or you're already enrolled, you'll want this valuable reference book.


The Medicare Open Enrollment period, during which time you can make changes to your Advantage Plan, ends on March 31.

Once you review Ron’s advice, you may want to make changes to your coverage, and the sooner you can review this important book, the better.

Accept this offer and we’ll immediately email you a link to the book—completely updated for 2021—in digital form, giving you instant access to it, for free. And we’ll also put a printed copy in the mail to you.

There are even five Appendixes in the book, including specific, must-have information for expats and travelers, and contact information for many, many assistance programs and information resources.

There is nothing else out there like this book. Believe me, I've looked. And right now, it’s available to you for just $39.

Whether you're looking to retire or invest overseas, or just spend time exploring the world full- or part-time, Medicare Made Easy: What Expats, Frequent Travelers, and You Need to Know hands you a blueprint to follow in crafting the best Medicare strategy for your personal needs now and in the future.

Take advantage of the solutions and strategies Ron lays out for you and you could save thousands of dollars on medical expenses.

Plus, when you order your copy of the book today, we'll also send along something else to help you get on track with your overseas plans…

** FREE Bonus GIFT **
Passport to Paradise:
More Than 50 Incredible Ways to Travel for Pennies on the Dollar

Yours FREE Today

Place your order today and I'll toss in another extra: a valuable bonus report called Passport to Paradise: More Than 50 Incredible Ways to Travel for Pennies on the Dollar (Value: $29).

This report could change almost everything about how you travel. International Living's mission is to help our readers "Live Better. Spend Less." And this is a shining example of that.

It's the product of painstaking research by our network and it will hand you well more than 55 money-saving travel secrets, such as:

  • A gorgeous tropical paradise (one of the world's most popular) where you'll spend just $300 a month—$3,760 a year—in rent
  • Travel hacks to help you save nearly 50% on luxury hotel stays and on airfares...even how to get round-the-world flights for free

And there's much more. We'll introduce you to charming hideaways near the sea, where you can own an historic home for less than $60,000...or rent for as little as $470 a month... We show you 3 easy ways to get paid to to to trade your English skills for free stays in the world’s most desirable locales...and we’ll introduce you to some remarkably affordable destinations you’ve likely never heard of...but should.

With the simple hacks and secrets we share with you in this new 65-page report—not available anywhere else; you’ll be ready to plan for, and enjoy practically every travel advantage you can imagine.

To get this free bonus report, just place your order now for Medicare Made Easy: What Expats, Frequent Travelers, and You Need to Know. As always, your satisfaction is guaranteed.

Our Good-Will, Good-Value Guarantee

If you decide the information shared in Medicare Made Easy: What Expats, Frequent Travelers, and You Need to Know doesn't work for you, just return the book to us within 30 days and we'll issue you a refund. No questions asked. Your bonus report is yours to keep.

But I don't think that will happen. This information is just too important. And understanding your rights—and the policy changes recently made by Medicare—can help you make decisions and changes to your Medicare strategy that can save you money and increase your peace of mind.

Here's another advantage when you order now: As soon as you order, we'll immediately send a digital copy of both the book and the special the bonus report to your email inbox. And we'll put a printed copy in the mail to be delivered to your doorstep.

In other words, you'll get an e-copy to start reviewing right now. And the book will be on its way to your address.

I think you'll be pleasantly surprised with the changes made by Medicare. As you'll enjoy the easy-to-understand style Ron Elledge uses to explain and help you sort through your options.

Medicare Made Easy: What Expats, Frequent Travelers, and You Need to Know is a must read before you make a critical and costly mistakes with your Medicare coverage when planning your overseas move or travel.


Dan Prescher

Senior Editor, International Living
March 2021

P.S. This is a limited-time offer. To allow you time to make informed decisions about your Medicare options, we want to get this book in your hands as quickly as possible.

We're offering Medicare Made Easy: What Expats, Frequent Travelers, and You Need to Know with the FREE special 65-page bonus report, Passport to Paradise: More Than 50 Incredible Ways to Travel for Pennies on the Dollar (Value: $29) for a limited time.

You get all this for just $39.

If you're interested, click 'add to cart' now.

P.P.S Remember, If you're at all disappointed...and I can't imagine you will be...feel free to send the book back within 30 days for a full refund. The special bonus report is yours to keep.

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