Medicare Overseas? Everything You Need to Know —

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Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period is open—through December 7, 2021—and it’s time for eligible retirees to consider their coverage. But what if a retiree wants to move overseas—how does that impact benefits? What’s the smartest way to arrange coverage—or is it even worth maintaining? What Medicare “pitfalls” must an overseas retiree watch for? These questions—and more—are answered in a new report from International Living.

Puerto Viejo beach

Puerto Viejo beach

The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is open for retirees. During the seven-and-a-half weeks from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7, Medicare enrollees are allowed to select or alter their medical and prescription drug coverage for the entirety of the following year, with the changes taking effect on Jan. 1.

Given the frequent yearly changes in Medicare plans, this vital window gives retirees the chance to review the new rules and coverage options and amend their insurance in ways that could deliver significant savings.

Too commonly, however, Medicare beneficiaries are either unaware of this period or—quite understandably—confuse it with the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA-OEP), which takes place in the first quarter of each year and has a wholly different purpose.

It is vital retirees understand the difference between these two periods and what they are and aren’t allowed to do in each—particularly if they’re considering a move overseas.

So to help navigate this peculiar corner of the Medicare maze, International Living has published a report called Everything You Need to Know About Medicare Overseas—created by Ron Elledge, author of the book Medicare Made Easy.

With a few exceptions for emergency or urgent care, Medicare plans will cover enrollees only within the U.S. and its territories.

What happens, then, when retirees want to travel in retirement, take extended stays abroad, or move overseas full-time?

Should they maintain coverage—and if so, at what level? In his report, Everything You Need to Know About Medicare Overseas, Elledge details the answer and lays out a clear picture of how Medicare works.

“Everyone has their own healthcare strategy, particularly when they become an expat,” Elledge says. “But I believe everyone, including full-time expats, should enroll in Part A and Part B of Medicare as soon as they become eligible.

“Medicare is an endless maze of rules and regulations, but at its core, it is designed to cover as many people over 65 as possible. And there are at least 5 reasons why it makes sense for folks who want to travel extensively or even live abroad to stay enrolled in at least some parts of Medicare, no matter where you’re living.”

Everything You Need to Know About Medicare Overseas details those five reasons and also answers the most common questions retirees considering an overseas move ask:

The report lays out a clear picture of how Medicare works and then explores the nuances of it, as they relate to retirees interested in spending time overseas.

More Medicare information can be found, here: Everything You Need to Know About Medicare Overseas

Members of the media have permission to republish the article linked above once credit is given to

Further information, as well as interviews with our experts for radio, TV, or print, are available on request. Photos are also available.

For information about content republishing, source material or to book an interview with one of our experts, contact PR Managing Editor, Marita Kelly, +001 667 312 3532,

Twitter: @inliving
About International Living

Since 1979, has been the leading authority for anyone looking for global retirement or relocation opportunities. Through its monthly magazine and related e-letters, extensive website, podcasts, online bookstore, and events held around the world, provides information and services to help its readers live better, travel farther, have more fun, save more money, and find better business opportunities when they expand their world beyond their own shores. has contributors traveling the globe, investigating the best opportunities for travel, retirement, real estate, and investment.

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