Dream Of Retiring Abroad? The Reality: Medicare Doesn’t Travel Well
From 2012 to 2017, the number of retired workers living in foreign countries who were receiving Social Security benefits grew by nearly 15% to more than 413,000, according to the Social Security Administration. The largest numbers were in Canada (nearly 70,000) and Japan (more than 45,000). Mexico was third, home to nearly 30,000 retired workers. Commercial health care policies for them may provide decent coverage, but people can generally be denied a policy or charged higher rates for medical reasons. The plans may refuse to cover some preexisting conditions. Private policies can be problematic for another reason: They may have age limits. The GeoBlue Xplorer Essential plan, for example, enrolls only people who are 74 or younger, and coverage expires when people turn 84. In contrast, Medicare eligibility generally begins at 65 and continues until a beneficiary dies. And the policies aren’t cheap. A 70-year-old might pay $1,900 a month for an Xplorer Essential plan with a $1,000 deductible, said Todd Taylor, a sales director for GeoBlue. A plan with a $5,000 deductible might run $1,400 monthly. That doesn’t include coverage for services in the United States.