Will Medicare Cover Me on a Cruise Vacation?

Going on a cruise is a popular choice of vacation for Americans. According to Statista Research Development, 29.7 million Americans took a cruise in 2019. Americans love cruises because they can see different countries all in one trip! They do not have to worry about finding a place to stay or traveling via airplane from country to country.

Cruises are a bit more relaxing in the fact that you only must pack for a cruise, get on the cruise, and you are set! You do not have to wait on a plane or in the airport while traveling to your destination. Meanwhile, while you are waiting to get to your next destination on a cruise, you can hang at the pool, the dining room, or the deck.

Now that we have explained all the joys of a cruise, you are probably wondering, “will Medicare cover me on a cruise vacation?” Keep reading to find out!

Does Medicare Cover Cruise Vacations?

Medicare only covers travel in U.S. territories. I.E., the United States, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands. There are three situations where Medicare may cover your journey abroad. Those situations are:

  • If a health emergency occurs in the U.S., but the closest hospital is in another country.
  • If you are traveling the route between Alaska and the U.S. and are in Canada, an emergency occurs.
  • If you are in the U.S. and a hospital in another country is closer to treat you than a U.S. hospital.

Medicare may step in and pay for your medical services aboard a cruise ship if at the time the ship is within U.S. waters. Medicare also may provide and pay for your medical services if the service was provided at a United States port or within six hours of departure or arrival to a U.S. port. The main point is that if you receive treatment within United States waters, Medicare should receive a claim and cover it. If you receive treatment outside of U.S. waters, Medicare generally will not cover it.

Is There Another Way to Get My Cruise Vacation Covered?

Some people do not want to go on a cruise and feel unprotected with their health insurance. You may be thinking, is there another way to get your cruise vacation covered? Some Medigap plans may be able to cover emergency care outside of the United States. These Medigap policies are designed to cover some of your Part A and Part B out-of-pocket costs. Some facts about these policies include:

  • The policy will cover only 80% of foreign travel emergency care.
  • There is a $250 deductible to pay first before care is received.
  • There is a $50,000 max.
  • You can only use it in the first 60 days of traveling.

Another option to get your cruise vacation covered is to ask a travel agent about travel insurance options with limited medical coverage. They can provide you with choices for your health care abroad.


Traveling on a cruise ship is an excellent opportunity for those who want to take advantage of it. Do not let Medicare coverage during your cruise time stress you out. There are options to make your cruise work for you and get you medical emergencies covered on your trip, whether it be looking into a Medigap supplemental policy to cover some of your health care costs while on vacation or looking into travel insurance with a travel agent to get you covered. There are solutions and options available for you. Now, where are you planning on going on a cruise to?

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