Senior Living



Moving overseas … should we keep our Medicare?


Hello, Toni:

My husband and I are enrolled in Medicare with a Medicare Supplement and Part D coverage. We will be moving to England and then return to the United States in a few years. I understand that there is no coverage from Medicare for overseas expenses and that we should seek a medical plan if there are issues while not in the United States.

Is there a way to suspend our Medicare coverage while we are overseas and reinstate it without a penalty when we return? It’s a large expense to have to pay Part B, Supplement and Part D premiums and not be able to use the benefits. If we were to drop Medicare, the Supplement and Part D, would we have to be underwritten when we return to the states?

Thanks for your help with figuring out our expenses while we are not living in the U.S.

--Sandy from Houston

Hi Sandy:


That’s a great question. Will you or your husband be working full-time with true company benefits? Or are you just moving out of the U.S. for a few years to get away?

If you or your husband will be working with company benefits, then you can delay Part B until you return to the United States without getting the “famous” Medicare Part B penalty.

If not working full-time with company benefits, then I would advise you and your husband to remain enrolled in Medicare and keep your Medicare Supplement plan, because you can never know what will happen to your health in the future. Without full-time benefits, if you decide to drop your Medicare Supplement and return to the United States later, both you and your husband will be subject to underwriting when you reapply for a new Medicare Supplement.

I’ve encountered other individuals who, upon moving overseas, stopped their Medicare Part B and then developed serious health issues. Upon returning to the United States, they re-enrolled in Medicare Part B only to discover that their Medicare Part B penalty goes all the way back to the day they turned 65 at a 10% penalty for each year since age 65.


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