Medigap does not cover emergency care abroad

During my traveling from Chicago to Belgrade, when I was in transit in London, I had a serious health problem, blood pressure and chest pain. I was taken to the hospital in London.  I was at the hospital for just the afternoon and I was discharged early the next morning. Medicare and my supplemental insurance denied my claims and I was forced to pay not a small bill to the hospital in London. So my question is, was I insured during my presence at the airport in London? If I am does, insurance include health problems? Can I submit to the airport in London my request for reimbursement?

Long London Layover

Dear Long London Layover,

The London airport would cover your health problem, if it were caused by something that the airport was responsible for. For example, they would cover your care if you broke a bone falling on their stairs. They will not cover a health problem that you happened to have while you were there.

If you regularly travel outside the United States, you may want to switch your supplemental plan to one that covers emergencies abroad.  Standard Medigap Plans C, D, F, G, M, and N provide foreign travel emergency health care coverage. See Medicare’s website for more info about supplemental plans and travel.

Chances are you are stuck with that hospital bill.  If you have a left over Health Savings Account, you can use those funds to pay it.  You would have to spend 10 percent of your adjusted gross income on medical expenses in order to deduct it from your taxes.  Since you have Medicare and a supplemental policy, you are unlikely to spend that much.

Linda Riddell

About Linda Riddell

A published author and health policy analyst with 25 years’ experience, Linda Riddell's goal is to alleviate the widespread ailment of not knowing what your health plan can do for you.