If your clients are thinking of retiring outside the United States, they’re not alone. According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), more than 500,000 people receive benefits while living in other countries, and the vast majority are retired workers.
In this context, “outside” the United States means any destinations except the 50 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa.
Although these expats receive SSA payments, Medicare does not reimburse them for health care services they receive in their new countries. Many people relocate internationally to take advantage of a lower cost of living and stretch their retirement dollars. How can retirees live in their dream retirement location while protecting both their health and financial assets?
There are many factors to consider before moving outside the U.S., explains Tiffany Benigni, director of LifePlan 20/20 Financial Planning Services at Pittsburgh-based D.B. Root & Company.
“Retirees on Medicare will face some complications,” says Benigni. “Medicare doesn’t cover doctor and hospital charges in foreign countries. And most Medicare supplement polices that cover foreign travel — and all do — provide it for only 60 days.”
Individuals should sign up for Medicare Part A, however, even if they plan to move out of the country. The sign-up period is a seven-month window that begins three months before the enrollee turns 65.