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Dream of Retiring Abroad? The Reality: Medicare Doesn’t Travel Well

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Claudia Peresman, who will flip 63 on Sunday, moved from Stonington, Conn., to San Miguel de Allende in central Mexico in November. On her first night time there, she tripped within the lavatory, hit her face on a wall and break up her lip. Her neighbors helped her get a cab to a 24-hour emergency room at a hospital about 5 minutes away, the place workers cleaned up the lower and despatched her dwelling. She paid the roughly $25 charge in money.

Ms. Peresman not too long ago purchased a personal insurance coverage plan with a $2,500 deductible, for which she pays about $100 a month.

“What I wanted was catastrophic coverage,” she mentioned. “Things are so affordable here that, outside of being admitted to the hospital, I can probably afford it.”

Even when retirees purchase a personal coverage, Medicare is one other piece of the puzzle that they’ve to think about. Once folks grow to be eligible for Medicare protection, they face a 10 % premium penalty for each 12 months that they aren’t enrolled in Part B, which covers outpatient providers. (People who’re 65 or older however nonetheless coated by an employer plan usually don’t face that penalty.)

After paying into the Medicare system for many years, usually by way of payroll taxes, some expats are pissed off that they often can’t use this system outdoors the United States. That’s simply the best way the regulation is written, an official on the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services mentioned.

“C.M.S. cannot speak to or speculate on congressional intent,” the official mentioned.

And retirees ought to truthfully think about whether or not they may spend the remainder of their lives abroad.

“Even if that is their goal, is their health and mobility going to allow them to accomplish that?” mentioned Dr. David Shlim, 70, who handled many expats when he ran a medical clinic in Kathmandu, Nepal, within the 1980s and ’90s. “People should imagine that they may need to come back to the U.S. and ask themselves how are they going to do that and afford that.”

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