Toni:

My husband, who is turning 65 this September, was laid off from a major oil company this year and the only way he can make a living is as an engineer on a contract basis as a 1099 employee with no benefits. I am a stay at home wife, who is now on COBRA.

My question for you is about whether he should apply for Medicare and since he will live outside of the United States, can he receive Medicare coverage in the various oil related countries overseas where he will be living and traveling on a daily basis. How does Medicare pay if he is receiving care while he is working overseas?

By the way, he is living in Saudi Arabia and I will have to email him your answers.

Thanks,

Angie from Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Hello Angie:

Yes…your husband should enroll in Medicare because he is not working full time with “true” company benefits. Medicare not pay for any medical care while one is overseas. I will discuss what your husband should do while working overseas and get medical care later in this article.

The first thing your husband needs to know is that because he is turning 65, this September, his time is ticking to have Medicare begin by Sept. 1 when his Medicare Parts A and B can begin. He can go online at socialsecurity.gov/benefits/medicare in the 90 day window prior to the month turning 65 to enroll in both Medicare Parts A and B.

Medicare gives you a 7 month window to enroll before one begins receiving the “famous” Part B penalty. The 7 month window starts 3 months before your turn 65, the month you turn 65 and 3 month after which is called Medicare’s Initial Enrollment Period.

During a Toni Says Medicare consultation, the team stresses the unique value of receiving Medicare Part B for the first time, such as when one is turning 65 and/or past 65 and retiring with “true” company benefits.

During this unique time, when one is enrolling in a Medicare supplement such as your husband may want to, he will have a 6 month, Medigap Open Enrollment Period where he will not have to answer any health questions to qualify for the specific Medicare supplement plan.

Your husband will have Medicare Parts A and B with a Medicare Supplement to take care of his medical care while in the United States. At this time, he can also enroll in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.

He needs to be aware that a Medicare Supplement does not have adequate coverage for traveling overseas to foreign countries.

A Medicare supplement provides $50,000 of foreign travel benefit not covered by Medicare with a $250 deductible, where you pay 20% of the $50,000 and the insurance company pays 80% of the $50,000 lifetime benefit.

For your husband to work overseas, he will need to apply for travelers insurance to help with any type of medical need he while he is working to care for his family and use his Medicare when he comes back to the states.

Angie, you will want to have traveler’s insurance when you go to visit him.

Toni King is the author of the 2018 Medicare Survival Guide Advanced edition, available at the tonisays.com.

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