Back in 2009 I wrote about how affordable medical care is in Costa Rica. Thanks to Google, someone who is considering retiring overseas found that post. And she asked:
"My husband and I have visited several countries that have attracted retirees from the U.S. And we have it narrowed down to three, including Costa Rica. Health care is certainly a concern. Fortunately neither of us has any particular problems. We are over 65 and have Medicare Parts A, B, and D. My question is, what becomes of our Medicare coverage if we make this move?” Thanks, Melissa.
I did some digging, and replied to Melissa …
Medicare doesn’t pay for services you receive outside the U.S., Melissa. So it comes down to what to do with your current coverage.
Since Part A (hospitalization) doesn’t cost you anything, you might as well keep it.
You’re each paying about $105 (could be more depending on your income) a month for Part B, which is medical insurance covering outpatient services. You can drop that coverage and save some money. Just contact Medicare for instructions.
Part D is your prescription drug coverage, and you can cancel it by contacting the plan provider. Detailed instructions can be found here.
Now suppose you move to another country. But after a year or so you decide it’s not the paradise you had imagined, and you return to the U.S.
You still have Part A.
You’ll be able to re-enroll in Part B, but only from January 1–March 31, and you may have to pay higher premiums.
Part D has the same window to re-enroll. But there shouldn’t be a penalty.
And one more thing, Melissa, if you are really serious about Costa Rica, I suggest you sign up for one of George Lundquist’s Retire in Costa Rica on Social Security tours. They’re well worth the money, and could save you a lot of grief down the road. Plus you’ll have a heck of a good time!
Hope that helps!