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How to use Medicare while living in the Philippines


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Dave the Rave

Hello members:     I will be returning to Cebu from Las Vegas later this year (Hopefully for good.) and, at the age of 67 and using Medicare, was thinking about how to use that program while living in Cebu.  The only options I can see are flying to either Guam or Hawaii.  In Guam I know there are no Medicare Advantage plans available so the best course of action would seem to be use of original Medicare with a Medigap policy, which is available in Guam, for added protection.  Options in Hawaii are considerably more varied with several Advantage plans available.  I am guessing that enrolling in an Advantage plan in Hawaii would require a local address.  Maybe a mail forwarding service would solve that problem.  I don't believe that use of original Medicare and a Medigap policy in Guam would require a local address as the original Medicare card produced at facilities that accept Medicare, which are present on Guam,  should guarantee service.  And I don't think that Medigap policies are tied to geography.  And all of this would be backed up by my PhilHealth membership in Cebu, for what that is worth. But I may be wrong about some, or all, of this.  I would appreciate any knowledgeable input on these issues.  

Edited by Dave the Rave
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Salty Dog

I'm pretty sure Advantage Plans are geographic based. They are even different from city to city in the same county here in Florida.

I doubt though they will check your physical location. They pretty much use whatever address you give them.

I don't need one because I have TRICARE For Life that pays whatever Medicare doesn't. They even pay my Medicare deductible.

I would certainly call a few to see what your options are.

I knew very few people living in the Philippines who kept Medicare. They didn't want to pay the monthly premiums.

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Dave the Rave

Yes, Advantage plans are definitely based on locality.  I currently use Advantage here in Las Vegas.  But I do not believe that Medigap policies are based on locality. So, I think I can use an original Medicare card and a Medigap policy in Guam just by walking in the door.  That is what I hope someone can address here in the forum. Medicare Part A  (Physician) has no premium.  Part B (Hospital) and Part D (drug coverage) do have premiums.  Personally, I would pay the part B and part D premiums while living in Cebu if I could take a short plane ride to Guam if I needed to use the service.  

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Salty Dog
8 minutes ago, Dave the Rave said:

Yes, Advantage plans are definitely based on locality.  I currently use Advantage here in Las Vegas.  But I do not believe that Medigap policies are based on locality. So, I think I can use an original Medicare card and a Medigap policy in Guam just by walking in the door.  That is what I hope someone can address here in the forum. Medicare Part A  (Physician) has no premium.  Part B (Hospital) and Part D (drug coverage) do have premiums.  Personally, I would pay the part B and part D premiums while living in Cebu if I could take a short plane ride to Guam if I needed to use the service.  

You have Part A and B backwards. Part A is Hospital (free) and Part B is Physician (premium) .

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Medicare has two parts, Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medicare Insurance). You are eligible for premium-free Part A if you are age 65 or older and you or your spouse worked and paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years.

 

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Headshot
16 hours ago, Dave the Rave said:

Personally, I would pay the part B and part D premiums while living in Cebu if I could take a short plane ride to Guam if I needed to use the service.  

Just a thought... 

Maybe you should just consider living on Guam or one of the islands of the CNMI (also a US territory), or staying in the US, if you think you will be needing Medicare services and benefits. Guam and the CNMI have basically the same climate as the Philippines, but with the benefit of better access to US services. Guam has more services, but the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands is quieter. Cost of living is comparable in the two territories provided you aren't renting a car or taking taxis.

If you live on Guam or in the CNMI, you are still close enough to the Philippines for a visit, but you won't have the expense of airline tickets every time you need to visit a doctor, get a prescription filled or have a medical emergency. Have you considered how much airline tickets would cost you, and have you considered that you may not even be able to travel when you need to (like now during the pandemic)? Speaking of medical emergencies, with some medical conditions you can fly, and others you can't. If you live in the Philippines, you need to realize that you may not be able to access places where Medicare will do you any good, if there is an emergency.

The average stay in the Philippines for those who want to retire here is about three years, and many of those who move back to their home country do so due to medical issues. Any medical care you receive in the Philippines will be out-of-pocket. Medicare does you no good here. Make sure that you don't shut off the possibility of returning to the US if you move to the Philippines. And you need to remember that, if you buy a house or condo in the Philippines, it will be like an anchor in case you decide to move back to the US at some point.

Edited by Headshot
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