Reciprocal Healthcare Agreement Medicare: What You Need to Know

If you are a Medicare beneficiary and planning to travel outside of the United States, it is important to know about the Reciprocal Healthcare Agreement (RHCA) that Medicare has with certain countries. This agreement allows you to receive medically necessary care while traveling in those countries.

The RHCA is a mutual agreement between Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Under this agreement, residents of these countries can receive Medicare benefits while visiting Australia, and Australian residents can receive healthcare in those countries under their respective health insurance systems.

However, it is important to note that the RHCA only covers medically necessary care. This means that any care that is not deemed medically necessary will not be covered by Medicare. It is also important to check if the healthcare provider you are visiting in the other country is eligible under the RHCA.

To take advantage of the RHCA, you must be enrolled in Medicare Part A and B. Medicare Advantage plans and prescription drug plans do not cover care received outside the United States. It is also advisable to purchase travel insurance that includes medical coverage to supplement any gaps in coverage under the RHCA.

When seeking medical care under the RHCA, you will need to show your Medicare card as well as a passport or other valid identification. You will also need to complete a claim form, which can be obtained from the healthcare provider or the Medicare website, and submit it to Medicare upon your return to the United States.

It is important to note that not all medical expenses will be covered under the RHCA. For example, some prescription medications and medical equipment may not be covered. It is advisable to consult with Medicare before traveling to understand what is covered and what is not.

In summary, the Reciprocal Healthcare Agreement (RHCA) is a valuable benefit for Medicare beneficiaries who are traveling to Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom. While it is important to understand what is covered and what is not, having this agreement in place can provide peace of mind and potentially save you money on healthcare expenses while abroad.