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WARNING: Taking Medicare Advice from Your Friends Can be COSTLY!

Hi Toni,


I met with you in late 2021 for a Toni Says personalized Medicare consultation. I have a quick question regarding travel outside the United States because I’m planning a trip to Greece next month.

A friend recently gave me Medicare advice that now has me very confused.  She told me that some Medicare Plans, such as Plan F, give foreign travel medical coverage, but others such as Plan G, which was my choice, do not. Is that true?


If so, do you have any recommendations for me as to how to get reasonable medical coverage for my trip? Thanks for any help you can give me. 

Lee Anne from Sugar Land, Texas


Lee Anne,

Your friend is dead wrong and what she told you is not accurate.


Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans F and G (as well as C, D, M, and N) cover the same limited amount of emergency foreign travel, an added perk Medicare does not cover. This foreign travel coverage pays for emergency care if it begins during the first 60 days of your trip. It has a $250 deductible, and thereafter the Medicare Supplement plan only pays 80%, up to a lifetime maximum benefit of $50,000. You pay 20% and any amounts over the $50,000 lifetime maximum.

confused lady at table

Who knows what an air ambulance from Greece will cost? My recommendation to you, Lee Anne, is to talk with your travel or insurance agent or explore online for true travelers insurance that will take care of your medical needs in all countries all over the world. Not all travel insurance plans include medical coverage, so it’s important to read the plan’s conditions and restrictions.

Read Next: Medicare Coverage Options for Retirees Eager to Travel

Remember that Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans only take care of medical and prescription drug expenses in the United States. So be sure you bring enough of your prescription medication while you are overseas, or you will have to pay out-of-pocket.

Lee Anne, your Plan-F-recommending friend is apparently unaware that the plan is no longer even available for those enrolling in Medicare Part A as of January 1, 2020.  (Chapter 3 of the Medicare Survival Guide discusses the rules of enrolling in Medicare Supplements.) For those who are currently enrolled in a Medicare Supplement Plan F, their Plan F will be grandfathered. Although “grandfathered” means that they may keep the plan, no one really knows what the future rate increases will be like.


Here is a surprise for your friend: Medicare Supplement Plan G has taken Medicare Plan F’s place. Another plan, called Medicare Plan N, will be the lesser premium plan with higher out-of-pocket costs.

The main differences between Medicare Supplement Plans G and N

Plan G offers lower rates and the same Medicare benefits as Plan F except the Medicare Part B deductible is not covered and will be paid for by the enrolled Medicare beneficiary (you) out-of-pocket.  The Part B deductible for 2023 is $226.          

Plan N, generally, has lower premiums than Plan G with higher out-of-pocket costs.  There is a $20 co-pay for a doctor’s visit and a $50 co-pay for the emergency room.  The Part B deductible is also not covered, and, in addition, Part B excess charges are not paid for by the insurance company (which Plan G covers). 

Lee Anne, your friend is giving Medicare advice while having no idea of what a Medicare Supplement covers. Unfortunately, this is not the first time that a friend has misled someone over their Medicare option, and it probably won’t be the last.

Contact Toni: Email the Toni Says® Medicare team at or call (832)519-8664 for all your Medicare questions!

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Originally published February 15, 2023


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