Will Medicare pay for health care on a cruise ship?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

Original Medicare (Parts A and B) will pay for health care on a cruise ship only when you are in United States waters. So, you have to be located at a U.S. or within six hours of arrival or departure from an American port.

If you get sick or require medical attention aboard the ship, the doctor will submit a claim to Medicare. If the doctor who treated you does not have an office in the United States, you will need to mail a claim form along with supporting documents to Medicare.

However, Medicare Advantage plans, which cover hospital stays and doctor visits, also cover health care aboard cruise ships. Medicare Advantage plans are sold by private companies and cover foreign travel.

Medigap insurance may also provide coverage for you while you are away from home.

To navigate the waters of health care on a cruise ship, contact Medicare at 1-800-633-4227 or visit

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.