May 27, 2015 2:12 AM GMT
MEDICARE PORTABILITY is Medicare coverage for eligible Americans who are living or traveling abroad. International Medicare coverage is currently prohibited by antiquated Medicare rules, except in rare circumstances.
The Medicare program began in 1966 when the life expectancy of Americans was 70 years, when few Americans could or wanted to retire abroad, when few countries had U.S. healthcare standards, and when Medicare spending was merely $3 billion.
Much has changed: Americans are living longer and many want to spend some part of their retirement abroad in order to stretch their limited retirement assets or to reunite with family. Many countries now have U.S. standards of healthcare at much lower costs. Meanwhile, the Medicare program spends $549 billion annually and is unsustainable without structural changes.
Updating Medicare to permit coverage in other countries would:
Reduce Medicare spending
Give Americans the freedom to seek a more affordable retirement abroad
Align Medicare with other portable government retirement benefits.
Cost Savings for the Federal Government
...lower cost of healthcare in other countries would create substantial cost-savings for the Medicare program and ease pressure on the federal budget...
...pays professional services outside the U.S. at the lesser of billed charges or the maximum allowable U.S. charge multiplied by the specific country index factor. In 2012, this factor was .70 for Panama and .52 for the Philippines. In other words, a physicians service in the Philippines with a maximum allowable U.S. charge of $100 would be reimbursed at $52 instead...
...after more than three years, the quest for a portable Medicare, which started with the formation of the U.S. Medicare Philippines, still has a long road ahead...
...Medicare is a federal program that provides medical coverage to U.S. citizens 65 and older. It also extends coverage to younger people with Lou Gehrig’s disease, permanent disabilities and end-stage renal health complications...
...However, coverage outside the United States is not allowed unless in an emergency situation and an American hospital is not available...
...The lobbying effort for a portable Medicare is centered on the premise that it’s a win-win situation; that allowing retirees to bring their Medicare benefit... (overseas)...will save the U.S. tons of money.
“The average cost per beneficiary was $11,743 per year in 2010,” says Eric Lachica, a co-founder of U.S. Medicare Philippines. “A savings of at least $5,000 per beneficiary is achievable if spent in the Philippines.”
...While Social Security is portable, those returning to their home country will not be eligible for Medicare, which can be a major disadvantage, Mr. Rigor said. Medicare is generally not available outside the United States and its territories, even for American citizens who have paid into the system...