by Dedra Jize, OT, CSA
Geriatric Care Manager, Law Offices of Roy W. Litherland
“Aruba, Jamaica, oh I want to take you.” These lyrics to a popular song by the Beach Boys in the late 1980’s made us want to go and bask in the sun. Or maybe you’re a little bit country and Willie Nelson’s song, “On the Road Again” strikes a chord with you. Or perhaps “Route 66” by Chuck Berry made you want to jump in your car for a road trip across the country. However, work, family and other responsibilities and financial obligations kept all that from happening, until now! You are 65 or older, perhaps retired, and the world is yours to be seen.
Now that you are a little older and wiser, here are a few things to consider while planning those trips.
- Medicare covers health care you receive while traveling inside the U.S.
Problem: Generally, Medicare doesn’t cover your doctor, inpatient hospital, or ambulance services when traveling outside the U.S.
What to do: Did you know that Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands (Saint Croix, Saint Thomas and Saint John), Guam (out in the North Pacific Ocean), the Northern Mariana Islands (in the Philippine Sea) and American Samoa are considered part of the U.S.? Take trips to these tropical islands while assuring you have medical coverage. Want to go elsewhere, consider Travel Insurance or check your supplemental insurance for coverage.
- Taking a cruise can be spectacular. Many ships are equipped with state of the art medical facilities which can be great during a medical emergency.
Problem: Medicare may cover this cost if the ship is within the territorial waters adjoining U.S. land, but it won’t pay if the ship is more than 6 hours from a U.S. port.
What to do: Take a cruise along the Eastern or Western seaboards of the U.S. You can even go to the Caribbean that port at the U.S. Virgin Islands to be on the safe side should a medical emergency arise.
- Traveling by plane is often the fastest and easiest way to travel from home to abroad
Problem: There are restriction on planes regarding oxygen use, wheel chairs and family escorts to the plane.
What to do: Call the airline directly for assistance with any medical or dietary restrictions you may have. You can rent an approved oxygen concentrator for use on the plane. You can also request in advance to have wheel chair assistance (but of course, confirm this at check in). Also, a family member can get a Pass, even if not flying, to enter the security area with a disabled person who may need their assistance prior to boarding. Again, this is done upon check in with the airline.
- There are so many spectacular places to travel and see around the world.
Problem: Not all places are considered safe (personal, health and general safety) by the U.S. Department of State.
What to do: Check out their website prior to travel (https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/alertswarnings.html) to find out more information. If it is safe, purchase International Travel Insurance. This covers not only valuable medical expense coverage, but also expenses from trip interruption, evacuation and other travel emergencies.
- So many places…so much to figure out.
Problem: There are a lot of details and much to figure out and plan for when ‘designing’ a trip. Although some people may find this fun, many consider it very daunting and therefore plan for nothing.
What to do: Go with a Professional Tour Group, some focus on adventure, educational, local or abroad types of trips. Let them plan the itinerary, make the reservations, and remove all the ‘figuring out’ so you can enjoy the vacation. This also allows you the opportunity to travel by yourself or meet new people. Check out your local Senior Center for a wide variety of travel options they offer.
Traveling or the desire to travel is often part of the plan for our retirement years. With just a little preplanning, this can be accomplished for even those who may have health issues or are single or those who just hate to plan trips.
About Dedra Jize: Dedra Jize is a Certified Senior Advisor and Geriatric Care Manager. She works to help our senior clients and their families with Medicare issues, and Medi-Cal applications and representations. Dedra provides psycho-social assessments of health care needs, develops individualized plans for care, evaluates the specific needs of clients, and makes recommendations when applicable for home care services, independent living communities, assisted living facilities, and nursing facilities. Her goal in working with clients is to advocate on behalf of the senior, and to enhance the quality of life of both the older adult and his or her family. Dedra offers a free 15-minute consultation to determine how she may be able to help you and can be reached at (408) 356-9200 or (831) 476-2400.