It’s that time of year—when snowbirds are getting ready to migrate to warmer climates. If you’re one of them – a retiree that flocks south during the winter months – or just considering taking an extended vacation, remember to consider what kind of health insurance coverage you will need.

With Original Medicare, a Medicare Supplement policy or Medicare Advantage plan, emergency and urgent care are covered. But if you want a second opinion or elective procedures while you’re away be sure to review what your plan allows.

“Medicare Advantage plans are adjusting to baby boomer lifestyles; traveling and staying active,” Tom Gilsdorf, director, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska’s Medicare business unit said. “Now, when you leave the state you can have more flexibility with planned and routine medical care too.”

Gilsdorf suggests finding a doctor that accepts Medicare at your snowbird destination. “It’s always a good idea to call a provider ahead of your trip. You can confirm they accept Medicare as well as discuss your plan.”
If you’re just becoming eligible for Medicare, consider your lifestyle when enrolling during the open enrollment period. (This year’s open enrollment period is currently underway and ends on December 7.) It’s always good to sit down with a Medicare expert to go over what plan will work best for you.

“You should consider, first of all, your budget,” Gilsdorf said. “There are a lot of options when it comes to Medicare coverage and finding help to pick the one that works best for you can make the complicated process easier.”

Just as snowbirds pack for warmer temperatures, packing knowledge of how your Medicare coverage works away from home will help you be more prepared for the trip ahead.