Medicare is the U.S. health insurance program for people age 65 or older, and under age 65 with certain disabilities. In most cases, Medicare does not cover medical care provided outside of the United States.
Medicare has four (4) parts:
- Part A: Hospital Insurance (premium-free at age 65 for most people)
- Part B: Medical Insurance (monthly premium)
- Part C: Advantage Plans (monthly premium)
- Part D: Prescription Drug Coverage
PART A (Hospital Insurance):
Most people age 65 or older who are citizens or permanent residents of the United States are eligible for premium-free Medicare Part A. Ineligible individuals may be able to get Medicare Part A by paying a monthly premium. If you already receive Social Security benefits, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A at age 65. If you do not already receive Social Security benefits, you must sign up for Medicare Part A by sending an email to SSA Manila (FBU.Manila@ssa.gov) during your seven-month initial enrollment period, which begins three months before your 65th birthday. If you do not enroll in Medicare Part A during this time, you will have another chance each year to sign up during a general enrollment period from January 1 through March 31. Your coverage will begin on July 1 of the year you enroll. If you qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A, you won’t be charged a Medicare Part A late enrollment penalty if you decide to enroll after you first become eligible.
PART B (Medical Insurance):
Anyone who is eligible for premium-free Medicare Part A can enroll in Medicare Part B by paying a monthly premium. When you first become eligible for Part A, you have a seven-month period (your initial enrollment period) in which to sign up for Part B. If you do not enroll in Medicare Part B during your initial enrollment period, you will have another chance each year to sign up during a general enrollment period from January 1 through March 31. Your coverage will begin on July 1 of the year you enroll. Your monthly premium will increase 10% for each 12-month period you were eligible for, but did not enroll in, Medicare Part B.
If you want to cancel Medicare Part B, please complete Form CMS-2690 (PDF 206KB) and return it by email to SSA Manila (FBU.Manila@ssa.gov). If you have a U.S. address on file with SSA, you must also submit Form SSA-21 (PDF 76KB), along with a copy of the bio page of your U.S. passport.
IMPORTANT: Although Medicare Part B in most cases does not provide coverage outside of the U.S., many retirees find it worthwhile to continue paying Part B premiums while living abroad. This is because some health insurance providers require Medicare enrollment for continued coverage, and re-enrolling in Medicare Part B at a later date results in a premium increase of 10 percent for each year of non-participation.
SSA at the U.S. Embassy in Manila (FBU.Manila@ssa.gov)
U.S. Citizen Services at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok (ACSBKK@state.gov)
U.S. Citizen Services at the U.S. Consulate General in Chiang Mai (ACSCHN@state.gov)