Our Goal: To ensure U.S. citizens have access abroad to their earned Medicare benefits.
There are approximately 9 million Americans overseas, according to the U.S. State Department. According to the Federal Voter Assistance Program (FVAP), approximately 6.5 million Americans overseas are of voting age. Twenty percent of FVAP’s respondents are 65+ years old (thus, approximately 1.3 million Americans 65+ years old are overseas) and fifteen percent are between the ages of 55-64 years old (thus, approximately 975 thousand Americans between the ages of 55-64 years are overseas). This comports with the data Democrats Abroad has of its voter lists as well.
Many of these Americans have earned Medicare benefits by working in the U.S. for at least 40 quarters, paying into Part A of Medicare during their working careers, and many opt to pay into Part B of Medicare during their retirement, even if they move overseas and can no longer access their Medicare benefits without traveling back to the U.S. Unfortunately for American citizens who live overseas, Medicare benefits are not accessible outside of the United States. This means that citizens must undertake the additional expense of traveling back to the United States for costly medical procedures that would have been cheaper in their country of residence.
Medicare is not self-sustaining - and the U.S. government is looking for ways to save costs for Medicare to make it viable for future generations. Outsourcing services to foreign countries with equivalent medical care at lower costs could be a source of cost savings for Medicare.
The FY2022 Appropriations Act report (pp. 97-98) asks the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) to consider pilot programs that lower the cost of care for individuals who retire overseas and allow for these individuals to utilize their primary healthcare benefits. This pilot program should consider the cost savings by utilizing international collaborations where the quality of care is comparable and less expensive.