I am planning on taking a Caribbean cruise with my wife and I’d like to rent a portable oxygen concentrator as a backup device. I have my own portable oxygen concentrator but it malfunctioned on my last cruise, so I always like to have a spare when I’m out at sea. I have a prescription for the equipment, and my doctor has certified me fit to travel. The cruise line gave me a list of their preferred medical equipment vendors, and told me that I could make arrangements with the provider of my choice to have a portable oxygen concentrator delivered to my cabin. That sounds great, but I’m wondering if Medicare will cover this. And if they don’t, will I be responsible for the bill? The cruise line was unable to answer these questions for me, or to even provide any guidance.
Without knowing more about your Medicare coverage it’s hard to tell, but generally speaking Medicare does not cover services outside of the US. That said, many Medicare supplement plans do offer worldwide coverage. The first step is to contact your Medicare supplement provider (if you have one) and find out if this will be covered.
The second step is to find out if the cruise line’s preferred vendors are Medicare approved – most are not. And yes, you will be responsible for the bill if your Medicare supplement does not cover it. The best thing to do is to find a vendor in your port city that is Medicare approved, and arrange to rent the equipment from them. In the end it may take a little legwork, but it’s the only way to insure that you won’t get stuck with a large bill after the cruise.