Should You Cancel Medicare Part B after Moving to Spain?

Question

“To every senior who has moved to Spain from the US, did you cancel your Medicare Part B immediately or are you waiting any length of time to do it?”

Answers

These are the answers of Spainguru’s Facebook group members:

“It’s a personal decision that everyone has to make based on their individual circumstances and expectations. If you cancel your part B and decide you want to reinstate it later, you’ll be penalized 10% of the policy premium for each 12 months you aren’t enrolled…… every month for the rest of your life. So if you drop it for 10 years and return to the U.S. your policy would cost 100% more than if you kept it in place.”

“I really don’t plan on coming back. Hmmm, something to think about.”

“Almost all of the people who wound up moving back thought the same thing when they first left the US. Just sayin'”

“I just think as an optimist. Maybe it’s short sighted of me…. I don’t like to put boogeymen under the bed… usually I’m not disappointed.”

“I cancelled mine before I left, when I decided I wouldn’t be moving back to the U.S. I remember sitting at my computer and acknowledging when my finger hit the send button, my next chapter officially began.”

“The reason I hesitate is what if my cancer comes back? Maybe I would want to be tested in the US?”

“I’m kind of in the same boat.. We haven’t retired yet but on top of the financial penalty you have to wait a period of time before the coverage restarts. I know some people that give it up say that they use travel insurance when they visit the states. I’d have to be awfully sure that I was comfortable with the care I was receiving elsewhere. Pennywise, pound foolish.”

“Will never cancel…might need to return for something major”

“It’s a tough call for those of us in the ‘maybe’ category. I did the math, and if you live for at least ten years after returning to the US, you’re better off keeping Part B. So if you’re in your 60s and healthy, and think you may move back eventually, you may want to keep it. That’s what we’re doing for now.”

“Just canceled my part B. Waited a year, but I will never live in the USA again. Wish I could cancel Medicare. Have great medical here in Spain with NHS”

“I plan to enroll in Medicare and keep it. The main reason is that I’ll want to visit the US at least twice a year to see family, and so far I’ve not found any good insurance that will cover any medical care I might need while in the US, they will only cover emergencies for US citizens visiting the US from abroad.”

“As long as I have a US passport I need healthcare coverage while I’m there.”

“I discovered that canceling Part B will get me $178.30 per month. Very tempting. I may wait until my year of private Spanish health insurance expires.”

“True it’s not cheap. But should I have an emergent issue while visiting the US, I’d rather have the peace of mind of getting it treated immediately rather than having to return to the EU.”

“Fact: I was visiting Spain in 2015 and came down with a rare pneumonia. I was intubated and on a ventilator in a coma for 3 months… I died twice. Spanish healthcare saved me. At that time, Spain was ranked #14 in the world, the US was ranked #34. I think I was lucky to be in Spain when it happened. I wrote a thank you note to King Felipe and got a nice response.”

“Never had it. Don’t want it. Turned 65 over here. I buy travel insurance when I visit the US.”

“Why would you cancel it?”

“To increase the amount of money that you collect on a monthly basis. If you’re not in the US, it’s roughly $200.00 that you’re throwing away monthly.”

“But not a good thing to lose if you ever decide or need to come back to the US.”

“Cancelled our Part B. Figured if I had to return to the US, with the cost of everything there, I’d wind up on Medicaid anyway! ????”

“Consider a Spain health insurance policy that has international coverage – it will cover 100% (no copay) in Spain, and 90% anywhere else in the world. I have one that does exactly this.

Only cancel your Medicare Part B after verifying that your Certificate of Coverage from your Spain insurance is accepted by Medicare as you having alternate insurance during this time. That is the only way to avoid higher Part B premiums in the future, should you need to once again resume Part B coverage.”

Conclusion

Deciding whether to cancel Medicare Part B when moving to Spain is a complex decision that depends heavily on personal circumstances, future plans, and individual health concerns.

Many Americans retain their Medicare Part B to avoid penalties and ensure coverage during visits back to the U.S., while others opt out, preferring to rely on Spanish healthcare or private insurance.

Those considering cancellation should weigh the potential long-term costs and benefits carefully, especially the implications for future healthcare needs and potential return to the U.S.