Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Retirement overseas is a mixed bag: low assisted living costs; what about social security, Medicare?

ABC World News Tonight on Jan. 27 reported that many retirees are going to Mexico and Central America for lower cost of living.

The segment showed an assisted living facility being built in Sam Miguel, with rent less than a third of what is typical in the US. Home health care is also much less expensive. The news story is by Jeffrey Kofman, title “Retirees Flock South of the Border for Savings; Mexico Offers Full-Time Assisted Living Developments at Half the Price”, link here.

About a year ago, the media reported a retirement condominium boom in Panama, with health care costs lower.

However, Americans who retire overseas are often denied Medicare. See the AARO, Association of Americans Retired Overseas, with writeup on Medicare here. There are some complications regarding social security covered here. There are issues with pension from foreign sources and the Windfall Elimination Provision Offset.


Unknown said...

I live in lake Chapala, Mexico along with about 10,000 other American retirees.

Your post states that, Americans who retire overseas are often denied Medicare. This statement is false and needs further clarification.

Medicare services are not currently available to US citizens that reside in other countries. However, if you are eligible for Medicare and travel back to the US for treatment, you will receive Medicare benefits like anyone else.

Regarding social security the link you cite for 'complications', is strictly for individuals with incomes earned in foreign countries and their associated pensions. Most American retirees don't need to have this concern.

Bottomline I have several friends that have traveled back to the US for Medicare paid treatments and many that are getting social security checks direct deposited into their US bank accounts

You can read about our Mexico retirement story here:

Joel Smith
Casa Preciosa Ajijic, Mexico

Bill Boushka said...

Thanks! The details in this particular retiree's comment help clarify for others what is really likely to happen for other retirees who go overseas.