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Retirees on a boat From 2012 to 2017, the number of retired workers living in foreign countries who were receiving Social Security benefits grew by nearly 15 percent. Photo: Shutterstock)

When Karen Schirack, 67, slipped on her way into her house in January and broke her left femur in multiple places, she had a decision to make. Should she get surgery to repair the fractured thigh bone and replace her hip near Ajijic, Mexico, where she has lived for 20 years, or be airlifted back to her home state of Ohio for surgery and rehab?

As the number of American retirees living overseas grows, more of them are confronting choices like Schirack’s about medical care. If they were living in the United States, Medicare would generally be their coverage option. But Medicare doesn’t pay for care outside the U.S., except in limited circumstances.

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