When you’re planning a move out of state, health insurance issues might not fall at the top of your to-do list. Many people assume that their Medicare insurance plan will transfer to their new state, or that a similar option will be readily available after the move. But due to differences in some Medicare plan offerings, these assumptions are not necessarily true. Here’s what you need to know about Medicare when you’re planning a move.
Moving qualifies you for a Special Enrollment Period. Moving is one of the special circumstances under which you are granted a Special Enrollment Period to change your plan(s).
Those enrolled in Original Medicare Parts A and B probably don’t need to make changes. Original Medicare is not based upon provider networks, so you can use your insurance anywhere that accepts Medicare. So if you’re enrolled in Original Medicare Parts A and B, you can always access medical care anywhere in the United States.
Those enrolled in Medicare Part C (Advantage) or Part D (prescription plans) should research their options. Part C and D plans are based upon provider networks, which can differ from one area to another. Your plan offerings might not be commensurate between states.
You might also prefer to research providers and facilities in your new area of residence, so that you gain an understanding of your care preferences. Then, speak to an insurance professional in that state to learn about your Medicare options. In some cases your current plan(s), or something very similar, might be available in the new state.
If the Advantage plans in your new area do not meet your needs, you can also return to Original Medicare.
Those with Medigap plans might require a change. Sometimes those who are enrolled in Original Medicare plus Medigap can keep their old plans and use them anywhere. However, a type of Medigap policy, called Medicare SELECT plans, are based on provider networks. That plan might include a guaranteed-issue right to enroll in a new plan when you move out of the provider network area.
Talk to your Medicare plan administrator before you move. When notifying a plan administrator prior to a move, the Special Enrollment Period begins the month before the month of the scheduled move, and continues for two months afterward. When you wait until after the move to notify your plan administrator, the Special Enrollment Period begins that month and continues for two months afterward.
Plan ahead to gain more time to weigh your options, and you can transition more smoothly into your new life. When selecting options such as Medicare Part C or Medigap plans, you will also be able to evaluate premium expenses to accommodate your changing budget.