If you’re planning a move out of state, changing your health insurance might not fall at the top of your to-do list. Many people make the mistake of assuming their Medicare insurance plan will transfer, or that a similar option will be readily available in their new state of residence.
Unfortunately, due to differences in some Medicare plan offerings, this is not necessarily true. Here’s what you need to know about Medicare when you’re planning an out-of-state move.
You will qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. Whether you have Medicare insurance or an Individual plan, moving is one of the special circumstances under which you are granted a Special Enrollment Period.
If you’re enrolled in Original Medicare Parts A and B, you probably don’t need to make changes. Original Medicare is not based on provider networks, and you can use your insurance anywhere that accepts Medicare. So if you’re enrolled in Original Medicare Parts A and B, you will be able to access medical care anywhere in the United States.
If you’re enrolled in Medicare Part C (Advantage) or Part D (prescription plans), you need to research your options. Part C and D plans are based upon provider networks. Plans differ from one state to another, so your plan offerings might not be commensurate between states.
You might wish to research providers and facilities in your new area of residence, so that you have an idea of your care preferences. Then, speak to an insurance professional in that state to learn your plan options. In some cases your same plan will be available in the new state.
In the event that the Advantage plans in your new area are not sufficient for your needs, you can also return to Original Medicare.
Medigap plans might require a change. In some cases, those who are enrolled in Original Medicare plus Medigap can simply stick to their old plans. However, Medicare SELECT plans, a type of Medigap policy, are based on provider networks. Your plan may include a guaranteed-issue right to enroll in a new plan when you move out of the provider network area.
Notify your plan administrator before you move. When you notify your plan administrator prior to a move, your Special Enrollment Period begins the month before the month of your move, and continues for two months afterward. If you wait until after the move, your Special Enrollment Period begins that month and continues for two months afterward.
Planning ahead can give you a bit more time to weigh your options, plus helps you to transition more smoothly into your new residence. If you elect options such as Medicare Part C or Medigap plans, taking this step can also help you to consider shifting expenses and balance your budget.