Can You Transfer Medicare to Another State?
Yes, you can transfer Original Medicare when you move to another state. Because the federal government sponsors Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B), your benefits will remain valid when you move. Medicare Advantage (Part C) and Medicare Part D, on the other hand, may see some changes.
Whatever kind of plan you have, you’ll need to contact Medicare or the insurance company that provides your plan to inform them of the change of address and discuss any potential changes in coverage.
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Taking Your Coverage With You
People move states for a variety of reasons. You may be retiring, moving near family, or looking for a new opportunity. Whatever your reason is, it’s understandable that you’ll want to know how a move affects your healthcare coverage. Around 7 million Americans moved to a different state in 2021. If you’re considering joining these ranks and currently have Medicare, it’s important to understand how to transfer your benefits or find new ones to keep yourself covered no matter where you are.
Understanding the Different Parts of Medicare
Original Medicare has two parts, Part A and Part B. Part A offers coverage for in-patient care in a hospital or a skilled nursing facility that’s not for long-term care. Part B covers your doctor visits and other outpatient services. Both plans are federally funded and managed, meaning you have the same coverage in all 50 states and several U.S. territories.
Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D
Private companies provide Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans and have defined service areas. A move out of state might take you out of your current plan’s service area. There is a chance that your move is still within your plan’s service area, which would keep your coverage the same. It all depends on your plan, and where you move, so you’ll have to do a little research to see if you can keep your coverage.
Medigap is another term for a Medicare supplement plan that gives you extra coverage for expenses not paid for by Original Medicare. Medigap plans are optional and can only be purchased by people with Original Medicare, not Medicare Advantage.
If you move out of state, you can keep your Medigap plan because it supplements Original Medicare. You might find that the premiums change from state to state, but the coverage will remain the same.
How To Transfer Medicare to Another State
You do not want to risk having a lapse in health care coverage, which is why it’s so important that you research how to transfer your Medicare benefits before the big move.
All you have to do to transfer your Original Medicare is to update your new address. You do this by contacting Social Security. You can stop in a local Social Security Office, call them at 1 (800) 722-1213, or visit SSA.gov and update your address online. Social Security will automatically update Medicare of your address change.
If you receive railroad retirement benefits, in addition to updating Social Security, you’ll need to call 1 (877) 772-5772 and inform them of your address change.
When selecting a new doctor in your new state, remember to look for one who accepts Medicare. You can visit Medicare.gov to find and compare providers.
Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D
If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, moving starts a Special Enrollment Period for you. If you are moving out of your plan’s covered area, you can use this enrollment time to change insurance. You can select another Medicare Advantage plan or opt for Original Medicare coverage. If you do not choose another Medicare Advantage plan in time, your insurance will disenroll you, and you will automatically be switched to Original Medicare.
If you have Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, your move will also put you into a Special Enrollment Period that allows you to switch plans to one that covers your new residence. If you do not do this in time, there will be a lapse in Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage, and you’ll have to wait until the annual enrollment period to re-enroll, and you may have to pay a late-enrollment penalty.
The Special Enrollment Period can begin the month before you move and up to two months after you move, but you need to notify your insurance carrier that you are moving to start this process.
Private insurance companies provide Medigap, so it’s best to contact them with your updated address. They’ll let you know if there is a change in your premiums when you move. Moving does not start a special enrollment period for Medigap. However, you may be eligible to enroll in a new plan if allowable by your new state. If this is the case, you can enroll without underwriting health questions.
One type of Medigap, the Medicare SELECT plan, requires in-plan providers. If you move to an area with no nearby providers, you have the right to switch to another Medigap policy.
What To Expect
Plan on informing many parties of your new address before you move. Taking this step early will make the whole process much smoother. Updating Social Security with an address change should be one of your first steps if you receive federal benefits such as Medicare or Medicaid.
When looking for new healthcare providers, research to make sure you find someone who accepts Medicare. If you have an Advantage plan with a provider network, research online to find a new in-network doctor. It’s a good idea to review your new plan to ensure you understand any coverage differences.
Does Moving States Impact Medicaid Coverage?
Medicaid is both a federal and a state program, so there are changes when you move to another state. Each state has its own plan and its own rules.
Contact the new state’s Medicaid office before the move to check if you’re eligible and find out how to apply for benefits in that state. Then, contact your current state’s Medicaid office to let them know you are going to cancel your benefits. You will not be able to apply for benefits in the new state until you’ve canceled your current coverage. It’s best to apply for Medicaid immediately after you move, but there typically is retroactive coverage for up to three months if needed.