What to Do If You Have Medicare and Are Moving to Another State
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If you’re moving out of state, you may wonder if you need to make changes to your Medicare coverage. The answer depends on the type of coverage you have. In some cases, your Medicare coverage can be used in your new state, and you may not need to do anything at all. In other situations, you may be enrolled in a Medicare plan that isn’t offered in your new state, and you may need to take action.
I have Original Medicare and am moving out of state
If you’re enrolled in Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, you don’t need to make changes to your coverage if you’re moving, either to a new address in your state or out of state. Original Medicare doesn’t have provider networks; instead, you can use any hospital or doctor throughout the country that takes Medicare.If you need help finding a new doctor that accepts Medicare, you can use Medicare.gov’s Physician Compare tool for a list of providers participating in the Medicare program. If you like, you can even filter your search results to only show doctors who accept Medicare assignment. When a doctor accepts assignment, this means he or she won’t charge you more than the Medicare-approved amount for a health-care service, although you’ll still be responsible for any copayments or deductibles that apply. If you use providers that don’t accept assignment, your out-of-pocket costs may be higher.If you’re moving out of state, you should contact Social Security to update the mailing address that Medicare has on file. You can do so in the following ways:
- Visit the Social Security website to update your information online. If you have a My Social Security account, you can log into your account to update your address.
- Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY users, dial 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday, from 7AM to 7PM.
- Visit a local Social Security office to update your information in person.
If you worked for a railroad, you can update your information through the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB). Call 1-877-772-5772, Monday through Friday, from 9AM to 3:30PM, to speak with a representative. TTY users may call 1-312-751-4701.
I have a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan and am moving out of state
In many cases, you can stay with your current Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan even if you’re moving out of state as long as you stay enrolled in Original Medicare. Medigap benefits can be used to cover costs from any provider that accepts Medicare, regardless of the state.
You can also choose to switch to a different Medigap plan offered in your new location, but keep in mind that if you don’t have guaranteed-issue rights, you may have to pay a higher premium for that coverage or be rejected if you have health problems. Guaranteed-issue rights are special protections you have in certain situations to buy Medigap insurance; in these situations, Medigap insurance companies can’t deny you coverage or charge you higher premiums because of pre-existing conditions*.
If you have a Medicare SELECT plan (a type of Medigap plan that uses provider networks), you may have guaranteed-issue rights to purchase a different Medigap plan if you’re moving to a different state, or if you’re moving within the same state, but out of your Medicare SELECT plan’s service area. In this situation, you’ll have a guaranteed-issue right to:
- Enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan from your current Medigap insurance company that provides the same or less coverage than your current Medicare SELECT plan. If you’ve had your Medicare SELECT plan for less than six months, your plan may require medical underwriting.
- Enroll in any Medigap Plan A, B, C, F, K, or L that is offered in your service area from any Medigap insurance company.
You may also be able to purchase a Medigap plan with guaranteed issue if you were enrolled in Medicare Part C and are moving out of your Medicare Advantage plan’s service area. If you decide to return to Original Medicare, you can enroll with guaranteed issue in any Medigap Plan A, B, C, F, K, or L offered by any insurance company in your state.
I have a Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan and am moving
If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan (Medicare Part C) or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Medicare Part D) and are moving outside your Medicare plan’s service area (either to a new address in your state or a new state altogether), you will need to enroll into a plan that is within your new service area.
In some cases, the insurance company may offer the same plan in your new service area, and you may have the option to enroll in the same plan if the Medicare plan is accepting new members.
You may have a Special Election Period to make changes to your Medicare Part C or Part D coverage if:
- You’re moving out of your Medicare plan’s service area.
- You’re moving to a new location that’s still in your Medicare plan’s service area, but you also have new plan options available in your new area.
In both cases, you can use your Special Election Period to switch to a different Medicare Prescription Drug Plan or Medicare Advantage plan. You can contact your Medicare plan to disenroll. If you notify your Medicare plan before you move, your Special Election Period starts the month before you move and continues for two more months after you move. If you let your Medicare plan know after you’ve moved, your Special Election Period starts the month you tell your plan and continues for another two months.
Please note that if you have Medicare Part C and there aren’t any Medicare Advantage plans available in the new service area that you’re moving to (or you don’t want to enroll in one), you can also choose to return to Original Medicare. As mentioned, if you like, you’ll also have a guaranteed-issue right at this time to purchase any Medigap Plan A, B, C, F, or K that is offered in the state that you’re moving to.
Do you have any questions about your Medicare coverage if you’re moving to a different state? Feel free to use the eHealth plan finder tool on this page to browse Medicare plan options in your new location. Or, if you prefer to get personalized assistance, call eHealth to speak with a licensed insurance agent. We can help you find Medicare plan options that address your Medicare needs.
*Pre-existing conditions are generally health conditions that existed before the start of a policy. They may limit coverage, be excluded from coverage, or even prevent you from being approved for a policy; however, the exact definition and relevant limitations or exclusions of coverage will vary with each plan, so check a specific plan’s official plan documents to understand how that plan handles pre-existing conditions.
This website and its contents are for informational purposes only. Nothing on the website should ever be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always consult with your medical provider regarding diagnosis or treatment for a health condition, including decisions about the correct medication for your condition, as well as prior to undertaking any specific exercise or dietary routine.
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