How Your Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Insurance Plan Works If You’re Moving Out of State
If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) insurance plan and moving out of state, you may be wondering if you need to take action to keep your current coverage.
Medicare Supplement insurance plans help with certain out-of-pocket costs that Original Medicare doesn’t cover, and most states offer the same 10 standardized plans (Massachusetts, Wisconsin, and Minnesota have different plans available). However, because Medicare Supplement insurance plans can be used with any provider that accepts Original Medicare, you’ll be able to use the benefits even if you move, whether you’re moving within your state or moving out of state.
In general, as long as you’re moving states but staying within the country, you should be able to keep your current Medicare Supplement insurance coverage without having to drop your coverage or enroll in a new plan, if that particular plan is available in your new zip code. This is true whether you are changing addresses within your state or moving out of state. You’ll need to make sure you stay enrolled in Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, to keep your Medicare Supplement insurance plan.
However, if you’re moving to or from Massachusetts, Wisconsin, or Minnesota, which have differently standardized plans, you may have to switch plans. Contact the state insurance department in the state you’re moving to for information.
It’s a good idea to contact your Medicare Supplement insurance company to let them know you’re changing addresses, so that they have your current address on file for their records and billing purposes.
How to change Medicare Supplement insurance plans if you’re moving out of state
While you generally don’t have to change your Medicare Supplement insurance coverage when you move, you may decide you want to. Also, in some cases it may be necessary. Although most states offer the same 10 Medicare Supplement insurance plans, the specific plans available in your location may vary, since insurance companies aren’t required to sell every plan. If you’re moving to a different state, you may have other Medicare Supplement insurance plans available in your new location that weren’t offered previously.
Keep in mind that if you’re moving to Wisconsin, Massachusetts, or Minnesota, these states offer different standardized plans than the rest of the country, and you may be interested in enrolling in one of their state-specific plans. However, it’s important to note that once you drop your Medicare Supplement insurance plan, you may not be able to get it back.
Also, keep in mind that, except in specific situations, it may be difficult to change Medicare Supplement insurance plans once your Medigap Open Enrollment Period has ended. This is the six-month period that starts automatically once you’re 65 or older and enrolled in Part B. This period is important because it’s one of the few times you can enroll in any Medicare Supplement insurance plan offered in your location with “guaranteed issue”; this means that the insurance company can’t deny you coverage if you health problems or charge you more for your plan because of pre-existing conditions*. Once this period is over, it’s usually harder to switch plans, and insurance companies may require medical underwriting or charge higher premiums if you have medical issues.
When you need to change your Medicare Supplement insurance plan
In some situations, you may not be able to keep your current coverage if you’re moving. Medicare SELECT plans are a type of Medicare Supplement insurance plan that requires you to use providers in the plan’s network to be covered. If you have a Medicare SELECT plan and move out of the plan’s service area, you have a guaranteed-issue right to buy any Medicare Supplement insurance Plan A, B, C, F, K, or L that is offered by an insurance company in your new state.
If this applies to you, you’ll need to contact your Medicare SELECT insurance company to drop your current plan and enroll in a different Medigap plan. You can do so as early as 60 days before your coverage ends, or no later than 63 days after your coverage ends. Make sure to contact your Medicare SELECT company before you move to avoid a lapse in coverage.
If you have any questions about how moving may affect your current Medicare Supplement insurance coverage, an eHealth licensed insurance agent can help you figure out your options. Contact eHealth today at the phone number listed below to learn more.
*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.
**Medicare Supplement Plans C and F won’t be sold to beneficiaries who are new to Medicare as of January 1, 2020. You won’t be able to buy either plan if you qualify for Medicare on that date or later. You can keep Plan C or Plan F if you already have one. Also, if you qualify for Medicare before January 1, 2020, you can still apply for one of these plans.
A high-deductible version of Medicare Supplement Plan G might be available in 2020.
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