Moving to Another State? Here’s What to Do
How does Medicare work if you move to another state? Some people have vacation homes, and others love to roam the country in mobile homes when they’re retired. It’s wise to learn about your Medicare coverage and be prepared, so you can have peace of mind when you move or travel.
Moving to another state with traditional Medicare coverage
Your Medicare coverage if you move to another state depends on what type of Medicare coverage you have.
If you have traditional Medicare, Part A and Part B, Medicare will generally pay its share of covered services anywhere in the country, as long as you visit doctors, hospitals, and clinics that accept Medicare assignment. (That’s an agreement that the provider will accept the Medicare-approved amount as payment in full.) You may have to pay coinsurance/copayment and/or deductible amounts, same as if you were at home.
If you also have a Medicare Supplement insurance plan, again, it generally covers certain Medicare out-of-pocket costs the same way no matter where you are in the United States, as long as you stick with providers who accept Medicare assignment. However, Medicare SELECT plans (a type of Medicare Supplement plan) may require you to use providers in the plan’s network. If that’s the type of plan you have, contact the plan to ask what you should do if you move to another state.
Moving to another state with other Medicare coverage options
Do you have a stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan? Generally you need to live within the plan’s service area. If you’re moving to another state, you may have to switch plans.
- Call the plan that you’re switching from and tell them you’re going to move.
- You have a certain period of time to switch to a different Medicare prescription drug plan. If you notify your plan before you move, you have a total of four months: the month before you move, the month that you actually move, and two more months after that. If you notify your plan after you move, you have a total of three months: the month you move, and two more months after that.
- If you’re traveling, call the plan to ask what the rules are about getting prescription drugs when you’re away from home.
But let’s say you have a Medicare Advantage plan. This type of plan gives you an alternative way to get your Medicare Part A and Part B benefits – through the plan instead of the government. Medicare Advantage plans require you to live within the plan’s service area. You still need to pay your monthly Medicare Part B premium when you have a Medicare Advantage plan – along with any premium the plan might charge.
- As with stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plans, you generally have a 3-4 month period to change plans when you move out of your Medicare Advantage plan’s service area. If you notify your plan before you move, you have a total of four months: the month before you move, the month that you actually move, and two more months after that. If you notify your plan after you move, you have a total of three months: the month you move, and two more months after that.
- If you spend part of the year in a different home, or you travel frequently, check with your plan to see if you’ll have coverage away from your main home.
Read about Medicare coverage outside the United States.
Moving to another state vs. traveling or having a second home
Now that you know how the different Medicare coverage options work when it comes to moving to another state or traveling, you might want to think about the type of coverage that best fits your lifestyle. If you’re a “snowbird” who spends winters in one state and summers in another, for example, you might want to consider a Medicare Supplement insurance plan to work alongside your Medicare Part A and Part B coverage. This might also be something to consider if you like to take “road trips,” spending weeks or months traveling around the country.
On the other hand, if you have one home or don’t travel extensively, you might want to get your Medicare benefits through a Medicare Advantage plan. eHealth’s licensed insurance agents would be happy to discuss your Medicare plan options with you.
No matter where you live in the U.S., you can browse and compare Medicare plan options right here, right now, with no obligation. Just type your zip code into the box on this page.
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