Can you still use your Medicare if you are moving to another state? The answer is yes, if your Medicare plan covers it. In this article, we will give you scenarios on how to transfer your Original Medicare, Medicare Supplement (Medigap), Medicare Advantage Plan, and Medicare Drug Plan (Part D) when moving to a different state.
Moving Original Medicare to Another State
There are some cases when your Medicare coverage can be used in a new state without having to do anything. This is the usual case with Medicare Part A and B or Original Medicare.
Original Medicare is not affiliated with provider networks. You are free to use your Medicare in any hospital or with any doctor that accepts Medicare. To find physicians that accept Medicare, you can check Medicare.gov’s compare tool.
If a physician accepts Medicare, you will only be charged with the Medicare-approved amount for your consultation or treatment. Take note that you will still be charged with copayments and deductibles.
If your preferred physician does not accept Medicare assignment, you may be charged with higher out-of-pocket payments.
Before moving out of state, update your mailing address under Medicare in your Social Security account. You can do this online through MySocial Security’s website.
Moving Medicare Supplement (Medigap) to Another State
Medicare Supplement or “Medigap” has the same policy. As long as you have Original Medicare (Part A and B), you should have no problem with your Medigap plan when you are moving out of state except for Massachusetts, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. If you are moving it is a good idea to see if the premiums are lower to the new area you are moving to. You might be able to get the same plan you have now for cheaper.
Massachusetts, Wisconsin, and Minnesota have different Medicare Supplement plans. The plans vary since insurance companies have the freedom to choose which Medigap plans they are going to sell.
If you are going to move into one of those states, you may have to buy another Medigap plan. However, once you buy a new one, you cannot get your existing Medicare Supplement coverage back.
Also, remember that there is a six-month enrollment period after you become 65 years old for Medigap. Once you miss this period, you will also miss out on the “guaranteed issue” where insurance companies must approve your coverage regardless of current health problems and pre-existing conditions. Pre-existing conditions are health conditions that exist before the policy start date.
Missing the six months may require you to have your medical history evaluated by the insurance company. They may also charge you higher premiums.
In case your new state is out of coverage for Medigap, there is an option to use Medicare SELECT, a type of Medigap plan that provides a selection on provider networks.
If you have an existing Medicare SELECT plan and your new state is out of the coverage area, you will have guaranteed issue rights to buy Medicare Supplement Plan A, B, C, F, K, or L 60 days before your current coverage ends but not later than 63 days. Take note that if you only had your Medicare SELECT plan for less than six months, you will also have to provide your medical history and other requirements for evaluation.
To know more about Medigap Plans, click here.
Moving Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D) to Another State
The case is different for Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug plans (Part C and D). If you have Medicare Advantage, you’ll need to buy a new plan if you are moving to a new county. This rule applies whether you are moving into the same state or a different state.
As for Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D), you will only have to purchase a new plan if you are moving to another state.
Your Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug plans don’t have to be different from your existing coverage as long as your new area has the same plan.
To make changes to your Medicare Part C or D, you can have a Special Election Period as long as you fall under these categories:
- Changes in residency out of your Medicare plan’s service area
- Losing coverage
- New plan options in your new area
- Contract changes with Medicare
Before you move, contact your Medicare plan for them to schedule your Special Election Period. Your Special Election Period starts a month before you move until two more months after moving. If you inform them after you have moved, your Special Election Period starts on the day you notified them until another two months.
In the case that your new state does not have any available Medicare Advantage plans, you will have to return to Original Medicare. You will also be provided with guaranteed-issue rights to purchase Medicare Supplement Plan A, B, C, F, K, or L as long as they are available in the area you are moving to.
To know more about Medicare Advantage Plan, click here.
Transferring your Medicare Plan can be easy if your plan is Original Medicare. All you have to do is change your address and update your My Social Security account. The same goes for Medicare Supplement Plan (Medigap) except for some states such as Massachusetts, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.
In those three states, the Medigap coverage may be different from what is included in your existing Medigap plan. If your new state is out of coverage for your existing plan, you may have to buy a new plan where you run the risk of losing your coverage as a whole if not granted with guaranteed issue rights.
The case is also different for Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans (Part C and D). For Part C, you will need to buy a new plan if you are moving to a new county. As for Part D, you will need to purchase a new plan if you are moving to a new state.
A Special Election Period will be scheduled for you to make changes in your new coverage of Part C and/or D. In the case that you would not like to purchase a new Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, you can use Original Medicare and Medicare Supplement Plans instead.