Moving can be hectic, especially if you are relocating from one state to another. It is quite easy for the small details to get lost in the process and be forgotten. Don’t let your Medicare coverage be among the forgotten details.
Depending on the type of Medicare coverage you have chosen and whether you are moving from one state to another or just a few miles across the town, there are a few things you need to do to ensure you are always covered.
For instance, if you are moving a few miles across the town, something as simple as notifying the Social Security Administration of your address change can save you a big time. However, if you are relocating to a new state, you may need to do other complicated things to continue enjoying Medicare benefits.
This post shall explain how moving can affect your Medicare coverage and what you need to do to prepare for it.
How Does Medicare Coverage Work When You Move to a Different State?
Medicare is a federal–approved and sponsored healthcare program that funds the healthcare needs for individuals aged 65 and above or those who have certain disabilities or health conditions.
Since it is a federal program, Medicare offers coverage in every part of the country. It doesn’t matter the state you live in; your Medicare coverage will always stay the same.
Although your Medicare plan won’t change or stop covering you when you move, you may be required to find new providers who participate in the program in your new location. Typically, healthcare facilities and doctors must accept the program’s payment terms and fulfill certain conditions to be approved.
Regardless of where you live, participating healthcare providers and doctors will only be required to submit your medical bill to Medicare for all services offered, and they are paid.
Will Moving Change Your Original Medicare Coverage?
If you were enrolled in Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and B), you don’t need to make any changes to your coverage when moving- whether to a new address within the same state or a new state.
Furthermore, Original Medicare doesn’t have provider networks. It means that you can use any healthcare facility or doctor throughout the country that accepts Medicare. If you want to find a doctor in your new area who accepts Medicare, consider using Medicare’s physician comparison tool.
You can even filter your results to view doctors who only accept Medicare assignment. When a healthcare facility or physician accepts Medicare assignment, it means that you won’t be charged anything more than the Medicare-approved amount for a medical service.
However, you may still be responsible for any deductibles and co-payments that apply. If you choose to use a doctor or healthcare facility that doesn’t accept Medicare assignment, your out-of-pocket costs may be slightly higher.
If you are relocating to a new state, make sure you call the Social Security Administration to update your Medicare file’s mailing address. You can do it online or call the Social Security telephone number at 1-877-772-5772.
What Happens to Medicare Advantage and Part D Plan When You Move?
All Medicare Advantage and Part D plans usually have geographic boundaries. Generally, the impact on your Medicare Advantage and Part D plan will depend on where you are moving to.
If you are moving to a new town within the same state, your coverage may not be affected so much since you will still be within the same coverage area. However, if you are moving to a new state, you may be forced to switch to a Medicare Advantage or Part D plan that provides coverage in your new area.
You can also take the following steps to ensure your Medicare Advantage, and Part D coverage isn’t disrupted when you move;
- Contact your current plan provider before you move.
- Ask if they offer Medicare Advantage, and Part D plans in the state or area you are moving to.
- Ask about any changes you need to make to your current plan after you move. Will you be required to pay an out-of-network fee? Will your monthly premium cost more? How will you find a pharmacy or doctor in your new area?
- Find out if it is best to switch to a new plan before or after you move.
- If you must switch to a new plan, start researching options in your new area as early as possible.
What Happens to Your Medigap When You Move?
Medicare supplement plans, commonly referred to as Medigap, are optional plans you may choose to add to your Original Medicare to help cover your out-of-pocket costs.
If you have a Medigap policy and move out of state, you can always keep your policy no matter where you live as long as you remain on the Original Medicare plan and don’t switch to Medicare Advantage.
If you decide to change your Medigap policy after relocating to a new state, you may be forced to pay more for the new policy. The cost differences depend on a wide range of factors, including your eligibility for the new policy, the plan options you choose, and the average premium rates in your new area.
When Can You Make Changes to Your Medicare Coverage?
Typically, you can make changes to your Medicare coverage during the enrollment periods. Different enrollment periods apply for Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage, and Medigap.
The Initial Enrollment Period for Medicare Parts A and B runs for seven months- the three months prior your 65th birthday, the month of your birthday, and the next three months after your 65th birthday.
After that, there is the Open Enrollment Period every year that usually starts on October 15 and ends on December 7. During the Open Enrollment Period, you can make changes to your Medicare coverage or switch plans.
If you miss these periods, you can still be eligible to make changes to your plan under special circumstances commonly referred to as the Special Enrollment Period. Moving is one of these circumstances. Therefore, it is always good to find out if your situation warrants a Special Enrollment Period.
The Key Takeaway
Changing your area of residence can impact your Medicare coverage, especially Medicare Advantage and Part D plans.
Therefore, if you are planning to move, it is always a good idea to sort out your Medicare coverage as early as possible. Take time to learn about the options in your new location and make changes to your existing plan accordingly.
At Insurance Master, our primary mission is to provide you with simple information and precise answers about your Medicare insurance and the different choices you have got.
Don’t hesitate to contact us if you feel you need professional help with your Medicare coverage. One of our licensed Medicare agents will gladly help you.