- Original Medicare will follow you anywhere in the U.S.
- Medicare Supplement Plans will also follow you in the U.S.
- Part D plans are based on a state-wide basis, if you move outside the state you will need to change your Part D plan.
- Medicare Advantage plans are based on the plan’s service area. If you move it is important to review your plan options.
- If you have an Advantage Plan or a Part D and do nothing when you move you will be reverted back to Original Medicare.
What Type of Plan Do You Have?
Many people are used to experiencing difficulties with their health insurance when they move somewhere new. Usually, this is due to doctors being out of network, or benefits being unavailable in a specific location. Here, we’ll examine what can happen if you move while receiving Medicare benefits. There are a few different types of plans you can have in addition to Original Medicare, and we will go through all of your options step by step.
Read On: How To Find A Doctor Who Accepts Medicare plans
Moving When You Have Original Medicare
Original Medicare refers to Part A and Part B of Medicare. These parts cover hospital care and outpatient care, respectively. If you only have Original Medicare and are moving somewhere across the country, you will experience no lapse in benefits. Original Medicare benefits are standard across the country. Basically, if you have Original Medicare, you’ve got nothing to worry about!
What About Medicare Supplement Plans?
Medicare supplement plans are private insurance plans that are used to supplement expenses that Medicare doesn’t usually cover. For example, many people need to pay a Part B deductible. Some supplement plans will cover this expense for you if you are paying your monthly premiums, while others will cover other fees. These plans are not offered by the government like Original Medicare but must be purchased from private insurance companies.
Read On: Medicare Supplement Plans Complete Guide
Although most private insurance companies have some kind of provider network, Medicare supplement plans are unique in this regard. This is for two principal reasons. First, Medicare supplement plans are standardized throughout the country, meaning that what each plan covers will be the same in every state where the plan is offered. Second, Medicare supplement plans mainly pay expenses that relate to Medicare itself, rather than directly calculated medical payments. This means that the fees they pay don’t depend on which network your provider is in. Supplement plans will follow you wherever you go.
Agent TipMedicare Supplement Plan premiums vary between locations. If you are moving there might be lower rates available. Contact us for a free rate comparison to find out if you are eligible for savings.
Do Medicare Advantage Plan Benefits Follow You When You Move?
Medicare Advantage Plans are alternative ways to receive your Medicare benefits through a private insurance company. These plans often come with additional perks, like fitness plans, dental care, and hearing aids. Because these plans are offered by private insurance companies and offer traditional medical coverage, they are less flexible if you are moving.
Medicare Advantage plans, like any private insurance plan, will be either an HMO or a PPO. PPO plans are usually more flexible than HMO plans with regards to who you can see for covered medical care. However, both types of plans still have a physician network that limits where you can go for covered medical care.
Some plans may have a state-wide network, and some may be regional. If the plan you are under has a regional network, and part of the region is in the state you are moving to, then you will still be covered. However, if you are moving out of the network coverage region, then you will not be able to find any in-network doctors in your new location. In this case, you will effectively no longer be covered by your plan, and you will have to switch to a new plan to retain full coverage.
Part D Plans: Regulated State-Wide
Medicare Part D refers to prescription drug coverage. A Medicare Part D plan is a private insurance plan. Still, it has some federal restrictions to make sure that it fits properly into your medicare coverage. Because it is offered by a private company, there are similar rules with regards to provider networks if you move to a new state.
Unlike Medicare Advantage, Part D plans are strictly state-based. This means that if you are moving to a new state, you must get a new Part D plan to remain covered. This is because prescription drug fees and regulations are mandated at the state level.
When Can I Change My Plan?
There are a few different scenarios you can find yourself in when moving. For example, special conditions apply if you are moving from another country, or if you have moved and not updated your Medicare plan in the specified time. We will go through some of these scenarios in detail, starting with the most common.
Check out our Medicare FAQ page for commonly asked Medicare questions!
If You Know You’re Moving in Advance
The most common situation for Medicare beneficiaries is moving from one part of the United States to another, and knowing about the move well in advance. If you know that you are going to move, then you can notify Medicare of this up to one month before your move. This will give you a maximum of three months to change your plans with no penalties.
When you notify Medicare of your move, you will trigger something called a Special Enrollment Period. This is a period that can last from one month before your move to two months after your move. During this time, you can make changes to your plan without any penalty. If you only notify Medicare after you move, your Special Enrollment Period will still only last until two months after your move.
If you do nothing then you will be reverted back to Original Medicare. You will lose your Medicare Advantage coverage or your Part D plan. You won’t be able to sign up again until the Annual Enrollment Period which starts on October 15th.
- If you tell your plan before you move, your opportunity to change plans begins the month before the month you move and continues for 2 months after you move.
- If you tell your plan after you move, your chance to change plans begins the month you notify your plan, plus 2 more months.
Agent TipStart shopping for a new plan before you move. This way your new plan can start the first of the month once you are in the new location, without any lapse in coverage. Call us at 800-208-4974 to review plan options.
What if I’m Moving Internationally?
If you are moving into the United States from another country, then your Special Enrollment Period works a bit differently. You will be able to change your plan without penalty 2 full months after the month you move back to the U.S.
Call us at 800-208-4974 to review plan options before you start your move.
How Can I Find A New Plan?
For many, moving means giving up the benefits from your current Medicare Advantage and Part D plans. Although you have two months to change these plans after you move, it is best to change them as close to your move as possible. This way, you will always be covered. To stay covered, it’s important to look for plans in your new location.
Make sure to look for plans that have the benefits that you use and enjoy from your current plan. It’s also good to be open to new plan types that may not be available in your local area. There is some variety to Medicare Advantage, so it may be that there are even better plans in your new location. If you need help finding a plan, feel free to call us to examine your options.
Where to go next?
Medicare requirements can seem complicated if you are going to be moving. However, once you know which situation you are in, all you need to do is make sure you know what kind of coverage you have, so you can understand what your options are if you move.
It is important to plan ahead for changes in your insurance before you move. If you have any questions about your situation, or just want more information about your options, feel free to contact us at 800-208-4974. We are independent of any insurance company, so we have the freedom to focus solely on your needs.
Alex Wender is the founder and CEO of Bluewave Insurance. He has been blogging about Medicare-related topics since 2010. Since then, he and his agency have helped thousands of people across the country choose the right Medicare to fit their needs.