Changes in Medicare When Moving to Another State
This article was updated on: 10/21/2018
Are you moving to another state, or did you move recently? It’s probably a busy time for you, but you may need to complete a few tasks to make sure your Medicare and Social Security benefits continue smoothly. This article shows you how to proceed when you move to another state.
What type of Medicare coverage do you have?
If you reside within the United States (including the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands), you may maintain your Original Medicare, Part A and Part B coverage. Of course, you’ll want to notify your health-care providers about your move to another state, and arrange for transfer of your medical records.
You might also have a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan, and/or a Medicare Supplement policy, working alongside your Original Medicare benefits. See below for information about how address changes may affect these plans.
Do you have a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan? Here’s how to handle your move to another state.
If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan, a change in residence, such as moving to another state, could qualify you for a Special Election Period (SEP). During your SEP, you’re allowed to enroll into a new plan that is offered in your new service area.
If you decide to permanently move somewhere that’s not covered by your current Medicare plan (that is, outside the plan’s service area), you need to tell your plan immediately. If you notify the plan before you move, your SEP timeframe is four months long. It begins one month before the month you move and lasts for three more months after that. If you notify your plan after you move, you can switch plans the month you provided notice of the move and up to two months after that.
You can switch to a new Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan during this period of moving to a different service area. If you prefer, you can return to Original Medicare.
If you have a Medicare Advantage plan
If your current Medicare Advantage plan is not offered in your new service area, your Medicare Advantage plan is required by Medicare to disenroll you. If you don’t enroll in a new Medicare Advantage plan during your SEP, you’ll return to Original Medicare (Part A and Part B). If you’d like to sign up for a new Medicare Advantage plan after you moved and your relocation-based SEP is over, you generally have to wait for the Annual Election Period (October 15 – December 7).
If you have a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan
If you don’t enroll in a new Medicare Prescription Drug Plan during your SEP, you might find yourself without Medicare prescription drug coverage, and you could face a Medicare Part D late-enrollment penalty if you decide to pick up this coverage later on. You may be able to enroll in a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan, or to get your Medicare coverage through a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan — but outside of an SEP, you generally have to wait for the Annual Election Period (October 15 – December 7).
What if you move to an address that’s still within your plan’s service area, but where new Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan options are available to you? This will qualify you for a Special Election Period. You may use this SEP to enroll into the new plan that is offered in your new service area.
Do you have a Medicare Supplement plan? Here’s how to handle your move to another state.
If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Supplement plan (also known as Medigap) and move to another state, you may be able to keep the same policy. There are 10 standardized Medigap plans available in 47 states (Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin have their own standardized plans). Because the plans are standardized in most states, you may be able to remain with the same plan. But be aware that you might have to pay more for the Medigap plan in your new state, and you might have to answer some questions about your health history..
Most Medicare Supplement plans let you see any doctor who accepts Medicare assignment, but one type of Medigap plan – called Medicare SELECT – may require you to use providers within its network. If you have a Medicare SELECT policy and you move out of the plan’s service area:
- You can sign up for a standardized Medigap policy from your current Medigap policy insurance company that includes the same, or fewer, benefits as your current Medicare SELECT policy.
- Generally, you can sign up to buy any Medigap Plan A, B, C, F, K, or L that’s available in the area where you live.
- You won’t have to undergo medical underwriting if you’ve had your Medicare SELECT policy for more than six months. Otherwise, the insurance company may review your health history and may charge you more (or choose not to sell you a policy) if you have a health condition.
Have you notified Social Security about your address change?
Make sure you notify Social Security of your change of address. The Social Security Administration handles Medicare enrollment. If you receive Social Security benefits, you can change your address online by accessing My Social Security and answering a few security questions prior to making the change if you have set up a My Social Security account.
Alternatively, you can call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY users 1-800-325-0778) and speak to one of their representatives from Monday through Friday, from 7AM to 7PM. You can also visit the Social Security office nearest you and fill out a change of address form.
If you receive your retirement or disability benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), notify the agency either through its website or by calling 1-877-772-5772 (TTY users call 1-312-751-4701) Monday through Friday, 9AM to 3:30PM, to speak to an RRB representative.
Do you have questions about Medicare when moving to another state? Learn more about me by clicking the “View profile” link below. There are also links that let you schedule a phone appointment or have me email you more information. Want to compare plans on your own? Use the Find Plans button on this page.