Q: Will my Medicare coverage follow me if I move out of the state?
Can I keep my Medigap coverage if I move to a new state?
Original Medicare has participating providers across the country. If you have Original Medicare plus a Medigap plan, your Medigap insurer must allow you keep your coverage. What you pay for your Medigap plan may change though, because states differ in their rules for determining Medigap premiums.
You can’t keep your current coverage if you’re moving to Massachusetts, Minnesota, or Wisconsin, where Medigap plans operate differently. If this is the case, you’ll have an opportunity to apply for new coverage. Contact your state insurance department for more information.
What happens to my Medicare Advantage coverage if I move to a new state?
Medicare Advantage and Part D plans have defined service areas. If you are moving out of your plan’s service area, you have two months before and after the move to select new Advantage or Part D coverage. You can do this by calling 1-800-MEDICARE.
Moving can also be an opportunity to switch to Original Medicare if you’re unhappy with Medicare Advantage. While most Advantage enrollees who transition to Original Medicare face barriers to purchasing Medigap outside of their open enrollment period and must go through medical underwriting, Advantage enrollees leaving their plan’s service area have a guaranteed issue right to purchase any Medigap Plan A, B, C, F, K, or L.
People who first qualified for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020 are not eligible to enroll in Medigap Plans C or F, but can use their guarantee issue right to purchase Plan D or G instead. The guaranteed issue right starts two months before and lasts for 63 days after your Medigap coverage ends.
Will moving to a new state affect my Medicare SELECT coverage?
If your Medigap coverage is with a Medicare SELECT plan, it has a localized provider network that you’re required to use, and thus will no longer be suitable if you’re moving out of state. As long as you’ve had the SELECT plan for at least 6-months, you can purchase a regular Medigap plan from your current insurer with the same or fewer benefits than your current SELECT plan. You can also use your guaranteed issue right to purchase any Medigap Plan A, B, C, F, K, or L, regardless of how long ago you enrolled in Medicare SELECT. (As mentioned above, people who qualified for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020 can’t enroll in Plan C or F, but can select Plan D or G instead.)
Many Medicare beneficiaries also qualify for Medicaid or a Medicare Savings Program (MSP) because they have limited incomes and assets. Medicaid or an MSP can pay for Medicare premiums, deductibles, co-pays and coinsurance for qualifying enrollees.
While Medicare is administered by the federal government (and its rules are the same in every state), Medicaid is run at the state level. As a result, you are not allowed to be enrolled in Medicaid in more than one state. This means you have to terminate your Medicaid coverage in your old state and apply in your new state if you move.
Here is more information about Medicaid benefits available to Medicare enrollees in each state.
Josh Schultz has a strong background in Medicare and the Affordable Care Act. He coordinated a Medicare ombudsman contract at the Medicare Rights Center in New York City, and represented clients with extensive Medicare claims and appeals. In addition to advocacy work, Josh worked for the health insurance exchange technology firm hCentive. He also has held consulting roles, including at Sachs Policy Group, where he worked with insurer, hospital and technology clients.