What do I need to do with my Medicare insurance if I move? Changing plans may be necessary.
Updated: Sep 15
When you move to a new home; whether just a few blocks or a couple thousand miles away; you will need to take action to protect your Medicare coverage. Let's take a look at what to consider if you're contemplating putting down roots at a new address.
Your Part A and Part B coverage will not change if you move anywhere in the United States. You will have the same premiums, co-payments and coverage limits regardless of where you live. However, you will need to notify Social Security of your move so that your address can be updated, including for your Medicare account. Additionally, you will want to be sure that the doctors and hospitals you plan to visit in your new area are providers that accept Medicare. One note here; Medicare is only valid in the United States and its territories. So if you move out of the country, you will lose your coverage. It can be reinstated, but you will want to do so within two months of moving back.
Medicare Supplement Plans
If you have purchased a Medicare supplement insurance policy to address coverage gaps with Original Medicare, you will likely be able to keep it when you move, so long as your policy is portable and your carrier offers plans at your new location. Even if you can take your plan with you, you will most likely have to pay a new premium which may be higher or lower than your original premium. Notify your supplement policy carrier as soon as you know where you'll be living and they can advise you regarding your options.
One important consideration: In some situations, you may be entitled to a Medicare supplement policy with "Guaranteed Issue" rights because of your move. Guaranteed Issue entitles you to purchase a Medicare supplement policy without medical underwriting, in this instance due to your change of address. This means that if you've never had a supplement policy and you want to get one, a move triggers an opportunity for you to do so without having to prove your health status.
Medicare Advantage Plans/Part D Prescription Drug Plans
In Minnesota, Medicare Advantage plans (and stand alone Part D prescription drug plans) are available based on the county where you live. If you move out of your current county, your plan may still be available, or it may not.
If your plan is still available, you may choose to keep it. If you decide to keep your current plan, you'll still need to notify your insurance carrier of your address change.
If your plan is not available, you'll need to make a change. Your move triggers a Special Election Period (SEP) that enables you to make plans changes outside of the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP.) The SEP for a change of address begins the month before you move, and continues throughout the month of your move plus the two following months.
If your plan is still available, but your new county also offers plan choices that were not previously available to you at your old address, you may choose to keep your plan but you are also entitled to an SEP, and will have the option to make a change if you like.
Regardless, you might find it helpful to contact an independent, licensed, insurance agent who specializes in Medicare to help you research your options and ensure that your enrollments are happening inside the appropriate periods.
Moving In/Out of Institutional Care
If your change of address is due to a move into or out of a nursing home or long term care facility, your move will trigger a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) whereby you may join, drop or switch a Medicare Advantage or Part D plan. The opportunity to make any enrollment changes will last for as long as you live in the institution, or for two full months after leaving. If you need help navigating your care options as you move in or out of institutional care, a licensed agent specializing in Medicare can help.
Regardless of where you are moving or what type of Medicare coverage you have you might find it beneficial to talk to a licensed, independent insurance agent who specializes in Medicare. We can help you take advantage of certain opportunities your move may afford you in terms of improving your coverage, as well as ensuring you are making the changes you need to make and doing so during the enrollment guidelines set forth by Medicare. Best of all, our services are offered at no cost to you. Reach out today!