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Moving to Another State? Learn About Changing your Medicare Plan.

Are you a Medicare beneficiary who’s moving to another state? This may be a good time to update your Medicare coverage to make sure you’re getting your needs met. Here are some tips on what may want to do when you move, and steps for changing coverage after moving states.

Checklist for planning to move to another state

  • Make sure you update the Social Security Administration (and the Railroad Retirement Board, if applicable) with your new address and any other changed contact information. This step will help make sure your benefits continue without interruption.
  • Decide whether you want to change to a different Medicare plan. You can add or change a Medicare Advantage plan when you move to a different state; see details later in this article.
  • Choose a new primary care physician and other doctors that serve your new area; make sure they participate in Medicare, so your doctor visits may be covered. If you’re moving to a new Medicare Advantage plan, the plan can give you information about choosing a doctor (some plans require you to use only doctors in their network).
  • Contact your health care providers or your Medicare plan to tell them you’re moving. In some cases, you might have to switch Medicare plans — for example, if you have a Medicare Advantage plan. If you get your coverage directly from Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, you won’t have to switch plans. However, if you have a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan, you’ll need to switch to a plan that serves the area you’re moving to.

If you have a Medigap plan

  • In most states, you can keep your Medigap plan when you move to another state. Of course, you need to stay enrolled in Original Medicare, Part A and Part B. Contact your current plan and tell them you’re moving out of state to learn more about your options. You may not want to drop your old plan until you’re enrolled in a new one.
  • If you are moving to or from Massachusetts, Minnesota, or Wisconsin, you might not be able to stay in the same Medigap plan in the new state, but you can apply for a different Medigap plan. For details about Medigap plans by state, see Medicare Insurance Plans by State.
  • If you want to change to a different Medigap policy, be aware that you may have to undergo a health exam, and the plan might not accept your application.
  • Once you’re accepted into a new Medigap plan, you have 30 days to try it out (this is your “free look period”). If you decide to stay with the new plan, call your “old” plan and ask for coverage to end. You’ll need to pay premiums on both your plans during this 30-day period.
  • If you have Medicare SELECT (a type of Medigap policy) and are moving out of the policy’s service area, you can enroll in a different Medigap plan (A, B, C, F, K, or L). You won’t have to go through underwriting (a health exam) if you’ve had the Medicare SELECT policy for more than six months. Your opportunity to make this change starts 60 days before your current coverage will end, and continues for 63 days after your current coverage ends.

If you don’t already have a Medigap plan, you can apply for one in the new state, but you might have to go through medical underwriting, and the plan might not have to accept you.

If you have Original Medicare

Under Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), you can see any doctor that accepts Medicare assignment. Before you move, you might want to find a doctor in your new area. Get more information about Medicare-participating doctors.

If you also have a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan, you might have to switch plans when you move; see below.

If you have or want a Medicare Advantage plan – or want to switch to Original Medicare

You can switch from Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) to a Medicare Advantage plan, change Medicare Advantage plans, or return to Original Medicare when you move from one state to another. Note that not every type of Medicare Advantage plan may be available in the area you’re moving to. If you switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another, your Special Election Period for enrolling in the new plan depends on when you tell the plan you’re switching from.

  • If you notify your plan before moving, you can make this change during the time period starting the month before you move and continuing for two months after the month you move.
  • If you notify your plan after moving, you can enroll in the new plan during the same month that you moved, or up to two months after that month.
  • If you haven’t changed Medicare Advantage plans by the time two-month period has ended, you’ll be disenrolled from your old plan and enrolled in Original Medicare, Part A and Part B.

Medicare Advantage Plans are offered by private insurance companies approved by Medicare and provide an alternative way to get your Medicare Part A and Part B coverage. With a Medicare Advantage plan, hospice services are covered directly under Medicare Part A instead of through the plan. Medicare Advantage plans often include extra benefits, such as prescription drug coverage and routine dental services. You continue paying your monthly Medicare Part B premium, along with any premium the plan may charge.

If you have or want a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan

You can add a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan, change plans, or return to Original Medicare when you move from one state to another.

Note that not every stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug Plan may be available in the area you’re moving to. As with Medicare Advantage plans, if you switch from one Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to another, your Special Election Period for enrolling in the new plan depends on when you tell the plan you’re switching from.

  • If you notify your plan before moving, you can make this change during the time period starting the month before you move and continuing for two months after the month you move.
  • If you notify your plan after moving, you can enroll in the new plan during the same month that you moved, or up to two months after that month.
  • If you haven’t changed Medicare Prescription Drug Plans by the time two-month period has ended, your Special Election Period will end and you may have to wait until the Medicare Annual Election Period (October 15-December 7) to enroll in another plan, and you may face a late-enrollment penalty.

Medicare Prescription Drug Plans are available from private, Medicare-approved insurance companies. Costs, availability, and coverage details may vary among plans.

State-based assistance programs

If you’re getting Medicaid or other state-based assistance, such as a State Pharmaceutical Assistance Program (SPAP), contact the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) or the State Insurance Department in the state you’re moving to for guidance. For contact information, see Medicare.gov’s State Insurance Departments page. You can also call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). Representatives are available by phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.

To take a look at the various Medicare plan options available in your new location, just enter your new zip code where indicated on this page.

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