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What happens to my Medicare coverage if I move to another state?

En español | You can move anywhere within the United States without losing original Medicare coverage, as long as your new health care facility, doctor or other provider accepts Medicare. But if you have Part D prescription coverage, a Medicare Advantage plan or Medigap supplemental insurance from a private company, the rules are different.

Make yourself a note to update your mailing address with Medicare once you’ve moved, so bills, correspondence, your Medicare Summary Notice and other statements go to the right address. To do this, you’ll need to contact the Social Security Administration even if you haven’t started to receive Social Security benefits because Social Security handles all enrollment issues for Medicare.  

You can update your information in your My Social Security account, call 800-772-1213 or contact a Social Security office. If you get Railroad Retirement Board benefits, call 877-772-5772. Take this time to update other personal information, such as your phone number or email address, in your online Medicare account.

What happens to Part D, Medicare Advantage in a move?  

Timing is important. If you move out of a Part D or Medicare Advantage plan’s service area, you’ll have to switch plans or face losing coverage. You only have a small window of time.  

If you move without telling your Part D or Medicare Advantage plan, you may not find in-network providers and pharmacies in your new area. The plan could learn about your relocation through the post office or Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. If this happens, a plan can remove you from its rolls, so you should notify your plan of any changes in case you have to find new coverage.

Part D service areas typically are statewide or can extend to parts of neighboring states. Medicare Advantage plans’ service areas vary by county. Use the Medicare Plan Finder to search for Part D and Medicare Advantage plans in your new area by zip code.  

For both Part D and Medicare Advantage, moving out of a plan’s service area qualifies you for a special enrollment period (SEP) of at least two months to get a new plan. You may also qualify if you move within your plan’s service area and it offers options different from what you had. The timing depends on when you notify the plan.  

  • Before you move, your SEP begins the month before you move and ends two months after you move.
  • After you move, your SEP begins during the month you notify the plan and lasts for two more months. 
  • If you move out of your plan’s service area and don’t notify the plan, it can drop you. You may get a two-month SEP depending on how much time has passed since you relocated.  

You can also switch Part D or Medicare Advantage plans during open enrollment, which runs each year from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 for coverage starting Jan. 1.

What happens to my Medigap when I move?

You usually don’t have to switch Medigap plans if you move, but you should notify the insurer of your new address. Some insurers let you keep the rate based on the state where you originally applied for Medigap. Others may change your premiums to coincide with their coverage in a different zip code.

Medigap consumer protections vary from state to state, so you may have additional options depending on where you move. Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York allow you to buy a Medigap policy anytime regardless of your health.

However, insurers in most states can reject you or charge more because of preexisting conditions unless you qualify for guaranteed issue rights to buy certain Medigap policies. Reasons to qualify could include your insurer leaving the business or you moving out of a Medicare Advantage plan’s service area and deciding to switch to original Medicare.

If you already have a Medigap policy, insurers in most states aren’t required to offer you a new one just because you move. If you choose to apply for a new policy, you’ll probably have to answer health questions.

Keep in mind

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan and move to a new area with no Medicare Advantage option that you like, you can get health coverage from original Medicare.

You’ll have up to two months to get a Part D prescription plan, and you’ll qualify for a Medigap guaranteed issue period that lasts up to 63 days after your Medicare Advantage coverage ends. During this time, you can purchase most Medigap plans regardless of your existing health problems.

Published April 12, 2023



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