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Medicare Living in Two States

Many individuals on Medicare have dual residency. Sometimes known as snowbirds, those with dual residency typically live in one state during the spring/summer months and another during the fall/winter months.

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If this sounds like you and you are eligible for Medicare, you likely have questions. Luckily, we have the information you need about how having Medicare while living in two states affects your coverage.

Can You Have Medicare in Two States?

You can have Medicare while living in two states, but you must choose one location as your primary residence. Some Medicare plans will benefit you more than others when you have multiple homes.

Some retired people choose to reside in two different locations. An example is living in Utah for the warmer half of the year and staying in Florida for the colder half. People with this lifestyle are often called snowbirds.

While you can have Medicare while living in two states, you should ensure your plan covers you in more than one location. The last thing you want to worry about when enjoying the snowbird lifestyle is whether your health coverage is comprehensive.

Can I See a Doctor in Another State with Medicare?

You must enroll in Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) only in the state in which you primarily reside. Your primary residence is where you live most of the time. This will be the state where you hold your driver’s license, register to vote, and file taxes.

Because Medicare is a federal program, your coverage will work if you visit practitioners who accept Medicare and, if your plan requires, are in your network. Unfortunately, if your plan includes a network, it may be challenging to find a provider in both areas that accept your plan.

Do Any Medicare Advantage Plans Cover Multiple States?

Most Medicare Advantage plans involve networks. If you go outside your network, you will likely pay a higher cost or the total cost of services. As private insurance companies offer Medicare Advantage plans, it is best to determine whether the policy you are considering provides the coverage you need in all your locations.

Unlike Original Medicare or Medicare Supplement plans, Medicare Advantage plans do not work everywhere. This is why many Medicare enrollees living in two states choose a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan. Medigap pairs with your Original Medicare, ensuring you receive coverage no matter where you are within the U.S.

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Snowbird Medicare Coverage

If you consider yourself a snowbird, you must live in multiple states. Typically, snowbirds live in a colder state during the summer months and a warmer state during the winter months.

If you are a snowbird with Medicare coverage, you should ensure Medicare has your permanent address on file. Your permanent address should match your driver’s license and tax returns. Often, snowbird Medicare coverage includes a Medicare Supplement plan to ensure you receive coverage without hassle in any state you may live in throughout the year.

It is difficult to have a Medicare Advantage plan while living in two states because you will need to ensure you have doctors within your network in both locations.

Does Medicare Part D Cover Me in Two States?

Medicare Part D prescription drug plans are available through private insurance companies. This coverage works alongside your Original Medicare.

If you choose a Medicare Advantage plan, it will likely include prescription drug benefits. Before enrolling, it is crucial to ensure that the policy you select covers both of your areas of residence.

A good choice is a plan with a nationwide pharmacy network, so your meds will have coverage no matter where you are in the United States.

However, if using a Medicare Advantage plan with prescription drug coverage or a Medicare Part D plan outside of the plan’s service area, you may be subject to higher copayments.

Does Medigap Work in Two States?

If you visit doctors accepting Original Medicare, Part A and Part B will cover most of the costs. Medigap plans are standardized by the federal government, meaning that each plan’s benefits are equal for all enrollees.

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Medigap benefits are not affected by the carrier and state offering a policy. So, you can use your Medicare Supplement plan wherever you are in the U.S.

Unlike Medicare Advantage plans, it does not matter which state your doctor or facility is in if they accept Medicare assignment when you have a Medigap plan. When you travel outside the United States, your Medigap plan may even cover some foreign travel emergency benefits.

Can I Keep My Medicare Supplement if I Move to Another State?

When moving to another state, you should be able to keep your Medigap plan. However, you must change your address with the carrier when you move.

For example, suppose your permanent residence changes from Mississippi to South Dakota, and you still pay premiums for the plan you bought in Mississippi. You may save money when you begin paying South Dakota premiums.

FAQs

Does living in the U.S. and another country count as dual residency for Medicare?
Living outside the U.S. part-time does not count as dual residency for Medicare. You must determine if keeping your coverage or buying a Medicare Supplement will be worth it for you. Make sure to obtain information about coverage in the other country where you reside.
Will Medicare pay for out-of-state care?
Your Original Medicare coverage travels with you throughout the United States. However, Medicare Advantage plans require patients to stay in their network – which your carrier can restrict to your state or even your county. Thus, those with Medicare Advantage plans may need to pay more if they see a doctor outside of their plan’s service area.
Does Medicare cost the same in every state?
Your Medicare Part A is premium-free when you pay taxes for enough quarters. The Medicare Part B premium is based on income. Yet, the price of Medigap plans varies, with your location being an influencing factor.

How to Get Medicare Living in Two States

When you live an active lifestyle, you want to know that you can rely on your healthcare coverage. We can help determine the best combination of coverage for you, regardless of where you live. Working with a licensed agent is one of the best ways to get started.

Call the number above to connect to an agent for a free consultation. Another option for a free premium rate quote is to fill out our online rate form. We will compare plans in your area and pair you with the best coverage.

Sources

MedicareFAQ is dedicated to providing you with authentic and trustworthy Medicare information. We have strict sourcing guidelines and work diligently to serve our readers with accurate and up-to-date content.

David Haass

David Haass

David Haass is the Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder of Elite Insurance Partners and MedicareFAQ.com. He is a member and regular contributor to Forbes Finance Council and stay up-to-date with the latest Medicare trends and changes. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Management from the University of Florida.

23 thoughts on "Medicare Living in Two States"

  1. We will be living in 2 states 6 months in Connecticut and 6 months in Florida as Snowbirds are we able to get any and all are medication while living in both states yes or no we are retired

    1. Hi Michael,

      You will have to make sure a pharmacy in both areas accepts the Rx plan you are enrolled in. To find this information, you will need to contact your carrier for a list of accepted pharmacies.

  2. Under the Snowbird Medicare, do you need to enroll in 2 medicare advantage plans? If you live in California and in Texas?

    1. No, you are not eligible to enroll in two Medicare Advantage plans. You would need to enroll in ONE plan that will cover you in both areas. Because of this, many snowbirds will enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan to ensure they are covered no matter where they are.

  3. We are snowbirds between Missouri and Florida, Florida being our legal residence. How do I notify Medicare? can I go on line? How do I find a drug plan in both states? Can I switch the drug plan immediately? Or do I have to wait for an enrollment time? Can I pay cash for drugs if my former drug insurance company (Welcare) says they don’t have coverage in Florida?

    1. Hi Mark, if Florida is your legal residence, you can alert Medicare by phone, by mail, or online. When reviewing a drug plan, you’ll want to be sure that there is a pharmacy in both areas that accepts the plan. If you cannot find a pharmacy in the area that takes your plan, you can certainly pay out of pocket without insurance if you would like.

  4. I am disabled and on Medicade at the moment.(SSI) in WA state. I will be turning 65 in a couple of months. Plan on spending my time between Florida and WA. what state should I apply for my. Medicare in?

    1. Eric, you will need to apply for Medicare in your state of legal residency. This is typically the state you spend the majority of the year.

  5. I liked your article as I am a snowbird not but under 65. When I do turn 65, I will still have 2 homes, one in NY and one in FL. I am indifferent as to which state to make my primary residence. My income is low but my assets are above the Medicaid limit in NY, however NY has no asset test so I would get Medicare part B w/o paying premiums(MSP). I have no clue about other costs of Medicare and I will not have a supplement. Which state will cost me less overall as a primary resident? If I am a NY primary resident enrolled in an MSP, can I still get medical care in Florida? Thanks.

    1. Sheila, thank you for the compliment! We are happy to help! When you turn 65 and are enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B, you will want to look into Medicare Supplement plans as they will allow care in both New York and Florida with no network to follow. As for which state to make your primary residence, often your primary residence is where you spend the majority of the year. If making this decision based on Medicare premium costs, I recommend comparing the two states and deciding which works best for you.

  6. My husband has cancer. We reside 7 months in Florida and 5 months in WI. He is so sick and requiring a stem cell transplant; ergo, we cannot leave WI. We may exceed the 6 month residency requirement if we cannot go back to Fl in time and our Aetna advantage plan will drop us. What then? Are there exceptions?

    1. Hi Diane. If you update your primary residence to WI, that would qualify you for a SEP to get you into a Medicare Advantage plan in WI.

    2. My mother lives in CT and is currently receiving chemotherapy. If she were to spend a few months of the year with us in TX would she be able to receive chemo in TX and still collaborate with her doctors in CT ? What is the best plan so that she can receive chemo in both states? Thank you !!

      1. Laura, this would depend on the type of Medicare plan she is on. If your mother has a Medicare Advantage plan you will want to be sure there is a doctor in your area that will take her plan. If it is a Medicare Supplement plan, she should be able to receive care with no issues in TX. However, you should consult with her doctor about coordinating care in the two states.

  7. I have houses in 2 counties in North Carolina. The Advantage plans are different in each county. Can I choose the county and the Advantage plan that is where my doctor is even though my driver’s license has another county on it?

    1. Hi Bo! I believe it would have to match the address you have on file with Social Security. However, I would verify this with your Medicare agent. Also, your coverage will not leave the county when you go to your other home. It may be better for you to enroll in a Medigap plan so that your coverage travels with you as you go between both of your homes.

  8. Thanks for your article. My mom was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and lives in Georgia but I’m taking her home with me to North Carolina for a while to look after her until she needs a skilled nursing facility. I don’t want to lose her doctors in Georgia, and they have prescribed home health for her, but I’m finding that agencies in NC can’t accept orders from doctors from another state even though Medicare would cover her. Any advice on how to get her home health while she’s with me in NC without having to change her GA doctors?

    1. Hi Melony. Unfortunately, there is no way around that. She will need to see a doctor in North Carolina to get prescribed home health in that state. However, she can still see her doctors in Georgia as well via Telehealth while she stays with you. She won’t lose her Georgia doctors because she sees another doctor in North Carolina.

  9. My mother is mentally ill and she qualifies for Medicare and Medicaid. Her home state is Florida but she spends a few months out of the year with me in New Mexico. I was curious if you know if she can have dual residency so she can go to the Dr if she needs mental care while she’s with me in NM. I have asked her social worker and there is not clear information on the subject.

    1. Hi Brittany! Your mother’s Medicare coverage will travel with her across state lines. However, her Medicaid coverage will not. Medicaid can only be used in the state where the recipient resides with the exception of emergencies or rare prearranged circumstances. This is because even though Medicaid is a federal program, it’s also a state partnership in which each state has its own set of rules.

  10. What if you have a MAPD – PPO in one town and that town is where you have your Homestead, but you are going to live with a family member in a different town in the same state because of health issues. You plan on retaining your home however, in the original town. Can you do a SEP and change plans to the family members town so that you can use their doctors.

    1. Hi Deb! As long as the plan you currently have is not available in your family members’ town, then yes you can use a SEP to switch plans. You will have to show proof of residency.

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