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Tips for Moving to Another State with Medicare


Moving from one state to another can be stressful and the last thing you may be thinking about is your healthcare coverage. If you’re moving out of state, making the appropriate changes to your Medicare coverage is essential to ensure your coverage does not lapse during the moving process. Below we review how to transfer Medicare to another state.

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How to transfer your Medicare coverage to another state depends on the type of Medicare plan you are enrolled in. In some cases, your current coverage will work in another state. However, you may not be this lucky if you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. So, it is important to know how your coverage will transfer.

Below we walk you through transferring Medicare coverage from one state to another and how to change your address with Medicare.

How to Transfer Original Medicare to Another State

Those with Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B) planning a move to a new state go through a simple process to update residency. There is no need to update your plans or enroll in new coverage. Medicare is a federal program with no provider networks. So, coverage is the same in all 50 states.

The only step that you will need to take is updating your address through Social Security. If applicable, you may also contact the Railroad Retirement Board to update your address.

Keep in mind, it is important to find a new primary care doctor in your area who will be taking over your care. You will want to do this as soon as possible to avoid a delay in care when necessary. It is important to ensure your new primary care doctor accepts Medicare so you will be able to use your benefits when receiving care. To ensure your physician accepts Medicare, you can call the office and speak with them yourself or use the Medicare physician finder online tool.

How to Change Address With Medicare

As mentioned above, you will need to update your address with Social Security when you move to another state. Changing your address through Social Security is a simple process. To change your address, you must do one of the following:

  • Visit a local Social Security Office to update your information in person.
  • Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, from 7am to 7pm eastern time.
  • Visit SSA.gov to update your information online by logging into your My Social Security account.

If you receive railroad retirement benefits, you can update your address over the phone by calling 1-877-772-5772.

Tips for Moving to Another State With Medicare Advantage

If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan (Medicare Part C) and are moving to another state, you will be required to enroll in a new plan that is inside of your new service area.

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Your existing Medicare Advantage plan may not work in your new state as Medicare Advantage plans have doctor networks. These doctor networks may vary from county to county or state to state. Since policies vary by county, moving will likely result in a necessary plan change.

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, upon moving, you will receive a Special Enrollment Period. The Special Enrollment Period will allow you to change your Medicare Advantage plan, only when you are moving out of your current plans service area. So, if you’re moving down the street, you likely won’t qualify for a plan change.

During the Special Enrollment Period, you can elect to go back to Original Medicare, choose a different Medicare Advantage plan or you may be able to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan.

How to Transfer Medicare Supplement to Another State

Medicare Supplement plan enrollees may be able to stay with their current plan if moving out of state. Medicare Supplement benefits are standardized nationwide. So, once you enroll in a plan, it can be used nationwide by any doctor who accepts Original Medicare.

The only step you would need to take is to change your address with your plan’s carrier. This could result in a change of premium depending on your new location. You may also be eligible for Guaranteed Issue Rights to enroll in a new plan if allowable by your new state. If this is the case, you can enroll in any Medicare Supplement plan without underwriting health questions.

Since Medicare is a federal program, coverage is the same across the United States. You won’t qualify for a Special Enrollment Period if you have Original Medicare and a Medicare Supplement plan because these plans operate in all states the same way. But, you can always shop coverage in your new state, you just might go through underwriting when you apply for a new plan.

Keep in mind, Medicare Supplement rules vary by state.

Changing Medicare Part D Plans When Moving

Medicare Part D plans help cover your prescription drug costs. Like Medicare Part C, Medicare Part D plans have different coverage areas. While the exact same plans may be available in other states, the costs and coverage may slightly differ. When you are enrolled in Medicare Part D, you will want to change your plan as soon as you know the area you are moving to. This will prevent a lapse in coverage. If you have a lapse in coverage, you may lose out on benefits, have to wait until the Annual Enrollment Period to re-enroll and/or pay a late-enrollment penalty based on the time you go without coverage.

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When moving with Medicare Part D, you will receive a 63-day Special Enrollment Period to change plans in the middle of the year. This allows you to change to any available plan in your new service area.

When enrolling in a new Part D plan, it is important to ensure all of your prescription drugs are covered by the plan and that there will be no surprises with coverage.

Can You Use Medicare in Any State?

Medicare is a federal healthcare program that has identical benefits throughout the United States. This means, that Original Medicare coverage can be used in any state, just the same as it can be used in your home state.

If you live in Alabama and are visiting a family member in Iowa, you will still have the exact same Original Medicare benefits if you are required to use your plan.

Moving with Medicare FAQs

Do I need to notify Medicare if I move?
If you move, contact the Social Security Administration with your change of address. This will update your address for Medicare.
Can I see a doctor in another state with Medicare?
If you have Original medicare, you can travel to any of the states and have coverage. But, those with a Medicare Advantage plan likely need to stay in the service area to maintain coverage.
Do you lose Medicare if you move out of the country?
No, you can keep your Medicare if you move out of the country. However, Medicare will not cover any healthcare services preformed overseas. If your dream is to retire abroad, then you’ll need to buy private health insurance. Or you should consider enrolling in the country’s public health plan.
Do I have to pay for Medicare if I live abroad?
If you need hospital care and can travel back to the United States, your Medicare Part A will still be available to you. However, unless you continue paying your Medicare Part B premium while living abroad, you won’t have any coverage for outpatient services if you return to the United States.

How to Transfer Medicare to Another State

When it comes to transferring Medicare to another state, if you take the necessary steps ahead of time, you can prevent any lapse in coverage. After all, health insurance should be here to protect you, not cause you any harm.

If you are in the process of moving or are thinking about which plans to enroll in, give us a call to talk about your options. You can contact our licensed Medicare agents by calling the number above or fill out an online rate comparison form to get started today! We will provide you with a free plan comparison with the top plans in your new location.

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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.

  1. Special Circumstances, Medicare. Accessed June 2022.
    https://www.medicare.gov/when-can-i-join-a-health-or-drug-plan/special-circumstances-special-enrollment-periods
  2. Can I change my Medicare coverage outside of the Medicare Open Enrollment period, KFF. Accessed June 2022.
    https://www.kff.org/faqs/medicare-open-enrollment-faqs/can-i-change-my-medicare-coverage-outside-of-the-medicare-open-enrollment-period/

Jagger Esch

Jagger Esch is the Medicare expert for MedicareFAQ and the founder, president, and CEO of Elite Insurance Partners and MedicareFAQ.com. Since the inception of his first company in 2012, he has been dedicated to helping those eligible for Medicare by providing them with resources to educate themselves on all their Medicare options. He is featured in many publications as well as writes regularly for other expert columns regarding Medicare.

16 thoughts on “Tips for Moving to Another State with Medicare

  1. Have a question. Due to a change in family circumstances, we have to move my wife’s mother from Illinois to live with us in Texas in the next 30 days. She is wheelchair bound and we will require daily assistance in the form of an aide, a service she currently receives in Illinois, to get her washed and changed as we are not physically able to perform these tasks ourselves. We aren’t in a financial position to be able to afford to pay for private in-home care and therefore need to transfer her Medicare/Social Security benefits in an expedited manner.

    It seems that to transfer her Medicare benefits, we need to establish her residency in Texas. The challenge is she won’t fly out here and she will be driven out in 30 days, but not any sooner. As soon as she arrives, we’ll need the in-home care to assist with taking care of her, so there’s the dilemma.

    All her credit cards and her state ID have her Illinois address. We will try to set up a local bank account for her as a form of ID for Social Security, but not sure with today’s more rigid security protocols that will even happen with her living in another state. Do you have any suggestions how to expedite the transfer? We are very concerned. Thanks.

    Brian & Diane

    1. Hello! Medicare does not pay for in-home care, Medicaid does. You’ll want to reach out to your local Medicaid office to find out what you need to do to transfer her benefits. Each state has different limitations and guidelines.

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