Transferring Medicare and Medicaid plans when you move
If you plan to move, can you take your Medicare or Medicaid plans with you? The answer depends on whether you have original Medicare, Medicare Advantage or Medicaid.
If you have original Medicare (Plans A and B), you can move anywhere in the country and still be covered. Medicare is run by the federal government, so it doesn’t matter what state you are in as long as your provider accepts Medicare. Your supplemental (Medigap) plan should also continue to cover you in your new home state, but your premiums may change. The exception is if you move to Massachusetts, Minnesota, or Wisconsin, because those states have their own specific Medigap plans.
Both Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage) and Medicare Advantage plans (operated by private insurers) have defined service areas, which may or may not cover more than one state. If you have Part D or Medicare Advantage, you will need to determine if your new address falls within the plan’s service area. When you move to a new service area, you will have a special enrollment period in which to change plans. If you inform your current plan before you move, your special enrollment period begins the month before you move and continues for two full months afterwards. If you inform your plan after you move, your opportunity to switch plans begins the month you tell your plan, plus two more full months.
Medicaid is a joint federal and state program, and each state has its own eligibility rules. This means you cannot keep your Medicaid plan when you move to a new state. Medicaid eligibility depends on your income, your assets, and the level of care you need. If you have Medicaid and are planning to move, you should contact the Medicaid office in the state to which you are moving to find out the eligibility requirements.
Before you can apply for benefits in the new state, you need to cancel your benefits in the old state. You should file an application in the new state as soon as possible. Usually, if you qualify for benefits they will be retroactive for up to three months before the date you applied. If you end up having to pay for any health care services out of pocket while you are waiting for your application to be approved you should save the receipts, since you may be able to get reimbursed.