More than one in five Americans either relocated or know someone who has in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.1 Whether they moved in with relatives, moved out of a nursing home or other community they felt was unsafe, or moved for a variety of other reasons, the pandemic uprooted millions of people across the U.S.
And if you or a loved one were to move, you may have questions about what happens to Medicare coverage when a beneficiary moves to another county or state.
Here are five important and frequently asked questions about relocating with Medicare.
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When you move, your Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) stays the same. Original Medicare costs and coverage are standardized across the U.S.
Your Part B premiums (and Part A premiums, if you’re required to pay them) will not change when you move, nor will your annual Part B deductible reset. The only change is that you will now likely be visiting a different set of doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and other health care providers.
Before you see a provider in your new location, be sure to confirm that they accept Medicare.
If you move to a new address, you should report that information to the Social Security Administration so they can update your Medicare files. This can be done online through the my Social Security portal, by calling 1-800-MEDICARE or by visiting the Social Security office in your new area.
Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans typically operate on a network basis, meaning each plan may be restricted to beneficiaries of a given county, zip code, state or region.
If your new location (where you’re moving) is within the geographic limits of your current plan, you may be able to keep your coverage. Just contact your plan provider to notify them of your address change.
If you are staying within your plan’s network area when you move, but your new location features additional plan options, you may be able switch to one of these new plans by utilizing a Special Enrollment Period (SEP).
If you are moving outside of your plan’s network area, you may be granted an SEP to switch to a new plan available in your new location. You also have the option of returning to Original Medicare.
If your relocation is taking you into or out of a skilled nursing facility or long-term care hospital, you may join, drop or switch a Medicare Advantage or Part D plan.
The opportunity to make any enrollment changes will last for as long as you live in the institution or for two full months after leaving.
Because Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) coverage is typically standardized across most states in the country, you may be able to keep the same type of Medigap plan if it’s offered in your new location.
If you move, you may potentially have to pay a new plan premium, which may be higher or lower than the cost in your previous area, even if it’s the same type of plan (such as Plan G or Plan N).
Except for rare circumstances, Original Medicare may only be used in the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Mariana Islands. If you are moving out of the country, you will most likely lose your Medicare benefits.
If you drop your Part B coverage, you may be subject to a late enrollment penalty if you move back to the U.S. in the future and wish to re-enroll.
Should you move back to the U.S. or a U.S. territory, you may be granted a Special Enrollment Period to enroll in a Medicare Advantage or Part D plan.
As you prepare for your move, you may want to call and speak with a licensed insurance agent to learn more about the Medicare Advantage plans that may be available where you’ve moving. A licensed agent can help you compare plan coverage, benefits, costs and more.
You can also compare plans online for free, with no obligation to enroll.
Compare Medicare Advantage plans in your area and where you're movingCompare Plans
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1 Cohn, D. (July 6, 2020). About a fifth of U.S. adults moved due to COVID-19 or know someone who did. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/07/06/about-a-fifth-of-u-s-adults-moved-due-to-covid-19-or-know-someone-who-did.