Medicare is a federally funded program designed to provide low cost health insurance to senior citizens. If you’re enrolled in anything other than Original Medicare, you may have noticed that Medicare.gov asks you for your location when looking for supplemental coverage. So what happens if you move?
Original Medicare is Medicare Part A & Part B. Medicare Part A is your hospital insurance. Medicare Part B is your outpatient insurance. Together, they’ll cover most of your health care needs. You’ll most likely be automatically enrolled in Original Medicare when you turn 65.
If you move, there will be absolutely no change in coverage. Remember, most doctors and hospitals accept Medicare, so you should have absolutely no issue wherever you move. Your Medicare Part B monthly premium is based on your previous income, so there also won’t be a change in cost.
But, make sure you contact social security and provide an updated address so you receive all your Medicare related mail. Additionally, if you change banks, make sure to update that information as well.
Medigap Plans or Medicare Supplement Plans are the supplemental coverage that you can purchase in addition to Original Medicare. These plans operate under the same network of doctors and hospitals as Original Medicare, so again, there should be no issue finding a doctor or hospital that you like. Many Medigap plans even offer some type of foreign travel exchange.
Medigap plans are entirely portable. Again, you’ll probably want to update your information, just to make sure you’re still receiving your mail, but that’s really no different than any other type of move!
Now, pricing for Medicare Supplement Plans is dependent upon your location. So, your carrier may re-rate you once you move; meaning they will change your rate. Usually, this is not a tremendous difference. BUT, you do have the option to switch carriers or plans if you so choose.
Additionally, remember that Medicare Supplement Plans are slightly different in Massachusetts, Wisconsin and Minnesota, so, if you’re moving to or from one of these states, you may need to reassess your options.
Medicare Advantage Plans are also known as Medicare Part C. They replace your Original Medicare entirely and very often offer additional benefits not offered by Medigap Plans.
One of the major drawbacks of Medicare Advantage is that you do not have access to the same broad Original Medicare network. With Part C, you are beholden to your carrier’s network which is, of course, much smaller. Although, you can find Part C plans with nationwide PPO coverage, usually your coverage will be tied to your geographical area.
You are definitely best served enrolling in a new plan that will work better with your new home. As it is, one of the most frequent complaints we hear about Medicare Advantage is that it can be hard to find a doctor in network who is nearby. BUT, you can use this opportunity to find a plan better suited to your needs.
When you move, you’ll qualify for a special enrollment period. You’ll have 30 days prior to your move and 30 days after to enroll in a new Part C Plan. Remember, in some areas of the country, Medicare Supplement Plans are favored over Medicare Advantage (and vice versa), so you can also use this time to drop your Part C plan and join a Medigap Plan.
Medicare Part D
You may have your prescription drug coverage wrapped up in your Advantage Plan or you may have a separate Part D plan if you have Original Medicare. Either way, if you move, you will most likely need to enroll some type of new prescription drug coverage.
The rules for Medicare Part D are the same as Part C. Make sure you enroll on time, so you don’t miss your window! You don’t want to be without prescription drug coverage if you need it or become subject to a late penalty.
You can find out more information regarding plan availability on Medicare.gov or you can work with a broker.
If you have any questions, you can reach us at iHealthBrokers at 888-918-0518 or schedule a call today!
Jesse Smedley is the Principal Broker for iHealthBrokers and the founder, president, and CEO of Smedley Insurance Group, Inc. and iHealthBrokers.com. Since the inception of SIG in 2007, Jesse has been dedicated to helping people save money on their health insurance by providing them with resources to educate themselves on all their health insurance options, both under age 65 and Medicare beneficiaries. He is featured in many publications as well as writes regularly for expert columns regarding health insurance and Medicare.