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Switching Medicare Plans If You Move

Last Updated: 10/28/09

If you are over 65 and preparing to move to another county or state, be sure to add "check Medicare plan" to your to-do list. You need to make sure your Medicare plan will still be in effect after you move. Whether or not your policy will be valid will depend in part on whether you have Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage.

If you have Original Medicare, moving should not affect your benefits. Your Medicare plan will still be valid when you move. However, if you have a Medigap policy as well, you need to check with your insurer. While the insurance company should continue to renew the policy as long as you continue to pay your premium, it may be able to change the premium based on your new area of residence. In addition, if you have Medicare SELECT, a type of Medigap policy that allows you to use only hospitals and doctors within its network, you may have to purchase a new supplemental policy.

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you will need to check with the plan to see if you are moving out of the plan's service area. If the plan does not cover your new area, you will need to switch to another plan. You can choose to switch to another Medicare Advantage plan in your new area or to Original Medicare. If you take no steps, you will be automatically enrolled in Original Medicare. If you do switch to Original Medicare, remember that you may also need a Medigap policy as well as prescription drug coverage to take care of coverage your Advantage plan offered.

If you choose to switch to another Medicare Advantage plan, you should be able to enroll in the new plan right away without waiting for the open enrollment period. This is called a special enrollment period. The special enrollment period for joining a Medicare Advantage plan is usually one month before you move up until two months after you move.

The best way to switch plans is to just enroll in the new plan. Once you do this, you will be automatically disenrolled from your old plan. To find out what plans or policies are available in the area you are moving to, check the Medicare Options Compare Web site.

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