Does Medicare Coverage Transfer to Other States?
If you have Original Medicare — Medicare Part A and Part B — you can take your coverage with you if you move within the United States, but you should still notify Medicare before you move. Many Medigap plans will also transfer with you. You will need to check with your Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D drug plan to see if coverage will follow you.
Moving When You Have Original Medicare
Original Medicare includes Medicare Part A hospital insurance and Medicare Part B medical insurance. Because it is administered by the federal government, you can take your coverage with you if you move anywhere within the United States and its territories.
- Any of the 50 states
- The District of Columbia (Washington, DC)
- Puerto Rico
- U.S. Virgin Islands
- Northern Mariana Islands
- American Samoa
Most doctors and hospitals in all these areas accept Medicare.
But if you have Original Medicare along with a Medigap plan and a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, you may have to find a new plan if you move to a new state.
What Happens to Your Medigap Plan if You Move?
You should check with your Medigap provider to see if your Medigap plan will transfer to a new state or territory if you move.
Medigap — also called Medicare Supplement insurance — are policies sold by private insurers that contract with Medicare. Medigap covers your out-of-pocket expenses, filling in gaps that Medicare does not cover.
If you have a plan that’s available in the state where you’re moving, you may be able to take your Medigap plan with you.
There are 10 standardized Medigap plans available in every state. Some states also offer more Medigap plans that are not available in all states.
- Available in all states – Plans A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N
- Available in some states – High-deductible Plan F and Plan G
- Available in some states or specific areas within a state – Medicare Select plans
If your plan is not available where you’re moving, you will need to change your plan ahead of your move to one that’s available in your new location. That way, you’ll not miss coverage.
What Happens to Your Medicare Part D Drug Plan When You Move?
If you have a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, you’ll need to enroll in a new plan in your new state. Medicare Part D drug plans are sold by private insurers and are specific to the state where they’re sold.
You’ll only have two months to sign up for a new plan once you move. If you don’t sign up within that window, you’ll lose coverage. And you’ll have to wait until the open enrollment period in October to sign up.
But if you notify your Medicare Plan D plan administrator that you are moving, you can purchase a new plan in the state where you’re moving beginning the month before the move. You’ll still have the two month period after you make the move as a buffer.
Can You Take Your Medicare Advantage Plan with You if You Move?
If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you will need to enroll in a new one for the state you’re moving to. Medicare Advantage plans are sold by private insurers that contract with Medicare.
You will also need to check with your Medicare Advantage plan to see if your coverage will continue once you move — even if you are moving within your state.
There were 3,550 Medicare Advantage plans available nationwide for 2021, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. But not all are available in every state. Plans vary widely from state to state and even between counties within a state.
If you’re moving to a rural area where Medicare Advantage coverage is more limited, you may also want to consider switching to Original Medicare with a Medigap plan. You should also consider a standalone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan if you go this route.
How to Transfer Medicare Coverage to Another State or County
If you have Original Medicare — Medicare Part A and Part B — you should notify the Social Security Administration and Medicare before you move. It’s important to update your address and other information so you don’t miss or delay benefits.
If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, or a Medigap plan, you should notify your plan’s administrator before you move to another state — or to any area outside your plan’s service area.
- Moving outside your plan’s service area
- You can switch to a new plan in the new service area. Or you can leave your Medicare Advantage plan and enroll in Original Medicare.
- Moving to a new place in your plan’s service area
- If you have new plan options in your new area, you can switch to a new Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare prescription drug plan during your special enrollment period.
- Moving back to the U.S. after living abroad
- You can join a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan within two months after you move back to the U.S.
When you move, you will be eligible for a special enrollment period during which you will be able to enroll in a new plan for your new area. This generally begins one month before the month you move and lasts two months after the move.
6 Cited Research Articles
- Biniek, J.F., et al. (2020, October 29). Medicare Advantage 2021 Spotlight: First Look. Retrieved from https://www.kff.org/medicare/issue-brief/medicare-advantage-2021-spotlight-first-look/
- Texas Department of Insurance. (2020, October 21). Medicare Supplement Insurance Guide. Retrieved from https://www.tdi.texas.gov/pubs/consumer/medsup.html
- O’Brien, S. (2020, August 6). Here’s How to Handle Your Medicare Coverage If You’re Moving to Another State. Retrieved from https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/06/heres-how-to-handle-medicare-coverage-if-moving-to-another-state.html
- Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (2021, January). Medicare Coverage Outside the United States. Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/Pubs/pdf/11037-Medicare-Coverage-Outside-United-States.pdf
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2016, March 11). How Do I Report a Change of Name or Address to Medicare? Retrieved from https://www.hhs.gov/answers/medicare-and-medicaid/how-do-i-change-my-name-or-address-with-medicare/index.html
- U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (n.d.). Special Circumstances (Special Enrollment Periods). Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/sign-up-change-plans/when-can-i-join-a-health-or-drug-plan/special-circumstances-special-enrollment-periods