Today, we’re going to answer the question, “Do I need to change Medicare plans when I move?” The answer depends on how you’ve chosen to take your Medicare benefits. Let’s dive in. 

Medicare’s Four Parts

Most of you probably know Medicare has four parts, Part A, B, C, and D. Whether you have to change plans when you move depends on which Medicare Part you’re enrolled in. 

Medicare Part A & B

Medicare A and B (also known as Original Medicare) covers inpatient and outpatient care. If you’ve chosen to stay in original Medicare A and B, you will not need to change plans when you move. So no matter where you are, as long as the doctor or hospital accepts Medicare, you’ll be able to pull out your card and receive your Medicare benefits. Further, you don’t have to worry about any change in cost or coverage when you move. 

If you move, however, we would encourage you to call a local Social Security office and update them so they know what your new address is. Most people’s Part B premiums are paid through their social security check. If you don’t receive Social Security, you may be paying your Part B premiums through a bank draft. If you move and change banks, be sure to update your Part B bank draft information so your monthly premiums continue to be paid. 

Supplemental Plans

Most people who make the decision to stay in Original Medicare purchase a Supplemental plan to help cover the gaps in their Original Medicare coverage. When you buy a Supplemental plan, you’re enrolled for life. This means you can take the policy with you wherever you go in the US or US territories, and you’ll be covered. You may experience an increase in rates if you move from a low-rate area to a high-rate area, but typically the increase is very minimal. And as far as your coverage goes, everything will stay the same, no matter where you live in the US. 

Once again, make sure to update your bank draft information if you move and switch banks. Simply call your Supplemental insurance company and update your bank routing and account number. If you fail to update your payment information with the insurance company and they do not receive a payment, your policy will be cancelled after 30 days.  

Medicare Part C Plans

Medicare C plans are called Advantage plans and they replace original Medicare coverage. Part C plans are not portable like Medicare A and B and Supplemental plans, meaning you can’t take them with you when you move. Why? Typically Part C plans are tied to a specific service area. Usually these service areas are quite large, often encompassing an entire metropolitan area (all counties and zip codes within the area). But if you move away from this area, you will have to change plans. 

If you have an Advantage plan and you move, you’ll be granted a special election period or special enrollment period. This special period only lasts for 30 days before and 30 days after you move. During this window of time, you’ll be able to switch plans, no health questions asked.  

Medicare Part D Plans

Medicare Part D plans are prescription drug plans. Some of you have a drug plan embedded in your Part C Advantage plan. When you move and switch Advantage plans, you’ll get a new embedded drug plan with it. However, many of you have a stand-alone drug plan. Stand-alone drug plans are tied to a specific service area just like Advantage plans are, so they are not portable. This means if you move outside the service area, you’ll once again have a special enrollment period (60 days) to switch to a new drug plan. 

Conclusion

If you stay in original Medicare A and B, you will not need to make any plan changes when you move. Anywhere in the US that accepts Medicare will still cover you. Similarly, Supplemental plans are completely portable, meaning wherever you move in the US, your plan will transfer with you. If, however, you have an Advantage plan, you will have to change plans if you move out of your service area. Likewise, if you have a stand-alone drug plan and move out of your service area, you will have to switch to a new drug plan. You can make these plan switches 30 days before and after your move. 

We understand how difficult making the right Medicare decisions can be. To take the next step, watch our full course here, or schedule a free one-on-one call with a certified Medicare School Guide who can answer your questions, compare plans options, and even help you enroll. Click here to get started.

 
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