Moving With Medicare: Is my Medicare coverage state-specific?

Moving out-of-state is never easy. And like everything else related to senior health insurance, you’ll need to pay attention to your Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage policies before moving day. CoverageCoach can help!

We’re going to talk about moving with Medicare here.

Is Medicare state-specific?

In a nutshell, know that traditional Medicare — also known as Medicare Part A and Part B — is a federal benefit. You’ve worked hard your whole life to earn it! And it will transfer to any state, as long as you notify Social Security that you’re moving ahead of time.

  • However, Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement plans won’t transfer from one state to the next.

So here, we’re going to address why Medicare Advantage plans vary, and what to do if you’re a senior with Medicare moving out-of-state. Remember, your Medicare Advantage plan may be local, so even if you’re moving to a new city, county, or zip code, let your Medicare Advantage plan provider know it!

Why Medicare Advantage Plans Vary 

Think of it this way. The cost of living in Los Angeles is going to be significantly higher than, say, a tiny town in Nebraska.

  • Common sense tells us that medical costs covered by a Medicare Advantage plan will vary too.
  • From licensing fees to utilities and insurance, medical professionals pay bills based on their location.
  • Compared to LA, a Medicare service provider in rural Nebraska probably pays less for the office space, and the minimum wage is probably lower.

It’s not all about the costs of doing business in a specific area, though. The type of senior insurance plan you choose matters too.

Medicare Advantage Plans: HMO & PPO

We can’t talk about changes to your Medicare Supplement plans — Medicare Parts C & D — without bringing up the differences between HMOs and PPOs. We’ll keep it brief!

HMO Plans

HMO means “Health Maintenance Organization.”

  • These plans are usually restricted to the local area.
  • If you chose a Primary Care Provider (known as a “Primary” or PCP) when you signed up for insurance, you probably have an HMO.
  • You’ll need to stay “in-network” for everything but genuine emergencies.

PPO Plans

PPO means “Preferred Provider Organization.”

  • Usually, PPO plans have more extensive networks. You typically don’t have to pick a “Primary.”
  • With PPOs, you can see a provider out of network, as long as they’re willing to work with your plan.

Regardless of the sort of Medicare Advantage plan you have before the move, it might change depending on what’s available at your new place. So you’ll need to call your insurance provider and talk to them about it. You might need a whole new insurance plan.

Be sure to ask about picking a primary doctor, if you’re the kind of person that likes a long-term relationship with one physician.

Will I Need to See a Doctor After I Move Out of State? 

Probably. No matter which Medicare Supplement plan you choose, your new provider will want to get look at your overall health. It’s a good idea anyway, after the stress of a long-distance move.

To summarize it all: your Medicare Parts A & B will travel with you out of state, but you’ll likely need a new Medicare Advantage plan. Be sure to let Social Security know that you’re moving, and then reach out to CoverageCoach if you need help finding the perfect plan.

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