Moving can be hectic and stressful enough without worrying about the continuation of your Medicare health coverage. With the right preparation and information, you can make a smooth transition to your new home and the Medicare health plan that will provide coverage for you in your new location. You may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) when you move to a place that is not in your current plan’s service area.
Before you start packing boxes, make sure that your medical records and health care information is filed in a safe place where you can access it at any time. Make sure that any necessary documentation, such as your Medicare identification card, does not get lost in the shuffle of boxes and packing tape. Take the time to consider your Medicare options before you move, as different plans are available in different regions.
If you are moving to a new address that is not included in your current plan’s service area, or you are moving to a new address that offers you new plan options, you can switch to a new Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. If you inform your plan before you move, you will have a period of time to switch plans. This period of time includes the month before the month you move and continues for 2 full months after you move. If you wait to tell your plan until after you move, your chance to switch plans begins the month you tell your plan, plus 2 more full months.
If you have been living outside the country, and you move back to the United States, you can join a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan during the enrollment period that lasts for 2 full months after the month you move back to the United States.
If you just moved into, currently live in, or just moved out of an institution (such as a skilled nursing facility or long-term care hospital), you can join a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, or you can switch from your current plan to another Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. You also have the option to drop your Medicare Advantage Plan and return to Original Medicare, or drop your Medicare prescription drug coverage. Your chance to join, switch, or drop coverage lasts as long as you live in the institution and for 2 full months after the month you move out of the institution.
You also have a special enrollment period if you have been released from jail. You can join a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan for the 2 full months after the month you’re released from jail.