Moving? You might need to switch your Medicare plan

If you’re over age 65 and you’re preparing to move to another state – or even to another county – you’ll need to make sure your Medicare plan will still be in effect after you move.

Whether your policy will still be valid depends in part on whether you have original Medicare or Medicare Advantage. If you have original Medicare, moving shouldn’t affect your benefits. Your Medicare plan will still be valid when you move. However, if you have a Medigap policy as well, you’ll need to check with your insurer. While the insurance company will most likely continue to renew the policy as long as you continue to pay your premiums, it might be able to change the amount of the premiums 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 move to an area where you’re not covered by the network.

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll need to check with the plan to see if you’re moving out of its service area. If the plan doesn’t cover your new area, you’ll need to switch to another plan.

You have the option of switching to another Medicare Advantage plan in your new area or to original Medicare. If you do nothing, you’ll automatically be enrolled in original Medicare. If you do switch to original Medicare, remember that you might also need a Medigap policy as well as prescription drug coverage to take care of the coverage that 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 an open enrollment period. You’ll be eligible for a “special enrollment period” that usually starts one month before you move and ends 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 dropped from your old plan. To find out what plans and policies are available in the area where you’re moving, you can go to Medicare’s website at