If you decide to permanently move somewhere that’s not covered by your current Medicare plan (that is, outside the plan’s service area), you need to tell your plan immediately. If you notify the plan before you move, your SEP timeframe is four months long. It begins one month before the month you move and lasts for three more months after that. If you notify your plan after you move, you can switch plans the month you provided notice of the move and up to two months after that.
You can switch to a new Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan during this period of moving to a different service area. If you prefer, you can return to Original Medicare.
If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Supplement plan (also known as Medigap) and move to another state, you may be able to keep the same policy. There are 10 standardized Medigap plans available in 47 states (Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin have their own standardized plans). Because the plans are standardized in most states, you may be able to remain with the same plan. But be aware that you might have to pay more for the Medigap plan in your new state, and you might have to answer some questions about your health history..
Most Medicare Supplement plans let you see any doctor who accepts Medicare assignment, but one type of Medigap plan – called Medicare SELECT – may require you to use providers within its network. If you have a Medicare SELECT policy and you move out of the plan’s service area:
- You can sign up for a standardized Medigap policy from your current Medigap policy insurance company that includes the same, or fewer, benefits as your current Medicare SELECT policy.
- Generally, you can sign up to buy any Medigap Plan A, B, C, F, K, or L that’s available in the area where you live.
- You won’t have to undergo medical underwriting if you’ve had your Medicare SELECT policy for more than six months. Otherwise, the insurance company may review your health history and may charge you more (or choose not to sell you a policy) if you have a health condition.