Can Moving Affect your Coverage?
Eligibility for individual Affordable Care Act-compliant plans purchased on or off-exchange is based on where you live. Whether or not moving affects your coverage depends on how significant the move is. If you’re moving locally, then the move is unlikely to affect your coverage and you should simply report the change of address to the insurer. If your move is to another county within the same state, please verify with your insurer before you move that you are still eligible to keep your plan after you move. Some plans are only available to those who live in a certain cluster of counties within a state so a move out of the service area would render you ineligible to keep your plan. A state such as New York is a great example: most plans that are available downstate are not available upstate and vice-versa. A move out of state will always require a change in coverage with an individual or family plan.
A person whose coverage is affected by a move has an opportunity to apply for coverage in the new location, but they must do so within a certain timeframe, usually 60 days, so be mindful of these issues and plan ahead.
Moving is less of an issue with coverage through an employer or union because eligibility for that coverage is based on a job, not an address. And moving does not affect coverage for Medicare Part A and Part B if one remains on original Medicare. Since most people on original Medicare also have a Medicare supplement and Part D Plan, those on original Medicare usually have to be mindful of how a move affects coverage. Always confirm that your Medicare supplement is portable, meaning it can move with you to other states. In that instance, simply inform the insurer of the new address and they will let you know if the move affects your premium.
Medicare Advantage Plans and Medicare Part D Plans are also tied to where you reside. They are sold regionally, with a region sometimes being a single state but sometimes can include two or more states. Again, depending on how far your move is, you may be required to enroll in a new product based on your new address. If you are moving from Connecticut to California, for example, you can be assured that you will need to enroll in a new product. If the move is within your current “region,” you may keep your plan. If you’re in doubt, call your insurer before your move. While networks are not generally an issue with a Part D Plan, they are a concern with an Advantage Plan, so you need to make sure that your current or new Plan has a network you are comfortable with in your new home town.
Moving does not affect one’s eligibility for COBRA, the temporary extension of group coverage, but one has to consider the network of providers available associated with a move. If your COBRA plan doesn’t have a network that extends to your new home, that coverage is likely no longer a good fit for you.
Our advice is to always think through the healthcare coverage implications of a planned move so that you don’t inadvertently find yourself with a gap in coverage.
Please encourage those you know to review this information and/or watch the video and spread the word. We have had many desperate calls from people over the years who moved without planning ahead and had a gap in coverage. Thanks!