Moving With Medicare: Does My Coverage Move With Me?

Moving With Medicare: Does My Coverage Move With Me?

Find Cheap Medicare Plans in Your Area

Currently insured?

Medicare stays with you when you move, but the steps you'll take to keep your Medicare active will depend on which type of plan you have.

Medicare Advantage and Part D plans have specific provider networks based on location, so you'll usually need to find a new plan in the area you're moving to.

When you move and have Original Medicare, the process is fairly easy — you just need to notify the Social Security Administration of your new address. You can use any hospital or doctor that takes Medicare wherever you live in the U.S.

If you have Medigap coverage, you generally can transfer your plan to a new state, but your monthly payment may change.

You can keep Medicare if you move outside the U.S., but in most cases, you won't be able to use your benefits in a foreign country. If you are moving out of the country temporarily or plan to return to the U.S. frequently, you may want to keep your Medicare and use it when you visit the U.S. or move back permanently.

Moving with Original Medicare

Original Medicare follows you when you move from state to state within the U.S.

Any time you move, you should contact Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board to update the mailing address that Medicare has on file.

Once you move within the U.S., you can use any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare. Original Medicare has participating providers across the country, and you can use any hospital or doctor that takes Medicare.

If you need help finding a new doctor that accepts Medicare, you can use the Medicare Physician Compare tool for a list of providers.

Moving across the country with a Medicare supplement

If you have Original Medicare plus a Medicare supplement, your insurer must let you keep your coverage.

But what you pay for your Medicare supplement plan may change, because states determine Medigap premiums differently.

If you want to switch to a different Medigap policy when you move from state to state, you'll need to check with your current or new insurance company to see if they will offer you a different policy and when you should apply. If you decide to switch, you may have to pay more for your new Medigap policy or answer some medical questions when you apply for your new plan.

You can’t keep your current Medicare supplement if you’re moving to Massachusetts, Minnesota or Wisconsin, as those states have their own Medigap plans. If this is the case, you’ll have the chance to apply for a new Medigap plan. Contact your new state's insurance department for more information on plan options and how to apply.

Moving with a Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare Part D plan

If you're moving and you have Medicare Advantage or a Part D plan, you’ll need to find out what plans are sold in the area you're moving to. You can get information about your options using the Medicare Plan Finder.

Medicare has special enrollment periods (SEPs) to cover moving with a Medicare Advantage or Part D plan.

luggage icon

Moving to a new address outside of my current plan's service area

If you move outside your plan's service area, you must select a new plan.

You can switch to a new Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare Part D plan or return to Original Medicare.

When you join a Medicare Advantage plan in your new state, your old Medicare Advantage plan will be canceled automatically after the new coverage begins.

To return to Original Medicare, contact your current plan provider or call 800-633-4227. If you switch from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare when you move, you have the right to buy a Medigap Plan A, B, D, G, K or L that’s sold by any insurance company in your state.

Your new Medigap insurer is required to accept you and cover your preexisting health conditions. The company cannot charge you more due to any preexisting conditions. Medigap plans do not pay for prescriptions, so unless you have other drug coverage, you should consider adding a Medicare Part D plan to help with those costs.

When should I notify my plan?

If you tell your current plan provider before you move, your chance to switch begins the month before you move, includes the month you move and continues for two full months after you move.

If you tell your plan provider after you move, your chance to switch plans begins the month you tell your provider, plus two more full months.


home icon

Moving within my plan's service area but have new Medicare Advantage options in my new location

When you move within your current plan's service area, you can still switch plans if there are new Medicare Advantage or Part D choices in your new location.

You're not required to change and can keep your current plan. In that case, you just need to provide your new address to Social Security.

When should I notify my plan?

If you tell your current plan provider before you move, your chance to switch begins the month before you move, includes the month you move and continues for two full months after you move.

If you tell your plan provider after you move, your chance to switch plans begins the month you tell your provider, plus two more full months.


building icon

Moving into or out of a skilled nursing facility or long-term care hospital

Moving into or out of a skilled nursing or long-term care facility opens several options for switching or dropping a Medicare Advantage or Part D plan. You can:

  • Join a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D plan
  • Switch from your current plan to another Medicare Advantage or Part D plan
  • Drop your Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare
  • Drop your Medicare Part D plan

You can join, switch or drop coverage for as long as you live in the facility and for two full months after the month you leave the facility.


plane icon

Can I keep Medicare if I move to another country?

While living abroad, you can choose to keep your Medicare plan active. However, you generally can't use it to receive care, even though you'll have to continue paying premiums; the main reason to keep it active is to make it easier to resume coverage whenever you return to the U.S.

Since Medicare doesn't work well outside the U.S., you may want to switch to a cheaper plan the next time you're eligible. You can switch plans during one of the Medicare open enrollment periods (OEPs) or if you qualify for an SEP. If you never intend to return to the U.S., it's likely best for you to cancel Medicare altogether, as there's no benefit to keeping it active.

If you cancel your Medicare completely while living abroad and want to rejoin later, you must apply as a new member during a general enrollment period (GEP), which runs from January through March of each year. Your Medicare will start July 1, and you'll pay penalties in the form of higher monthly rates.

Returning to the U.S.

If you maintain Medicare while living outside the U.S. you'll be able to rejoin a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medicare Part D plan when you return to the U.S. You also have the option to keep Original Medicare.

You have two full months after the month you move back to the U.S. to apply for Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D. For example, if you move June 15, you have until Aug. 31 to enroll in a plan.


Frequently asked questions

What if I have both Medicare and Medicaid and move to a new location?

If you qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid you should contact the state you're moving to for information on your benefit options.

Do I need to notify Medicare if I move?

You should tell Medicare when you move, whether you're on Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D. You can change your address by calling the Social Security Administration at (800) 772-1213 or the Railroad Retirement Board at (877) 772-5772.

Do any foreign countries accept Medicare?

Foreign countries do not accept Medicare plans. You can use Medicare in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands.

How long do I have to change my Medicare plan after I move?

If you move to a new residence, you can change your Medicare Advantage plan starting the month before you move up to two full months after you tell your plan provider of the move, depending on when you first provide notice. If you're switching because of a move into or out of a facility, you can join, switch or drop coverage as long as you live there and for two full months after the month you leave the facility.

Methodology and sources

The rules and requirements for changing Medicare plans based on a move were obtained from Medicare.gov and CMS.gov.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.