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How to Keep Your Medicare Coverage When Moving to California

When you're planning a move to California, you have to coordinate everything from finding a home to making sure your belongings are packed up safe and sound. One thing that many people forget to check is whether their existing Medicare coverage goes with them when they move to a new state. You don't want to add health insurance worries onto your plate during an already stressful time. Here's information you need to know about your Medicare insurance plans and potential benefits when you move from out of state into California. 


Medicare Part A and B - Original Medicare Plan

Medicare Part A and B are federal policies, so it doesn't matter where you move. You're still going to be able to get this type of Medicare coverage.


Medicare Part C - Medicare Advantage Plans

The Medicare Advantage plans are where you'll find the biggest changes during a move and where you will potentially need the most help. Depending on where you're moving in California, Part C plans may not be available Medicare options for some people. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan and you're moving to a California county that doesn't offer that same plan, you will have the option to switch to Part A and B or into another Part C plan, if available.


Medicare Part D - Medicare Prescription Drug Plans

Part D plans operate on a state-specific level. You would not be able to transfer your existing Medicare Part D plan with you when you move to California. You would need to re-enroll during the special enrollment period that's triggered by your move for Medicare drug coverage in California. Keep in mind that many Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage, which would preclude having to enroll in a separate Part D plan.


Medigap Policies

Your Medigap policy can move with you to California, but your premiums may go up. The amount it costs you for Medigap is based on your location, so it could be significantly different. If you're unable to afford the payment costs of this program, you can also contact a Medicare insurance broker to see whether there are other options available in your area. While the premiums may be different for your policy, the benefits are standardized on a federal level.

The prices you pay for Medigap  in California are based on attained age, meaning how old you are currently. In general, people pay more as they get older and the costs of this insurance program increase. However, if you're under 65 and receiving Medicare coverage due to disability, you may have a higher cost for Medigap policies to be covered.


Who Do You Inform About Your Move to California

You would contact your Medicare plan provider company and let them know about your planned move to California. In an ideal situation, you would inform them and address this prior to your move date. However, you do have the option of reaching out after your move, but this affects the time you have to be enrolled in a new Medicare plan.


How Long Do You Have to Enroll in New Medicare Coverage After Moving to California

You have up to four months to enroll in new Medicare coverage insurance following your move, if you let your Medicare provider know before you leave. In this situation, you can enroll a month prior to the move date, and up to two months after the moving month. If you wait until you're already in California to start this process, you can enroll during the moving month, plus two months afterwards.

If you change your mind about your Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage plan outside of this special enrollment period, you need to wait until the annual election period, October 15 to December 7, to get to select another option. This is also the time that you can add or remove your prescription drug plan. If you have Medicare Advantage, you have another enrollment period between January 1 and March 31.

Keeping your Medicare health insurance coverage during a move to California can be complicated, depending on your medical situation and the policies that you hold. Keep this informational guide on-hand and review all the options and services available to help you when you start preparing to leave your current state. This will help you by providing the information you need to get enrolled and use your Medicare coverage and benefits in the state of California as soon as you're in your new home.