Cross-country moving typically comes down to how to pack and where to go. However, a few other factors go into relocating to a different area, and healthcare is one of them. You’ll likely have to change your health insurance when moving to another state, which is why we’ll discuss some basics about this part of the process.
When it comes to wondering, “can I use my health insurance in another state” or “do I have to use a different type of program when I move” it mostly depends on your current and the policy available at your destination. You may have thought about everything upfront, like the best time of the year to move and making a checklist of moving expenses. Still, there’s one common relocation mistake people tend to overlook, and it’s making a change in their healthcare program.
You Have to Enroll for Health Insurance When Moving to Another State
Essentially, each state in the USA functions according to its laws and regulations. You’ll rarely come across an area that doesn’t have its own set of rules on top of those on the federal level. This is especially true for healthcare and its providers. Some places have multi-state coverage, and some wince at the sound of the word “Obamacare.”
This is why the question of do I have to change health insurance if I move out of state mostly depends on where you’re from and where you’re going. Researching health policies should be at the top of your moving to-do list.
One of those moving tips is to visit the Health Insurance Marketplace website in your state and start a new application for a well-being plan. If it uses the HealthCare.gov website for registering policies, you’ll be able to choose a different one quickly and potentially reduce relocation stress. An area that uses the Marketplace for selecting a new plan for your well-being is full of advantages; make sure you choose to move somewhere where you’ll have it easier.
When Should I Change My Health Insurance When I Move?
This is an excellent question and indeed a dilemma everyone has. The best time to change your policy is after relocating, and here’s why – if you cancel the old plan before you move out, you’ll have a coverage gap. Relocation is challenging, especially if you intend to do it all by yourself because there’s a risk of injury involved; you don’t want to be moving out of state without health insurance. It’s better to be safe than sorry in that case.
You can apply for a new insurance plan for thirty to sixty days at the latest upon arrival to your destination and thoroughly do your research. If you do it for house hunting, you should do it for your health, too. Send an email or two, ask around, and get informed.
What’s the Special Enrollment Period, or SEP?
The Special Enrollment Period (SEP) is the period in which you qualify for a change of policy. The Health Insurance Marketplace is open for people to change or renew their plans after they expire, but specific life events qualify you for the Special Enrollment Period, and long-distance moving is considered one of them.
When you go to HealthCare.gov and check if you’re eligible for the Special Enrollment Period, they’ll ask you to submit documentation that proves your eligibility. Those documents include:
- The proof you moved in the last 60 days – bills or financial statements that show a change of address, utility bills, mortgage or rental document for your new address, and the date you moved, as some examples,
- The proof you had previous coverage – a letter or a bill from your former insurance company or a letter from your employer stating they’ve changed or will change your plan (if they’re paying for it). Note that these shouldn’t be in the form of an email but more of an official letterhead.
After submitting the required documentation for your Special Enrollment Period, you have 30 days to select a new plan. Our tip is to do it between the 1st and the 15th of the current month, so you could be covered as soon as next month begins.
Types of Healthcare Plans
Again, each state has its type of coverage and programs that are regulated by local legislation. However, three well-known plans might support multi-state care or allow flexibility in choosing how you prefer to be treated.
Medicare is a program that helps with the cost of essential healthcare but doesn’t cover all medical expenses or the costs of most long-term care needs. It’s grouped in four parts of coverage – A, B, C, and D, and you can get them in one of two ways:
- Original Medicare – includes Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical.) The Part D plan can be added if you need drug coverage. There are some out-of-pocket costs, like deductibles, but you can buy supplemental coverage if you need it,
- Medicare Advantage – also known as part C. It’s a so-called “all in one” alternative, which means it includes a “bundle” made up of parts A, B, and D. These plans may have lower out-of-pocket costs than the other option. Additionally, they may offer extra benefits that aren’t covered by the other program, like vision, hearing, dental, and others.
Medicaid is a healthcare policy applied at a national level. It pays medical bills for people in certain groups, seniors, and those with disabilities who have limited household incomes. Each state has its name for it (in California, it’s MediCal, for example,) and they share the costs of Medicaid with the federal government.
If you qualify for the full benefits of this policy, you could pay little or nothing for medical care. Those full benefits include:
- Paid out-of-pocket expenses that strike Medicare users,
- Covering eyeglasses and hearing aids as part of the standard program,
- Assists in paying long-term care in a nursing home,
- It automatically provides you with qualifications for free or low-cost prescription drug coverage (which we mentioned as Part D of Medicare.)
The Marketplace is regulated by the Affordable Care Act, more popularly known as Obamacare. It’s a legal act set in motion in 2010, and it regulates other HI programs by establishing specific requirements for them. Whether you require HI or have it already, this act provides new rights and protections for people, making them fairer and easier to understand. Watch the video below to understand Obamacare a bit more if you don’t.
Find Information on Supported Health Plans In Your New Area
Once you decide to move to one of the best cities for young professionals or the moment you figure out how to move out for the first time, hit up Marketplace and find the information you need about your next HI program. You must find the appropriate care package for your age and requirements because people so often end up without any coverage at all. If you’ve been enjoying certain perks in your area, you find out if your preferred destination has the same type of HI policies.
Maybe you’re moving to another city for a job. You can email your employer before heading out and ask for information on whether they’d cover the price of care, be it in full or partially. Overall, there aren’t many things you can’t solve by sending an email and asking around for the right information on everything you want to know. If you ever become concerned about your data privacy when you try applying for a qualification on SEP, try sending an email or reading their FAQs. We’re confident that everyone’s data and privacy are respected in this situation.
Cases When You May Not Need to Change Your Policy
There will be times when you won’t have to pay or even change your policies – what we would call the best-case scenario. One example would be if you’re moving for work and have all the benefits paid for. The other two would be specific organizations and networks, called PPO and POS, which work differently than typical HI.
Employer Coverage Can Save Your Resources
Some employers provide HI as part of their benefits package to their employees, and that’s one of the ways on how to transfer health insurance to another state without waiting for too long or paying too much. That’s an excellent relocation hack, isn’t it?
That also means you won’t have to change your HI or qualify for SEP. Our main tips for moving out are communicating with your employer and asking them about any particular changes or regulations. They may not help you change your address legally, but they will provide care and help as a part of their benefits package.
Using the Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)
When you’re transferring health insurance to another state as a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) member, this means you might not need to make any changes at all. PPO is a network of organizations and care providers covering several states; you can opt for using PPO and getting covered for certain out-of-pocket expenses.
Essentially, the cheapest way to move out is by having PPO because there aren’t any additional expenses, which is fantastic for your moving budget. However, you have to check if a regional or a local PPO covers you. The rules of being covered are slightly different between them.
If you don’t use PPO, some of its benefits are that you can go to a medical provider outside of the network, but it’ll cost you more in higher co-pays. You also don’t need to choose a preferred doctor or get referred to a specialist to use the services. Don’t worry, though; your PPO will give you a list of network providers, so you can go wherever it suits you.
Being Part of the Point of Service (POS) Network
The answer to the question “does health insurance work across states” lies in the Point of Service Network, or POS. This network lets you pay less if you use only those medical providers that belong to the network. The only difference between PPO and POS is that POS requires you to specify a preferred doctor and to get referrals to other specialists if it becomes necessary.
Whichever option you choose, they’re surely going to be of great assistance to you whether you’re relocating to a small town or a big city across the country. They’re also great because they won’t make you wonder if you should move back home to spare yourself the trouble of paying for different types of HI.
For Moving, You Can Get Relocation Insurance From Your Long-Distance Moving Company
Long-distance movers may not be able to give you many packing tips for moving or tell you about all the exact things to do after relocating, but they can provide some great cross-country moving services that could save you loads of time and money. It seems like there’s so much to think about when it comes to getting insured or changing HI policies that it may be impossible to think about packing your stuff.
For a great stress-free move, which also means moving free of relocation scams, your preferred cross-country movers won’t bother you with the specifics (unless you want them to.) In addition to being concerned about insuring your wellbeing, you may consider how to insure your belongings at the time of the move. You’ll be happy to know that moving insurance is a part of the standard long-distance moving services package. They can even ship and insure your car if you need it.
Thinking About Your HI Program Means Thinking About the Future
The part you should always think about is how your HI program can benefit your future. So many of them have family and individual policies that you can always make the change if necessary. It’s vital that you grow old and healthy in the privacy of your home, no matter how many times you move.