Moving and Medicare Coverage
It is wonderful to have family members in another area or state who will share caregiving for an elderly patient. However, if the patient moves to live in a different state, the patient’s Medicare coverage could be affected by their move to another zip code and another state. Did you know this?
Lynn’s sister, Marie, lives in a different state, and she is happy to share caregiving for their elderly mother for part of the year. Lynn’s elderly mother stays with Marie for six months in order to give Lynn a rest and to visit with her children and grandchildren near Marie. Since Mom is moving to another state for a while, her medical coverage through Medicare is likely to be affected by the change in her residence. Caregivers need to know about this so they will not be surprised by a lapse in coverage in the plan when the patient has moved to another state.
Medicare is Nation Wide
Yes, Medicare is a federal program, so it is available in all states of the U.S. However, not all parts of Medicare are transferable between states. Your benefits under Parts A and B do not change when one moves from one state to another with Medicare. But the Medicare Advantage (Part C) and Medicare Part D drug plans are offered according to the area in which one lives. If the patient moves out of that area, Medicare plan providers should be informed. And there is a deadline for doing that.
If the Medicare provider is informed about the change of residence before the patient actually moves, the patient will have an opportunity to switch one month before the moving day until two months after the month of the move. During this period of time, the patient may change the Part D drug plan and/or the Medicare Advantage Plan, if she is enrolled in one. It is important to ask the plan providers about the differences between areas or states when the patient is moving, so there is not an accidental lapse in coverage.
Change is Sure to Come
The price of a supplement plan may change depending on the area of the move. As a caregiver, this is another fact that you need to recognize. The patient’s zip code determines the price of the monthly Medigap premium. Medigap plan prices will be different in different states because healthcare in some areas is more expensive than in other areas. So the caregiver and patient should call the Medigap plan provider and discuss the patient’s move and the cost impact of doing so. Perhaps the provider can shop around to find an affordable premium for you in the area of the move.
And, of course, if the patient is changing plans, there may be paperwork with health questions for the patient, and the plan carrier may decide to accept or decline the patient based on those answers.
Keeping ahead of all these details is important, and it involves cooperation between the patient and caregiving family members in different areas. It would be an advantage for both caregivers to seek out primary care physicians and hospitals in their area who will be ready to take care of the patient whenever she is living in that area. It is better to be informed about the healthcare available and the Medicare plans in their area, than to be unpleasantly surprised by high costs and a lack of available care for a patient after a move.
For more information and to discuss your particular circumstances, please contact Medicare.