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What You Need to Know About Moving and the Medicare Special Enrollment Period

medicare-special-enrollment-and-moving

Moving can be an exciting but chaotic time. Amidst all the packing, signing paperwork, and meeting your new neighbors, the Medicare Special Enrollment Period is the last thing on your mind. But it’s important to make sure you continue to enjoy good healthcare coverage in your new location. Moving is a great opportunity to get new benefits or better costs under a new Medicare plan. Here’s what you need to know about enrolling in a new plan to avoid fees or lapses in coverage.

Understanding Medicare Special Enrollment Periods

Enrollment in Medicare plans is limited to certain periods, including the Initial Enrollment Period around your 65th birthday and the Annual Enrollment Period each autumn. Outside of those established enrollment periods, changing plans can typically only happen as a result of specific circumstances that allow for Special Enrollment Periods. Moving is one of the special circumstances that qualifies you to take advantage of a Medicare Special Enrollment Period.

Why Medicare coverage may change when you move

Medicare plans are specific to geographic areas, often by county or zip code. If you move outside of your plan’s area, you’ll need to enroll in a new plan. Be sure to check your Medicare plan’s coverage area when you’re moving, even if you don’t move far.

How long you have to enroll in a new plan

The Medicare Special Enrollment Period for moving is about three months long. It begins the month you move OR the month you tell your plan that you’ve moved, and continues for two full months after that.

If you don’t enroll in a new plan during your Special Enrollment Period, you’ll revert back to Original Medicare, Parts A and B. You can then choose to enroll in a Medicare Advantage or Part D Prescription Drug Plan during the next Medicare Annual Enrollment Period. Keep in mind Original Medicare coverage doesn’t include vision, dental, hearing, or prescription drugs and there’s a penalty for not having prescription drug coverage.

How to find a new Medicare plan

We can help you find a Medicare plan in your new area! Just call a Medicare Advocate for your personalized consultation at 1-800-991-4407 / TTY 711 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern, Monday to Friday.

You can also find, compare, and enroll in Medicare Advantage Plans on your own using the Medicare Online Enrollment Portal. Search by zip code, select two or more plans to easily compare costs and benefits, then enroll online when you find the plan that’s right for you!