When you are moving, particularly out-of-state, you face plenty of tasks and requirements throughout the process. Even when it comes to health insurance.
Here are some common concerns of folks who are concerned about their health insurance when they are going to move to another state.
- Does my insurance cover me when I’m in a different state?
- Do I have to change health insurance when I move out of state?
- How do I get new coverage when I move?
Let’s take a look at these issues first.
Health Coverage When Out-of-State
Because health plans vary, so do your ability to get coverage when you’re in a different state.
PPO & POS
Preferred Provider (PPO) plans and Point of Service (POS) plans offer health insurance coverage when the policy holder is outside the state of residence. If you currently have a PPO or POS plan, you most likely can get health care with out-of-network coverage. This will help you avoid gaps in coverage between your current plan and securing new insurance coverage.
You may have a multi-state health insurance plan that has in-network providers regionally or nationally. But not all multi-state plans include out-of-state coverage, so be sure to ask questions.
The majority of plans will cover emergencies wherever coverage is sought but be sure and find out what situations are considered emergencies.
Changing Health Insurance if You Move to Another State
If you keep your original health plan after moving, you probably need to pay more for benefits to go to services out-of-network. It is probably better to get new coverage in the state you moved to so you can use in-network providers.
If your health insurance plan is provided by your employer, you may not need to change plans.
If you’re leaving an employer behind, you can extend the coverage that employer was providing through COBRA or Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. Extensions can last another 18 to 36 months. However, you will be responsible for paying premiums in their entirety, which can be expensive as you make up for what your employer had been paying as an employee benefit.
Affordable Care Act
If a new employer does not sponsor health coverage or you are self-employed, buying through the ACA Marketplace can be a good option. If you already had ACA insurance, you will be eligible to buy a new policy once you’ve moved, through the state’s exchange or the federal exchange. When you move you become eligible for a special enrollment period so new coverage can be secured quickly.
A good way to close any gaps in coverage is a Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) plan if you qualify. To avoid gaps, apply for new health insurance within 60 days of tapping your SEP.
Coverage for Snowbirds
If you plan to split your time between two states, buy coverage in the state where you will officially reside. You can also consider plans that use a national provider network.
Preparing for a move and moving itself can be stressful, so start doing your homework well ahead of time. Find out what is available to you and make your decision that best fits your situation.