Those planning to relocate cross country are probably wondering if they can keep their health insurance when moving to another state. However, the relocation process is complicated, and it will put a lot on your plate. That’s why we created this useful guide that will tell you exactly what to do to stay covered.
No matter if you are using private or public coverage, you should check out different plans and prepare all the necessary documentation before the move. Also, you should dig a little and find the new policy that fits your budget and needs. Follow our guide, and it will be easy to make a smart decision and keep yourself insured.
Ensure You Have Appropriate Healthcare Coverage When Moving to the Different States
When moving out of state, health insurance (HI) is rarely the first thing that comes to mind, especially for those who are planning to move without getting packing services from long-distance movers. These people are often so preoccupied with organizing the move that they completely forget about healthcare plans and many other important documents. However, while professional cross-country moving services do make the preparations easier, transferring health insurance to another state is still something you have to do on your own.
While almost everyone remembers to change the address and even transfer utilities on time, many forget to check whether their HI plan is valid in other states. Relocating to a new state without proper coverage is always a liability, especially when you have to move during the coronavirus pandemic.
If you are moving during pregnancy or suffering from any chronic diseases that require treatment regularly, having uninterrupted access to healthcare is the only way for you to truly move safely. Seeing how this is one of the more important things to consider when relocating to a new state, we highly recommend that you put this task high on your to-do list.
Can You Transfer Health Insurance From One State to Another?
Many people changing states are wondering how to transfer health insurance to another state, so if you’re one of them, we have some bad news for you. Outside emergency situations when you need immediate medical care, your current HI plan cannot be used outside the state you reside in. Individual states offer different plans, prices, and savings or work with distinct providers, which is why your current policy will most likely not be eligible after moving.
How to Apply for HI When Relocating?
If you want to avoid having a break in the coverage, starting a new Marketplace application is going to be one of the most important things to do before moving. This will allow you to enroll in a new plan and avoid paying for HI that you won’t be able to use anyways. The good news is that the process is fairly simple as you only need to visit the HealtCare.gov website.
Once you log into your Marketplace account, select the year you want to get coverage for and the state you’re moving to, which will be listed in the drop-down menu. If entering the state’s name on the website didn’t bring any results, it probably has its own separate Marketplace where you can apply. If it did appear, clicking the “Apply and Renew” button will start the application, requiring you to enter a few key bits of information, including your income and household size.
Based on the data you provide, finishing the application will generate a list of all the plans that are available to you, as well as their prices. Carefully compare all the options and choose a policy that suits your needs the best. Lastly, considering the Federal Marketplace is one of the most important places to notify about the move, don’t forget to update your address details and contact information such as phone number and email on the website.
Do I Have to Change Health Insurance if I Move Out of State Temporarily?
What happens if you are only temporarily relocating to a new city across the country, like for college? Do you still have to shop around for HI plans, or do you get to keep your old one? While many student policies can keep you covered even in other states, these usually include very few benefits outside the emergency care. More importantly, these programs often require the insured person to be very healthy, meaning those who have a preexisting condition will probably have a very low chance of qualifying.
The general rule is that if you don’t live, study, and work in the same place, it’s best to be insured where you’re officially residing. Nothing prevents you from having more than one active policy at once, though, which can be particularly good for those who are spending an equal amount of time in several states. In cases like these, it’s often simpler to just get a short-term plan or a full-on individual program for all of the states, just to be sure. Just remember that their benefits will only be usable in the states they were applied for.
How Long Do I Have to Change My Health Insurance When Moving to Another State?
While applying for a different HI policy is a relatively straightforward process, you can’t simply do it whenever it pleases you. In fact, there is a specific time when you can start, stop, or change your HI plan called the Open Enrollment Period (OEP). Although its duration differs among states, the enrollment period is usually scheduled for the end of the year, offering a very limited window for you to make any changes. In order to get coverage for the next year from day one, you’ll have to enroll in a program no later than December 15 in the current one.
However, it’s a well-known fact that most Americans move from May to September, so what can you do when moving to another state outside the enrollment period? Thankfully, you won’t have to worry about not being covered, as moving is one of several life events that qualify you for the Special Enrollment Period (SEP). Depending on the reason for the enrollment, you may have up to 60 days to enroll in a plan outside the OEP.
When Should You Cancel the Old HI?
To avoid any gaps in the coverage, it’s important to figure out when the next one starts before ending the current one, especially if you’re moving to another state alone. Although it’s possible to cancel old HI plans even outside the OEP, it’s highly recommended that you do so only once you secure the next one. Not counting the SEP, canceling early could potentially leave you without any coverage for quite some time, as you won’t be able to enroll again until the very end of the year.
What Kinds of Healthcare Plans Exist in the US?
When you start browsing through HI plans, you’ll see that the process is similar to finding a job in a new city. There are a lot of options, and you should not make a rash decision and pick the one that only seems the best. That’s why if you want to avoid adding up to your anxiety about moving out, prepare before picking the HI plan.
The first thing you should know is that HI plans are divided into levels based on the benefits they bring. So, when you decide where to move, spend some time thinking about the coverage you want to use:
- The bronze plan covers on average 60% of your bills, while you cover the rest 40%. With this plan, a lot of money can be knocked out of your pocket if you make a rookie moving mistake and try to move large items on your own, getting yourself injured.
- Silver one covers 70% of your bills, on average, while you cover 30%. It is a bit of an upgrade from bronze, but you should still avoid moving home gym on your own because not only you’ll get hurt, but you’ll pay a lot in medical bills.
- Gold plan, on average, covers 80% of the costs while you cover the rest (which is around 20%). Having this coverage will reduce your stress during the move because you’ll know that most of your medical expenses will be paid.
- The platinum plan covers 90% of your expenses while you pay the rest (all 10%). With this coverage, you can welcome moving time with open hands, knowing that your budget won’t suffer too much if you accidentally cut yourself while packing fragile items.
- Catastrophic plans cover three primary care visits, and they provide you with preventive care for free.
Furthermore, no matter your reason to move, you shouldn’t avoid getting a HI plan. Because it is such an essential part of life, many national insurance companies offer different plans. Dig a little, and you’ll surely find the one that fits your needs and budget.
Having HI Will Make the Relocation Process Less Stressful
Well, there you have it. All you should know about HI before packing up your bags and relocating. When you get to know all the different plans and options, it will be easier to handle the relocation stress. After all, you’ll be checking a huge and important task off your checklist.
The next thing to do is hire east coast movers (or west coast movers, depending on where you live), and let them handle all the grunt relocation work. Cross country movers will offer you long-distance moving services and provide you with packing materials. You won’t have to lift a finger. And why should you? Even with a great HI plan, you can avoid moving heavy stuff, so let professionals handle it while you are preparing for the new adventure.