Moving Your Plan When You’re on the Move

What you need to know about your coverage when you relocate

Updated on: February 1, 2020

Originally posted on: July 31, 2015
The Roadmap for Medicare staff specialize in all topics related to Medicare Part D, choosing a Medicare plan, and making smart health decisions in retirement.

There are many things to think about when you’re moving, such as finding a new home or adjusting to a new neighborhood. Finding a new Medicare Part D plan might be overlooked. Whether you’re moving to a new state or a snowbird that migrates to a warmer climate during the colder months, it’s important to know how relocating can affect your Medicare Part D coverage.

Your options will vary based on where you’re going, so it’s important to plan ahead. Call your Medicare Part D plan if you have any concerns about how moving will affect your coverage.

Mapping out Your Options

Moving to a new location in your current plan’s service area:

  • Let’s say you’re moving within the same state (for example, Tampa to Fort Lauderdale). In this situation, you won’t need to switch plans, although you may be able to qualify for a special enrollment period (SEP) if additional plan options are now available to you in your new city. Either way, you’ll need to share your new address with the Social Security Administration, your Part D plan, your pharmacy and your doctor(s).

Moving to a new location outside your current plan’s service area:

  • In this situation, you can switch to a new plan. Timing is important and may be confusing. There are two different scenarios — alerting your plan before or after you move.Before you move: For example, if you’re moving on June 1, you can alert your plan up to 1 month in advance (May 1). Your ability to switch plans continues for 2 full months after you move (in this example, through August 1).After you move: You’re able to switch plans for 2 full months after the date you call and alert them of your move. For example, if you move on June 1, but don’t call for new coverage until July 15, you’ll be able to switch plans through September 15.

Before You Move

Regardless of where you’re moving, here are some helpful hints for an easy and safe transition:

  • Create a Medication List that includes your prescription and over-the-counter medications’ name, strength, dosing schedule, and the condition for which you’re being treated. Be sure to include any medication to which you’re allergic and carry it with you at all times, perhaps in a wallet or handbag.
  • Write down the names and phone numbers of your current doctors and pharmacy. Keep it handy in case of emergencies or if needed at doctors’ appointments.
  • Schedule a check-up with your primary care physician before you leave. Bring the medication list to the appointment so nothing is overlooked. Ask for prescriptions to be updated with renewals or additional refills.
  • Fill or refill any eligible prescriptions before you leave.

If you’re moving abroad, remember that except for rare cases, healthcare outside the U.S. isn’t covered under Medicare. Moreover, Part D does not cover prescriptions filled outside the U.S. If you’re a snowbird, be sure that you sign up for a Part D plan in the state of your primary residence.

Speak with your current plan’s Customer Service department or your pharmacist to identify in-network retail pharmacies in your new location or close to your second home.

A little preparation goes a long way. A few simple steps can help you get back to focusing on your next exciting chapter. Moving can cause a lot of stress — but your Medicare Part D plan shouldn’t have to.