Moving This Summer? Your Health Plan May Stay Behind

Jenifer Dorsey
2018-09-12 May 23rd, 2016 |
Read time: 14 minutes

The bulk of moves take place in the summer, between May and September.1 For many families, it’s a natural time to relocate. School is out and these months coincide with the year’s nicest weather in most states.

If you are planning to relocate—to another city, another state or another country—don’t forget about your health insurance. Your life transition may require you to get new coverage and could mean a brief gap between major medical plans.

Health insurance moving guide

What happens to your health insurance plan when you move? It may go with you. It may not.

The answer to this question depends on factors such as where you’re going and what kind of coverage you have. This brief guide covers common situations, including:

Changing addresses within the same city

Relocating to a different city in the same state

Moving to another state

Leaving the country

The information below predominantly applies to individuals and families who buy their own health insurance coverage, either in the private health insurance market or through a state-based or federally facilitated Obamacare exchange.

Changing addresses within the same city

If you move from one apartment or house to another in the same ZIP code, your health insurance policy should remain in place.

Need new coverage? Probably not

Action items:

  • Update your address with your health insurance company by calling them or using their online portal.

Relocating to a different city in the same state

Heading to a new ZIP code in a new county? Expect changes to your health insurance. Because you may be moving into an area with new medical costs, your rates could change. Also, plan and company availability varies even within the same state, which means your current insurance company and/or plan may or may not remain an option. Depending on what is or is not offered in your new area, you could have to switch plans and, possibly, companies.

Change in coverage? Possibly

Action items:

  • Contact a health insurance producer or a state-based or federally facilitated exchange to determine whether or not your move is a qualifying life event that makes you eligible for a special enrollment period. Special enrollment periods allow you to purchase a new Obamacare plan outside of open enrollment in the private market or through a state-based or federally facilitated exchange. SEPs typically last about 60 days from the date of your qualifying life event.
  • If you are moving to a new area where you are not familiar with the medical providers talk to a professional advisor before you make your plan choice. Choosing the right provider network is a determining factor in if you are satisfied with your health plan.
  • Enroll in a new health plan—either with a health insurance producer, through a health insurance company or via state-based or federally facilitated exchange
  • Contact your current health insurance company to inquire about plan options in your new place of residence and cancel your existing policy
  • Enroll in a short term health insurance plan for temporary benefits while you are in between Obamacare plans. Short term policies last as few as 30 days, just long enough to get you through an employer waiting period or the weeks leading up to your new plan effective date. Coverage begins as early as the next day.

Find a Short-Term Plan Now

Short term plans are not ACA compliant, which means they do not fulfill the individual shared responsibility provision and you can be denied coverage based on your health history. However, short term health insurance benefits cover many unexpected medical expenses—and possibly some preventive care, depending on the plan you select.

Moving to another state

Crossing state lines? Your health plan probably won’t. Again, you will be moving to a new risk pool area, which means you can expect your rate to change. Furthermore, state health plans and carriers vary.

Change in coverage? Yes

Action items:

  • Contact a health insurance producer or a state-based or federally facilitated exchange to determine whether or not your move is a qualifying life event that makes you eligible for a special enrollment period. Special enrollment periods allow you to purchase a new Obamacare plan outside of open enrollment in the private market or through a state-based or federally facilitated exchange. SEPs typically last about 60 days from the date of your qualifying life event.
  • If you are moving to a new area where you are not familiar with the medical providers talk to a professional advisor before you make your plan choice. Choosing the right provider network is a determining factor in if you are satisfied with your health plan.
  • Enroll in a new health plan—either with a health insurance producer, through a health insurance company or via state-based or federally facilitated exchange
  • Contact your current health insurance company to inquire about plan options in your new place of residence and cancel your existing policy
  • Enroll in a short term health insurance plan for temporary benefits while you are in between Obamacare plans. Short term policies last as few as 30 days, just long enough to get you through an employer waiting period or the weeks leading up to your new plan effective date. Coverage begins as early as the next day.

Short-Term Plans in Minutes

Short term plans are not ACA compliant, which means they do not fulfill the individual shared responsibility provision and you can be denied coverage based on your health history. However, short term health insurance benefits cover many unexpected medical expenses—and possibly some preventive care, depending on the plan you select.

Leaving the country

When you move abroad, the rules of change a bit when it comes to health insurance. Under the Affordable Care Act, you must live in the United States to buy health insurance from a state-based or federally facilitated exchange.2 Additionally, U.S. citizens living in a foreign country for at least 330 days of a 12-month period are, for that 12-month period, exempt from the ACA’s individual shared responsibility provision.3

Even if you keep your current health insurance plan, it is unlikely to provide coverage beyond the United States.

Change in coverage? Yes

Action items:

  • Explore your expat health insurance options. Contact your current health insurance company to see what options they might have for you, or work with a health insurance producer to find coverage.

Help with the “heavy lifting”

Perhaps you’ve hired movers to help you transfer your household and a real estate agent to assist you in finding the right place to land. Similarly, working with a health insurance producer can help you explore your coverage options both while you are in flux and after you are settled.

Call the number at the top of your screen to speak with a certified advisor who can assist you with short term options as well as supplemental plans to help you save on healthcare with a short term or Obamacare plan.

 

Begin Coverage in 3 Easy Steps!

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Step 3: Finish application online
Originally Published On May 23rd, 2016

Footnotes