What to Do With Health Insurance When Moving to Another State

Dealing with health insurance when moving to another state is one of the crucial steps of a long-distance relocation. While we don’t support people stepping into hypochondriac thinking, being safe rather than sorry is definitely a saying to keep in mind. After all, once you move away, you are no longer covered by your home-state plan, so it’s crucial to find an affordable and all-encompassing plan that will shelter you from spending your entire savings if anything was to go wrong.

Trico Long Distance Movers
December 1, 2021 Posted in Moving Tips

Having a Health Insurance When Moving to Another State Is an Important Aspect of the Move

Whenever a person decides to move to another state, there are a bunch of tasks to figure out prior to relocating efficiently. These include quite a bit of dreaded bureaucracy: from changing your address to figuring out the important documents you need, and finally consulting your relocation budget on optimal ways to cover amenities, such as education, transportation, and last but definitely not least – healthcare.

Even in the times of Coronavirus relocations, most people (especially young ones) gladly take up the opportunity not to spend on preventive medical measures. After all, if you are an overall healthy person who trains and eats well, why would you spend on coverage, right? Well, the truth is that at the end of the day, we are all bodily creatures, and bodies have ways of malfunctioning and surprising us when we expect it the least.

And when sickness or accidents arise (which they inevitably do), it’s better not to pay a fortune out of pocket. Additionally, medicine is about more than just treating illnesses. For long and prosperous life, it’s crucial to do preventative check-ups and be on top of your health. And while we know relocation is expensive, trust us when we tell you that the worst relocation mistake you could ever make is trying to save on moving costs by ditching medical benefits.

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Let’s Start With the Basic Information on the US System

If you are a US citizen, up until this point in your life, you’ve surely had to deal with the medical system. And our guess is that you’ve also had to ponder how to obtain medical coverage that would both protect you thoroughly and not devastate your savings. This is basically a universal American experience since US medical services rank high in the world, yet unfortunately have the prices to match.

US Medical Coverage Isn’t Universal, But Obamacare Made Medical Service More Available to Millions of People

US citizens don’t have any universal health coverage to lay claim over by birth. On the contrary, it is expected of each person to find ways to finance their medical plan or find ways to have their coverage financed by a third party. Most often, it falls on the employers to cover their workers’ plans.

Obamacare, which was introduced in 2010, made the coverage more available and affordable, providing subsidies to employers who cover their employees and forbidding insurers to refuse policies to people with pre-existing conditions. However, medicare in the US is still quite pricey compared to the rest of the world.

For a short and thorough explanation of the Affordable Care Act and more information on the subject, check out the following video.

What Are the Most Common Ways of Obtaining Medical Services in the US?

As previously mentioned, the US healthcare system isn’t universal, but rather citizens are covered by private insurance in addition to federal and state programs that vary in degree of coverage and availability requirements. What is important to understand about US medical insurance is that, while there are federal laws that encompass the entire country, each member state has its own laws and regulations that ultimately dictate medical service availability inside of its borders.

What Is a Health Insurance Marketplace?

HI Marketplace is a website designated to help individuals search for affordable coverage plans under Obamacare. It allows you to find the proper plans suited to what you personally need, require, and are able to afford. The Marketplace is designated for people who aren’t covered with any other type of plans. And while insurance is privately obtained, the Marketplace ensures that every healthcare plan offers a preconditioned set of benefits that include some of the following:

  • Doctor visits,
  • Preventive check-ups,
  • Hospitalization costs,
  • Pregnancy and childbirth services,
  • Mental health services,
  • Prescription drugs.

Most Employed Adults Have a Work-Based Medical Plan

Whenever one starts to work at a new job, medical coverage program is always an important topic to discuss with an employer. And if you are relocating, we do recommend sending out an email on the subject as soon as possible. Because if it turns out that you aren’t insured by your employer, it’s important that you find a different way to cover yourself and to have the time and privacy to do so.

Employer-sponsored programs will vary depending on many factors and will ultimately determine the program a person and their dependents (partner and children) will obtain. Under Obamacare, an employer mandate was introduced in order to increase employer participation, as well as the number of people who’ll be covered medically. In case a company refuses to abide by the rules and regulations, it risks getting penalized.

Cover Your Medical Plan Through an Affordable Means Like Medicaid, Medicare, or CHIP

There are still ways to ensure you are covered by a policy if you have to have a medical intervention, even if you are not an employed individual. And choosing among these options will depend on your needs as well as your financial capabilities. Most often, people choose one of the following programs:

  • Medicaid – To qualify for Medicaid, you’ll have to be part of one of the eligible groups, such as a low-income family, be receiving SSI, a qualified pregnant woman, or other. To find out about your Medicaid benefits, call 800-252-8263, 2-1-1, or 877-541-7905 and learn more.
  • Medicare – If you are over the age of 65 or a younger person with a disability, you are eligible for the Medicare federal program. However, Medicare isn’t as comprehensive of a program as Medicaid and thus often requires the individual to purchase additional sets of services that aren’t covered by the basic policy, such as Part D or Medicare Advantage.
  • CHIP – Established in 1997, CHIP was introduced as a children’s program that helps lower-income families who aren’t covered by other programs such as Medicaid. It amounts up to just over $150 annually per child, which is much lower than other programs would amount to. So, anyone relocating with kids should research CHIP availability for their family members.
A person choosing between two medicines
Choosing the right program for you or a family member requires considering one's needs and options to be able to make the right choice

Can You Transfer Health Insurance from One State to Another?

Those who aren’t relocating across the world, but rather to a different state within the US often pose the question: can I use my health insurance in another state? Unfortunately, citizens aren’t able to keep their previous program when relocating to a new state alone, or with their family members for that matter. Rather you’ll have to cancel your former cover program before you move, and apply for a different one as soon as possible.

How to Transfer Health Insurance to Another State?

As previously mentioned, in most cases you won’t be able to exactly transfer your insurance. What you can do is start a Marketplace application, or apply for a different federal or state-provided program. The process starts by reporting the decision to move to the HI Marketplace via the Healthcare website.

You’ll want to place this task on the top of your priorities in the to-do list, even if you are moving last minute. You won’t want to be paying for services you aren’t using, so don’t procrastinate and invoke unnecessary relocation stress while waiting for the government’s approval via email. Remember – this doesn’t apply to those relocating to a new city within the same state.

How Long After Moving Do I Have to Change My Health Insurance?

Certain circumstances allow people to apply for HI under special conditions i.e. out of the normal enrollment times. In such a situation a person gets the period of 60 days, or two months, to apply for a healthcare program after relocating. That means you’ll have enough time to decide on a policy in your own privacy and refrain from making big decisions without thorough consideration.

While that may seem like a long enough period, time slips fast when you start living on your own. For this reason, it is crucial to organize your move properly and apply to change your program in a timely manner, so that you don’t miss out on this time period.

Is Moving to a New State a Qualifying Event for Health Insurance?

A qualifying event is a life circumstance that alters your eligibility to a policy or lets you sign up for a different one due to a change in circumstances. No matter your reason to move, relocation is considered to be among the qualifying life events to enroll for a medical program in a special enrollment period. There are eleven other qualifying events that include the following:

  • Involuntary loss of protection,
  • Individual plan renewal,
  • Becoming a dependent or gaining a dependant,
  • Marriage,
  • Divorce or marriage annulment,
  • Becoming a naturalized US citizen or a legal resident,
  • An error with enrollment,
  • Lacking qualities of the employer-sponsored plan that make a person eligible for other policies,
  • An income increase that leaves you out of a former program,
  • An income decrease that makes you newly eligible for subsidies,
  • Gaining access to a QSEHRA or Individual HRA.
A medical worker writing
A relocation is a life event that qualifies you to apply for HI enrollment under special circumstances

What Are Some Other Ways to Obtain Moving Out of State Health Insurance?

If you aren’t using HI Marketplace, you can decide on other policies or programs. The simplest one, of course, is to get a job in a different state and leave all the heavy lifting to your future employer. If this isn’t on your list of things to do, there are other ways to obtain medical services. One of them is to expand your plan for a period of sixteen months through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. This way, you’ll be able to use family and individual premiums too.

Short-Term Plans Are a Good Alternative to Transferring Health Insurance to Another State

If you are cross country moving and are still jobless and intending to stay so, you might decide on a short-term program for the time being. Short-terms are available through any federal program, and they ensure you’ll be covered in case any emergencies or major problems arise. Such plans can cover you for a period of time that lasts anywhere from a month to a year. However, we recommend reading up thoroughly on these plans and what type of coverage they provide before settling on one.

An emergency hospital sign
Short-term policies aren't long-term solutions, but they do keep you safe in case of emergencies

Don’t Worry About Relocation Insurance – Long Distance Moving Services Will Keep You Covered

While cross-country movers aren’t able to provide you with health insurance, they can protect your things while they travel to your future home. And although you are currently more concerned about your well-being than your inventory, having a long-distance moving company by your side isn’t a small thing in the context of a move.

This is also why so many people research ”long distance movers near me” and decide to hire a relocation company – because they are aware that only full packing service and professional auto transport will ensure their belongings are safe. And relocation insurance is an important factor in having peace of mind while the cargo travels to the address of their choice – whether it’s a storage unit or a residential address. So, don’t take hiring movers lightly, but rather make it another priority in the checklist of your move.

Amelia Mead

Originally from Chicago, currently everywhere, Amelia is a freelance writer working on bringing all the moving tips to you.

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