An estimated 7.1 million Americans move to a new state each year. For the most part, these are younger folks. Most retirees stay put but a big move is not unheard of. If one of your clients and their families decide they’re moving, you should be prepared to answer their questions.
First, advise your client to contact the Social Security Administration (or the Railroad Retirement Board if that applies) with their updated contact information and address. This establishes their current residency. Medicare eligibles can update their information by calling 1-800-772-1213 Monday through Friday 7am to 7pm, or they can go to their local Social Security office, or go online to https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount
Creating a My Social Security account is a good idea even if your client is not collecting retirement benefits just yet.
After Social Security is made aware of the move, the second step is helping your client decide if they want to keep their plan or switch to a new one. Depending on the type of policy they have, your client may get to keep his or her current coverage or they may need to choose a new plan.
If your client has a Medicare supplement policy (Medigap plan), they will be able to keep their current coverage in most states (Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin have different rules). It is a good idea to contact the carrier on behalf of your client if you are unsure of their options. Sometimes enrolling in a new Medicare supplement plan can be an option. However, your client need to go through an underwriting process.
The rules are a little different if your client is currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. Clients have one month before they move, and an additional two months after they complete their move, to notify their plan carrier. Regardless, clients will most likely have to change plans because HMO and PPO plans are based on coverage areas, contracted providers and hospital networks. If your client has a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan, they also might have to switch plans upon moving.
If you are going to help your client choose a new plan, make sure you are licensed in their new state.