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Posted in Moving Essentials, Moving Preparation, Moving Tips&Tricks on April 29, 2022
Hannah Michaelson

Hannah is a freelance relocation writer from NYC that has become an expert on packing and unpacking.

How to Deal With Health Insurance When Moving to Another State

Do I have to change health insurance if I move out of state? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. You will have to sort your health insurance when moving to another state. It is important to deal with this task in time, and ideally, the enrollment should be taken care of before the relocation starts. We don’t intend to frighten you, but the procedure is not that simple. Therefore, information on it will be more than useful.

Is It Mandatory to Get New Health Insurance When Moving to Another State?

If you are moving out of state, health insurance (HI) will have to be on your relocation checklist, especially now, during coronavirus. If you are wondering why that is so, the healthcare insurance companies are limited only to their respective states. Therefore, when relocating cross-country to a different home, you will automatically be under the jurisdiction of different providers.

You may have heard that healthcare companies have a special policy for interstate relocations, and that is true. However, this policy can vary greatly across states. Often, it is the case that an interstate plan provides coverage only for emergencies. We will touch upon these intestate plans as well. Nonetheless, it is best to contact the company and acquire all the needed information.

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Let’s Start With the Basic Information – Am I Obligated to Have Coverage?

Up to 2017, there was a policy that legally obliged every US citizen to have coverage. Consequently, there was a penalty for not having one. However, as of 2017, this law has been annulled, and there isn’t a federal penalty anymore. But, on an individual level, states have the right to penalize you for not being insured. Therefore, when relocating from the West Coast to the East Coast, for example, you need to check what the particular state’s policy on this is. It may be completely different.

Whatever the Regulation May Be, It Is Best to Have Health Insurance

There are many things to consider when moving to a new location, especially if you have decided against hiring a long-distance moving company. Relocation entails transporting furniture and other heavy objects, packing a truck, and unpacking. In short, relocation involves many high-risk tasks. You have to be aware of the fact that there is a danger of injuries.

Therefore, when relocating, particularly if it’s for the first time, it is best to ask yourself: Are there any long-distance movers near me? A cross-country moving company can provide you with packing services and, if needed, storage services. Above all, this means that there will be no need to expose yourself to dangerous situations, as everything will be done by professionals.

Document and stethoscope
Regardless of the circumstances, it is always best to be covered

Various Things Have to Be Considered When Looking For a New Healthcare Plan

First of all, you have to see if a certain plan will suit your moving budget and whether it will not impact the cost of living much. But the financial aspect is not the only one that you should examine. You need to be sure that a certain company will protect your privacy since they will basically know everything about you, from the email address to medical history. Therefore, the protection of privacy is highly important.

Unfortunately, there are many irresponsible, even shady, businesses which are not part of the official government’s Marketplace (further explanation later). Therefore, be meticulous when doing research. Don’t even give your email if you have not confirmed that it is a legitimate business. Basically, the procedure is pretty much the same as when looking for reliable cross-country movers. Start from internet reviews, and when you find something, don’t hesitate to call or contact them via email and ask about their privacy policies.

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There Are Companies That Offer Interstate Plans

There are two options when it comes to interstate plans, but be careful when opting for this. The programs differ greatly from one location to another, coverage is not the same, and you have to be sure what a plan includes. And keep this in mind when organizing your move that these programs are more expensive than the usual services. Nevertheless, let us see what programs exist:

  • Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) – This is the most popular type of interstate program that is available. The reason for its popularity is that you will not have to go to in-network hospitals but can choose any.
  • Point of Service (POS) – This plan is cheaper than the former. But with this one, you can only go to in-network hospitals. Nonetheless, if you are moving without a job, we definitely would not recommend these programs.

Corporations Often Provide Coverages for Their Employees

If you work for a major corporation, transferring health insurance to another state probably won’t be a problem. The federal law states that a company has to reimburse half the price of coverage, which makes it much more affordable. However, it is often the case that a major corporation has a special agreement with a certain healthcare provider who covers the cities where offices are located.

If that is the case, you won’t have to worry about how to transfer health insurance to another state. When moving to another city for a job, be sure to check with your employers about what the company provides. Oftentimes, enrollment is not even required, especially if you are a part of some highly influential corporation.

A smiling woman holding papers
Many companies cover their workers

Make Use of the Open Enrollment Period

During the Open Enrollment Period, each US citizen has the right to apply for coverage. Therefore, it is important to know when this period starts. Ideally, your relocation should take place after that moment. This means that finding suitable coverage should be one of the first points on your moving to-do list.

Don’t Worry, It Is Possible to Find a New, Affordable Plan After This Period, too

There is also the Special Enrollment Period, during which people can enroll as well. However, certain criteria have to be met in order to be eligible for this. You need to have a qualifying event to report. Qualifying events are bereavement, divorce, marriage, and other highly impactful situations. But, most importantly, relocation is also considered to be a qualifying event.

Therefore, if it’s a last-minute relocation, you can still qualify for coverage. It is important to know that this special period starts on the day of relocation and lasts for 60 days, which is more than enough to find something suitable. Also, only people who have already been insured prior to relocation have the right to use this period.

Get a Program According to Your Financial Situation

We have mentioned this issue above, but it is important to know where to look for reliable information when deciding on a program. Again, one of the best moving tips is to do thorough research before even thinking about hiring long-distance moving services. Let us see what the most useful web pages are:

  • Start with the official government’s website for healthcare coverages, usually referred to as the Marketplace. Here you can find all official programs available in the country. All US citizens that are not incarcerated have the right to create an account on this platform. When you enter your location, the website will automatically generate all available companies in that area. Furthermore, if something suitable is found, you can apply immediately on the internet. But, of course, all contact information will be provided if you have any additional questions. Also, it is important to know that some states have their own private companies. Nevertheless, they have to use the Marketplace as their official platform, but there is a possibility that their offers are more suitable.
  • In case you have decided to change your workplace and location, be sure to check the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). Law states that you have the right to retain a healthcare program 36 months after quitting your job, but only if the provider covers the new location that you are relocating to. Nonetheless, keep in mind that this can turn out to be an expensive solution as the employer is not obligated to cover any expenses once you have left the workplace. Nonetheless, you can decide not to apply for COBRA. In that case, you’ll have to apply through the Marketplace.
  • If you have, unfortunately, lost your employment during the pandemic, be sure to check for emergency programs that the government provides.

Can I Qualify for Medicare and Medicaid?

These are the two most affordable programs available in the country. However, you have to meet all the requirements in order to be eligible. Let us see the main outlines of these two plans:

  • Medicare – People with disabilities and those older than 65 are the only groups that are eligible for this program. The best thing about Medicare is that it covers almost the entire country. Therefore, if you meet the requirements, there probably won’t be any need to change anything. But it won’t hurt to contact or email the service if you are unsure about something.
  • Medicaid – People who are using welfare programs, kids, and women in labor have the right to apply. You should definitely consider this if you are moving with a newborn. However, be aware that income is the main factor when it comes to deciding who is eligible, and it can differ across the states. Nevertheless, be sure to explore this option, especially if moving costs seem overwhelming.

Here is a useful video that provides insight into Medicaid and Medicare programs.

YouTube video

What Should I Do if I Am a Student?

When moving to another location alone as a student, there are definitely things that you should be aware of. First of all, the law states that everyone under the age of 26 can be covered by their parents’ programs. However (and you may have guessed it,) this will only work if the provider covers the location that you are going to.

If the location is not covered by that provider, you can always purchase a program. But luckily, there are other options that you can explore in this situation as well:

  • The educational facility can provide you with a HI program. Of course, you have to check what the requirements are.
  • As a student, you have the right to apply for Medicaid.
A road sign
Different states offer different programs

A Stitch in Time Saves Nine

As you can see, this is no laughing matter. Therefore, after deciding where to live, immediately start looking into this issue. Procrastination is one of the biggest moving mistakes that you can make. There will be a lot of anxiety when relocating, and taking care of these important issues on time will relieve a lot of pressure.

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