Are you planning to relocate and wonder how to keep health insurance when moving to another state? It is very responsible of you to think about this, and if you didn’t move recently and didn’t understand how this system actually works, this article might be helpful. We’ll try to explain everything about transferring health insurance to another state and simple steps that will lead to enjoying all of your previous benefits even at the new location while keeping your privacy.
Why Is Health Insurance Important?
Fundamentally speaking, this is one of the key economic components because of its essential social and economic role in covering personal and business risks. This is one of the most relevant and politicized topics in the US. If you look at some statistics, you’ll get pretty impressive numbers – almost 300 million residents in the US in 2019 had some kind of health insurance (HI) – this is close to 92% of the entire population.
The system is a mix of both public and private insurers, but overall, statistics show that the main form of insurance is a private one. Results from the same study show that half of these people received their form through their employers, while about 34% of them were covered under public programs – Medicare and Medicaid. Still, without a universal system, millions of people remain uninsured every year. Medicare-for-all health plans are divided, but in general, there is more support for single-payer systems.
What Is the Health Insurance Marketplace?
This term, also known as HI exchange, is a place (online and in-person) where clients in the US are allowed to purchase individual, or family HI plans in privacy so they can receive income-based subsidies to make coverage and different care services more affordable. It usually costs more than Medicaid and, in most cases, won’t offer additional benefits and coverage. Once you qualify for Medicaid, you are not eligible for savings on Marketplace, so you’d have to pay full price for an individual plan.
Can You Transfer Health Insurance From One State to Another?
Once you decide you’re relocating to another state, you might wonder, “do I have to change health insurance if I move out of state?” Unfortunately, this is not one of the things you can keep when relocating – you’ll need a new health plan. As soon as you find enough reasons to move and start preparing for a move, you should report that to the Marketplace. This is one of the most important things to do when relocating to a new home, so you shouldn’t make a common relocation mistake and forget about it. Once you report that move is happening, you’ll enroll yourself into a different plan and avoid unnecessary payments for coverage you won’t be able to use once you move. If you need additional help so you can focus on these obligations, getting professional packing services is always a convenient option.
How to Report Your Move?
In case that you’re moving out for the first time, you might not be familiar with this process:
- If you’re changing the state, your coverage options will change as well, and you’ll no longer be eligible for your current plan,
- A new one means different prices and savings may be available,
- To get access to a different policy in another state, you’ll have to start a Marketplace application or apply through the government’s official website (this is possible if the area runs its own Marketplace),
- You’ll get screen-by-screen uploading directions with pictures in PDF once you log in to Healthcare.gov.
In case that you’re relocating to a different city within the same state, your coverage and savings won’t change based on changing your address. This doesn’t mean you don’t have to transfer your utilities and avoid getting mail from previous residents or paying bills for two different locations at once.
How Long Do I Have to Change My HI After Moving?
When moving out of state, your health insurance might be transferred without a break if you report your move in advance – the sooner you know, the better. Once you log in to your profile, you’ll get an option to select the year you want coverage and select the desired region.
You’ll need to start a Marketplace application and enroll in a plan in your new state. How you apply depends on whether your current living area uses HealthCare.gov or its own website. If this particular option isn’t available, this might mean that your state runs its own Marketplace. Check this, and if you find its official website, you can use it to apply or send an email to authorities. This list of websites might be helpful if you want to ensure you’re on the right track.
Once you find the right option, all you need to do is click “Apply or Renew” to start an application on HealthCare.gov. After you’re done with this part of the process and get the confirmation email, you’ll also get a chance to see plans and prices that are available for you and complete your enrollment after choosing the most suitable option.
Is Permanent Move a Qualifying Event for Health Insurance?
If you’re not familiar with this procedure, you should know that there are 12 qualifying events for this:
- Involuntary loss of policies,
- Individual plan renewal,
- Becoming a dependent or gaining one,
- Becoming a US citizen or lawfully present resident,
- A permanent move,
- An error with enrollment,
- Your employer-sponsored plan doesn’t provide minimum value,
- Your recent income increase moves you out of the coverage gap,
- Gaining access to a QSEHRA or Individual HRA,
- An income or circumstance that makes you newly eligible or ineligible for subsidies or CSR.
As you can see, relocation is one of the qualifying events for this, but you’ll need proof to ensure the transition goes as planned.
A Permanent Move to a New State Is a Qualifying Event
As long as you move to an area where different QHPs (Qualified Health Plan) are available, the special enrollment period is there for applicants who already had minimum essential HI in force for at least one of the 60 days prior to the move. The only exception is for people that are coming back to the US from abroad, newly released from incarceration, or previously in some kind of a coverage gap in a state that didn’t expand Medicaid. A permanent move will trigger a special open enrollment period because different programs and systems might be provided. In some cases, even moving within the same region can be a qualifying event. This is the case in states where different QHPs are connected to certain regions and areas.
What if You Live in One Place and Work in Another?
The general rule is to buy insurance in the state where you live. In case that your time is split between multiple states, your life insurance should be bought in a state where you spend the most of your time.
Information for Insurance Shopping in a New State
Most of the uncertainty about changing states and relocation stress has now vanished with provisions of the new law. If you don’t immediately have a permanent home when changing states, you are still eligible to get QHP as long as you are determined to stay there.
Affordable Care Act Makes This Process Easier
If you need to buy QHP, the Affordable Care Act can make this process much more simple and help you move efficiently. Under the 2010 HI law coined as “Obamacare,” once you have a permanent move, you become eligible to buy QHP in different states. This law allows you to select a plan right away. If your area doesn’t run the exchange, you are allowed to use the federal exchange. For a stress-free relocation, the Affordable Care Act has many additional benefits.
What Are the Options for Students and People Under the Age of 26?
Unfortunately, you can’t cover QHP for your children who move to a college dorm in another part of the country. Although it might seem easier, they cannot be under your QHP. This is why it is essential to verify if the student is able to find in-network medical providers in the area. The good news is that some insurers have contracts with companies in other states, so you can make a compromise under their policy. In other cases, you’ll need to select a different QHP.
Among 30% of Young Adults Don’t Have Coverage Which Is Very Risky
Although you might not worry about QHP while you’re writing your college packing list because you have a lot of other things on your mind, think again. You’re young and probably in good health, but you can never be careful enough, especially with the Corona pandemic and everything currently happening. No matter if everything is currently under control, you still want to ensure to move safely and have some kind of policy in case of emergency. This won’t get you saddled with additional debt.
Statistics show that young adults have the highest uninsured rate of any group. The same statistics show that about 30% of young adults don’t have HI, which leaves them in jeopardy if they face some medical treatments. The average treatment for a broken leg costs about $7,500, while the three-day stay at the hospital might cost you $30,000. Let’s face it – covering these bills on your own can be a great attack on your budget, so ensure you include some QHP into your relocation expenses checklist.
5 Best Plans for College Students in 2021
If you’re in college, you have multiple options when it comes to QHP. One of the options is HI from your parents (unless you’re in a separate region) or a school-offered program. If some policy you require isn’t available, you can look for the policy on your own. According to plan cost, coverage options, and provider network, some of the best options you can get in 2021:
- Cigna – Best Overall,
- Aetna – Best affordable option,
- Everest – Best as a short-term option,
- IMG – Most suitable for international students.
This video might be helpful in choosing the right plan.
Now That You Know All About Necessary Changes in Health Insurance When Moving to Another State, It Is Time to Plan Your Move
Now that you’re familiar with this whole procedure and know some of the convenient information and relocation hacks that will help you go through this transition smoother, the only thing left is to handle your other responsibilities. Sure, taking care of your QHP should be one of the priorities on your moving-out list, but you still have a lot of things to take care of.
If you want the whole transition to go as smoothly as possible, one of the best things you can do is hire professional cross-country movers and get their relocation services. This way, you’ll ensure the whole process goes without any complications, and you’ll have enough time to focus on important responsibilities, such as switching and choosing the right programs for you and your family – nothing is more important than your well-being.