Many retired people enjoy travel and may even live in more than one state. We also know that wealthy snowbirds have flocked to Oahu and Kauai for years as a retreat from the cold, winter months in their home state. If you’re reaching the Medicare age of eligibility soon and you have a second residence outside Hawaii or you plan to travel frequently to a state on the mainland – say to visit your children and grandchildren- then you may be wondering if you can have Medicare in two states?
Can You Have Medicare in Two States?
You can have Medicare if you live in two states, but you must choose one location as your primary residence and enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B in that state. Your primary residence will be the state where you hold your driver’s license, register to vote, and file taxes. If you live in two states and have Medicare coverage, you should ensure Medicare has your permanent address on file.
Choosing a Medicare plan if you live in two states
If you live in two states or travel frequently between states it’s important to choose the right Medicare plan because some are better suited for travel than others.
Original Medicare is a federal health insurance plan that provides hospital and outpatient coverage in every state in the country. The only thing beneficiaries need to look for is a healthcare provider who accepts Medicare assignment. The good news is that most health care providers, hospitals, and medical suppliers accept assignment, which means that they accept the Medicare-approved amount as full payment for services.
Original Medicare with Medigap/Supplemental Insurance
What Medigap plan do you get if you spend time in two states? Medigap plans or Medicare Supplement plans are federal plans that cover some or all of the out-of-pocket costs that traditional Medicare doesn’t cover such as copays, deductibles, and coinsurance for services covered by Medicare. Original Medicare combined with Medigap or a Medicare supplement plan is the most popular choice for Americans who live in two states because Original Medicare and Medigap coverage are not limited by a network.
In Hawaii, there are 10 federally standardized plans identified by the letters A-N. While each plan with a particular letter category includes identical benefits, the cost of the plan may vary from insurer to insurer and depending on the plan’s location. Therefore, your primary residence will affect the cost of your Medigap plan.
Medicare Supplement plans for international travelers:
If you enjoy frequent travel outside of the U.S. or U.S. territories, it’s a good idea to choose a Medigap plan that covers foreign travel emergency expenses. Plans C, D, F, G, M, and N cover 80% of foreign travel emergency expenses but Plans M and N are the most affordable.
Part D prescription drug coverage
Part D prescription drug plans are sold through private health insurers and work alongside your Original Medicare insurance (or a Medicare Advantage plan that does not cover prescription drugs). If you fill prescription drugs outside of the plan’s service area, you may be subject to higher copayments so it will be important to enroll in a plan with a nationwide pharmacy network if you live in two states or travel frequently.
Medicare Advantage plans
Medicare Advantage plans are popular with Medicare beneficiaries because most offer “one-stop-shop” coverage with Parts A and B plus dental, hearing, vision, and prescription drugs. Unlike Original Medicare and Medigap plans, most Medicare Advantage plans involve networks of health care providers and hospitals. This means that if Advantage plan members cannot find an in-network provider in both states, they could end up paying a higher cost or the total cost of services during the time they are living away from their primary residence. This is why it’s so important to make sure that a Medicare Advantage plan provides the health and prescription drug coverage you need in all your locations before enrolling. A Medicare agent is trained to help you verify these details so you can choose the right plan.
Choosing the right Medicare plan for you
If you travel out of state often or live in two states, you will need a health insurance plan that is accessible wherever you go. A local Medicare agent can help you find the best type of coverage for you.
Our independent insurance agents are dedicated to assisting people on Medicare and those who are ready to transition from employer coverage to personal retirement coverage. We help kupuna understand their benefits options and apply for additional coverage, as needed. We are the only insurance agency in Hawaii contracted with EVERY Medicare Advantage plan, which means we are able to offer unbiased advice; all at no cost to our clients.
At PBC, our clients are our number one priority and we look forward to getting to know you and your needs. Call us today at (808) 738-4500 to see how we may be of assistance.