Moving to a New State: Do I Need New Health Insurance?
In most cases, you will need new health insurance if you are moving to a new state. Insurance is regulated at the state level so the laws will be different when you move. In some cases, you will be able to stay with the same insurance company but your benefits will probably change somewhat.
Having a gap in health insurance coverage is not a good thing so it is important to keep your coverage current. Because you usually need to be a state resident in order to receive insurance, this can be an issue. Research the laws of the state you are moving to and find out what your options are.
Are you moving due to a job transfer?
Your best-case scenario in terms of health insurance and a move is that you are moving because of a job transfer. Many businesses offer group health insurance that is valid in all of the states in which the company is located. In most instances, you will keep coverage with the company, although there may be some changes within the policy to fit with state laws.
Keeping your health insurance during the moving process is important, as having a gap in health coverage is not a good thing. If you have family that is covered under your policy, they will be able to keep their coverage with the move as well.
Does your current insurance company offer coverage in the new state?
If you currently have individual health insurance, check to see if the company that is covering you offers coverage in the state to which you are moving. In the case that it does, you probably do not have to change insurance companies or have a gap in coverage. Some of your benefits may differ, however, so you will need to do an insurance review and familiarize yourself with the new benefit plan.
Do you have an individual health insurance plan?
If you are currently insured under an individual plan and the company isn’t in your new state, finding health insurance in your new state may add additional headaches to the move. Individual health insurance is often more expensive than group insurance and most states will have restrictions for those applicants who have pre-existing conditions.
If you have always had a group plan through an employer but are unemployed or self-employed when you move, there are a number of things to be aware of in terms of individual plans. Insure U can help answer your questions.
Can you get health insurance through your new employer?
If you are moving to a new state for a new job, check with your employer to see if health benefits are offered. If so, this will allow you to get coverage under a group plan, which is preferable to an individual plan. A group plan often has more options, and if you have had medical conditions in the past they shouldn’t affect your ability to get coverage.
If you are joining a group plan, a pre-existing condition is not going to be an issue. The Insurance Information Institute reports that in 1997 HIPPA mandated that pre-existing conditions had to be covered without a waiting period if that individual had been insured for 12 months previously.
What are health insurance options for the short term?
If you are starting a new job, are self-employed, or if your current insurance company does not offer coverage in the state you are moving to, you will more than likely need temporary insurance while you are moving and getting settled. This will ensure that there is no coverage gap.
If you had coverage through your last employer, you may have the option of getting coverage through the COBRA program. Healthcare.gov advises that you have the opportunity to sign up for coverage up to 60 days after your previous group plan in order to be eligible. You can get coverage under COBRA for up to 18 months.
With COBRA, you can continue with the same plan from your previous employer. The difference is that you are responsible for the entire premium as opposed to your employer paying it. It will help you keep coverage continuously, however, and your family members can continue being covered as well.
Another option is a temporary or short-term health insurance policy. The coverage period for this type of policy is anywhere from a few months to a year. It is similar to an individual policy, although there are certain things that would not be covered. Pre-existing conditions are not covered through temporary policies, nor is maternity care.
Although short-term coverage is usually affordable, it should only be used on a temporary basis. As soon as you can get health insurance through an employer or find an individual policy, you will find that they have better benefits in the long-term.