Does Medicaid Transfer from One State to Another?

Medicare Benefits Solutions
Sep 20, 2021

Medicaid is a lifeline for many Americans with low income and limited resources. The Medicaid program provides access to healthcare services for individuals and families who qualify, and in most cases, there are household income restrictions that apply to eligibility.

About Medicaid

Ever since 1965, Medicaid has been providing health care benefits to individuals and families who meet the program’s income and asset requirements. 

Although Medicaid is regulated by the federal government, the program is administered on the state level. As such, medical benefits provided by Medicaid can vary from state to state. Additionally, requirements to receive Medicaid can vary across different states.

Each of the 50 states operates its own Medicaid program according to federal guidelines, but they have control over how the program is organized and administered. This means that eligibility and benefits for Medicaid can vary greatly from one state to another. 

If you are eligible for Medicaid and are receiving benefits in your current state of residence, you must follow a certain process to end your coverage and reapply for Medicaid in a different state if you move to a different state. 

Here’s a look at how to transfer your Medicaid coverage to another state if you are eligible.

Does Medicaid Transfer From One State to Another?

If you are looking for answers to the question, “can you transfer Medicaid coverage from state to state,” you’ve come to the right place. If you have Medicaid coverage in one state and are moving to another state, technically you can’t transfer that coverage to the new state you are moving to. 

Because each state has its own Medicaid program, transferring coverage from one state to another isn’t possible. Part of the reason for this is due to the individual regulations and eligibility requirements of each state, but another issue at hand is that the Medicaid program prohibits an individual from receiving benefits in two states at once. If it were possible to transfer coverage, a recipient would likely need to carry coverage in two states during the transfer period.

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How to Obtain New Medicaid Coverage When Moving

If you currently carry Medicaid coverage and you’re going to move to a new state, you will need to apply for benefits in the state to which you are moving. It’s often best to get this process started as early as possible so that benefits will be available once you establish residency in the new state.

Before you can re-apply for Medicaid in the new state, you must first close out your coverage in your old state of residence. The good news? You can apply for Medicaid as soon as you move because there’s no minimum residency time requirement. 

A new application will need to be filed in the state to which you are moving, and you will need to meet the state’s requirements for Medicaid even if you have previously qualified in a different state. Having Medicaid benefits in one state does not guarantee that you will qualify in another state.

To find out if you’re eligible for Medicaid in your new state, you can check the state’s Medicaid program website for information. You can also get in touch with the Medicaid office (the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services – CMS) in the local area where you are relocating. 

Switching Medicaid to Your New Home

During your reapplication process, you’ll be working with a Medicaid caseworker in your new state of residency. When your caseworker determines that your Medicaid coverage has been closed in your previous state, your new application is ready for processing. Whether you are re-applying for Medicaid benefits online or in person, you’ll need to have all of the required documents on hand before filling out your application. This ensures that the process goes quickly and smoothly.

After applying for Medicaid benefits, you should get your letter of approval within 15 to 90 days. In most instances, when applicants meet the state’s Medicaid eligibility requirements, their requalification date is the date of application and coverage is retroactive. This means that your medical care should still be eligible for coverage during the time between closing your old account and opening your new account.

It would be a good idea to check with the Medicaid office in your new state to find out exactly how long this retroactive period covers before closing out your old account.

Does Medicare Coverage Transfer From State to State?

Medicare is another type of healthcare coverage that is regulated by the federal government through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Unlike Medicaid, Medicare is transferable between states since it is a federal program that is administered on the state level.

You may face some changes when moving with Medicare, however, since you will likely need to find new providers. Additionally, depending on your plan, you may be limited to a certain network of providers in your area or risk paying higher healthcare costs.

Follow the Medicare Benefits blog for more information on switching your Medicare coverage to another state.

Moving as a Dual-Eligible

Some people qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid. These people are usually referred to as dual-eligibles. People who qualify as dual-eligibles will be able to continue receiving Medicare coverage during the transition between states, but Medicaid coverage will not transfer.

In order to continue with your coverage in a Dual-eligible Special Needs Plan (D-SNP), you will need to qualify for Medicaid in the new state to which you are moving. Dual-eligible Special Needs Plans require that a person is qualified to receive both Medicare and Medicaid, but bear in mind that each state has its own qualification process. This should not affect your Medicare eligibility or your Medicare benefits.

If you’re enrolled in a D-SNP, you’re encouraged to work with your plan manager to discuss your needs prior to moving to ensure the transition goes smoothly. You may be able to switch plans during a Special Enrollment Period.

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