Does Medicaid Transfer from One State to Another?

Does Medicaid Transfer From One State to Another? 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.

Medicare Benefits Solutions

Sep 20, 2021

 4 minutes read

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.

Does Medicaid Transfer From One State to Another?

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.

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.

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.

Even though you will need to fully close your Medicaid account prior to opening a new one in your new state, Medicaid often provides retroactive coverage for a short period of time once you qualify for benefits. 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.

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 nor 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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