Topics:

A Reader Asks: What Happens To My Coverage If I Move?

Sep 27, 2013

Q. Let's say I buy insurance from the health insurance exchange in the state I'm living in, but in a year I move to another state. What happens? Do I have to start over with a new exchange, assuming there is one? What about gaps in coverage?

A. In general, people can only switch from one health plan to another on a health insurance exchange, or marketplace, during the annual enrollment period each fall. But if you move away to another state, you would qualify for a "special enrollment period" that lasts for 60 days, during which time you could sign up for a new plan on another health insurance exchange. Every state will have its own exchange starting Oct. 1.

More From This Series Insuring Your Health

You'll need to notify your current exchange about your relocation plans and receive a coverage eligibility determination from your new state exchange. But you should be able to move seamlessly without a gap in coverage from one exchange to another, according to the Department of Health and Human Services

If for some reason you don't manage to line up new exchange coverage before you move, you won't face penalties right away. Although most people are required to have insurance starting in January or face a penalty of up to $95 or 1 percent of their income, you can be uninsured for up to three months in a year before those penalties would be applied.

Please send comments or ideas for future topics for the Insuring Your Health column to questions@kaiserhealthnews.org.

We want to hear from you: Contact Kaiser Health News