Updating Your Address is Important
A little while ago, one of my clients reached out to me to let me know that their insurance company had canceled their Medicare Prescription Drug plan. I was on vacation in England but saw the email so I responded right away. The issue was that the client had changed mailing addresses but had notified no one, including me. Since the drug plan couldn't reach the client via the US post office, they canceled their plan. Although some people cannot receive mail at their resident address (this was the case for me when I lived in Valdez, Alaska), MAPD and Drug Plan companies will not send mail to you via UPS or FedEx. They will only attempt to reach you via US mail.
If they can't reach you, they MUST cancel your plan.
Normally when I client notifies us of a move, either mailing or physical, we will reach out to the company or companies and update their address for them, if the insurance company allows it. If they don't allow us to change the address, then we'll provide instructions on what to do.
Updating your address is not as much of an issue with Medicare Supplement Plans (Medigap), but it is very important if you have a Prescription Drug Plan or a Medicare Advantage Plan.
Another thing to note is that if you are traveling for an extended time period, you need to notify your plan of your long-term travel arrangements. If you have an MAPD and travel for over six months, you could be in danger of cancellation. Some Medicare Advantage Plans provide special benefits that allow you to stay in the plan if you travel continuously in the U.S. or its territories for up to 12 months. Check the rules closely to see f your plan offers a visitor or travel benefit.
We've had clients who travel extensively lose benefits when trying to get mail-order medications delivered to another state.
We recommend that you purchase your medications in your state and county of residence so you don't lose your drug plan. And if you travel extensively, we recommend that you consider a Medigap Plan over a Medicare Advantage Plan since Medicare Advantage plans only cover emergencies outside of the coverage area, whereas Medigap Plans will cover any Medicare-approved visit in any location in the USA.
Anyone who has recently moved to a new place or a new state knows it's important for you to update your address with your insurance company or companies. Besides updating your information with your insurance companies, also update your address with Social Security and Medicare.
During 2019, it was especially important since the Medicare ID numbers changed.
If you hadn't updated your address, you might not have received your new card. And you won't be able to use the old number (which looked like a Social Security number with a letter or two added at the end) starting January 2020.
And please remember that the Social Security office won't call you unless you have made an appointment with them to do so. They send official communications via the United States Post Office.
When you sign up for Medicare, you'll provide your mailing address. Then they can send you important communications regarding Medicare. This includes your Medicare card (if you requested a change), Medicare Summary Notices, and the Annual Handbook.
If you do not update your address, you may experience problems regarding your benefits. Worst of all, your Social Security payments might stop if they get returned mail because of an unreported move.
Also, if you have a Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug Plan, bills and other correspondence get sent to your address.
If your insurance company gets returned mail, it might lead to dis-enrollment from the plan. Not only that, but you might have to pay the penalty for the rest of your life! This is because you need to have creditable coverage Learn more at https://www.medicare.gov/forms-help-resources/mail-you-get-about-medicare/notice-of-creditable-coverage.
Certain government entities legally require you to update your mailing address. But we won't be discussing that we are here to help you on how to update your address for Medicare. You should update your address with Medicare within 2-3 weeks of moving. Luckily, it is now easier than ever!
How to Update your Address?
Below is how to update your address:
- Contact my office FIRST to discuss your move. Note: We won't do this via email. Because we need to verify your identity, please call us at 866-445-6683 if you have moved or know you are moving soon. If you've moved outside of an MAPD or PDP service area, we must get you enrolled in another plan before your Special Election Period runs out. (You have about two months). Many times we can also update the insurance companies so you don't have to make multiple calls. But if the insurance company won't take the information from us, we'll give you specific instructions so you can update your address with them
- Update Social Security Administration with your new physical or mailing address. There are three ways to do this:
- Change Your Address Online– As the technological evolution is changing how we live today, the Internet is the fastest way to update your address information. Just log in to your Social Security account here. If you do not have an account just create one with your valid email address and your Social Security Number (SSN), go to the “My Profile” tab on the “My Social Security” page then select “Change Address”. Then enter your current address. Most of your personal information is on the “My Profile” tab, so you can change any outdated information. You’re only legally allowed to make a Social Security web profile for yourself. It’s illegal to create a profile for another person, even if they’re your dependent or family member. Once you’ve changed your address, you should receive an email confirming the change.
- Call the Social Security Administration- Because Medicare is part of Social Security, you may need to contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) or the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) to update your mailing address. To do this, you can call 1-800-772-1213. Live representatives will take your call Monday through Friday from 7 am to 7 pm in all time zones. If you try to call outside of those hours, you'll get voicemail. If this happens, don't leave a voicemail, just call back. Don't call on Mondays unless you want to sit on hold. And when you are ready to call, have your date of birth, email, and Social Security Number (SSN) handy because you'll need that information to update your address. If you have Medicare through the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), you can find a local office and go in, or better yet, call 1-877-772-5772.
MyMedicare.gov has a link to the RRB ZIP Code Locator tool within RRB.gov. Please use this tool to locate and call your local RRB office. If you also receive Social Security Administration benefits, please contact the SSA.
Note: If you have recently updated your address with the SSA and/or RRB, it may take 7-14 days for this change to show up in MyMedicare.gov.
- Go to In-Person- Because of potential long lines at the Social Security Office, I don't recommend doing it in person. But if you MUST go in person, you can locate for a local social security office near you HERE and enter your zip code. For American citizens living abroad go here and look for the nearest Social Security Field Offices near you. Once you've found an office near you, ask the representative in that office for a copy of the address-change paperwork and fill out that form. You can use a black or blue ink pen. You must provide your Social Security Number, previous address, and your new address. You may also provide a phone number and email address.
We can help!
If you are getting ready to make a move, we can help you make sure you don't lose coverage, or if you need to get new coverage because of the move, we can help with that too. Please call us at 866-445-6683, or drop us a message HERE