What do Snowbirds Do about Medicare?
Many New Jersey residents head south before winter hits! Snowbirds, as they are called, travel to warmer weather while New Jersey experiences our cold climate.
Generally, most snowbirds stay where it is warmer for several months, favoring Florida and other warmer areas. This can be a bit tricky with health insurance regarding extended stays in other states and away from your permanent residence in New Jersey.
Seniorstar Insurance works with snowbirds to help them find the right Medicare coverage. Some of the common questions regarding Medicare and extended stays include:
- “What is the best Medicare plan for snowbirds?”
- “How does Medicare work for snowbirds?”
- “Do snowbirds have to switch Medicare plans?”
If you are a New Jersey snowbird looking for a Medicare plan, Jamie Sholom, a licensed insurance agent in Middlesex County, is here to help you. He is also licensed to help individuals and snowbirds flock to Florida!
Where do snowbirds sign up for Medicare?
You may have two homes during the year, you should use your permanent resident address that Social Security has on file when applying for Medicare. You won’t need to change your address every time you travel temporarily, even if it is several months at a time. If your permanent residence stays the same with Social Security, it will stay the same with Medicare.
You can change your temporary mailing address when traveling for an extended period of time. Changing your temporary mailing address is something you should do if you are not receiving your Social Security benefits and you receive a quarterly bill for your Part B premium. You never want to miss a bill for your Part B premium because it could lead to a lapse in your coverage. You can also pay your Part B premium online.
Remember that you must reside in your “home residence” for at least half the year to consider New Jersey your resident state.
Can snowbirds purchase a Medigap policy?
When you purchase a Medigap policy, you will want to list your permanent resident address that is on file with Medicare and Social Security. This means you will choose a Medicare Supplement insurance plan based on what is available in your home zip code. The good news is that you can use that Medicare Supplement or Medigap policy anywhere in the country, so your coverage should be the same no matter where you are!
How do snowbirds sign up for Part D?
Like other Medicare plans you can purchase, you must choose a stand-alone Part D prescription drug plan based on your permanent resident address. When it comes time to enroll in a drug plan, you will use your home zip code and county to choose a plan that best fits your needs. For example, if you are a resident of Middlesex County, New Jersey, then you would select a stand-alone Part D prescription drug plan available in Middlesex County, New Jersey, regardless of if you stay in Mantee County, Florida for extended periods of time.
Each Part D Prescription Drug Plan has a network of pharmacies. Preferred, standard, and out-of-network pharmacies vary with each plan. If you visit a preferred pharmacy, you will pay the most cost-effective prices compared to standard. If a pharmacy if out of network with your plan, you will pay the entire prescription cost and won’t have coverage.
Part D plans also have national coverage. A great example of national coverage in a Part D plan is if CVS Pharmacy is one of your plan’s preferred or standard pharmacies, you can go to any CVS Pharmacy in the United States and fill your prescription. By using a national chain pharmacy in your Part D plan’s network, you do not have to change your Part D plan when traveling to your second home.
How do snowbirds know which Medicare plan to choose?
The most important things snowbirds should consider is their potential out-of-pocket costs and monthly premiums. You will want to ensure you have coverage no matter where you are. Luckily, Seniorstar Insurance offers plans in New Jersey and Florida to help snowbirds make a transition when the time comes to make a permanent residency in Florida.
If you have any questions about how your Medicare coverage works when you’re a snowbird, be sure to talk to your insurance company or an authorized agent. They can help answer any questions you have and help make sure you have the best coverage possible.