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Lisa Baxter, Aging Service Specialist

What Are Some Considerations for Senior Citizens Who Plan to Move?

PART 1 of 2

There are many reasons for older adults to consider moving to a new location; cost of living, house is too large and/or expensive to maintain, house has too many stairs or other navigation issues, limited access to appropriate or needed health care, retirement, warmer weather and poor physical or mental health are a few.

Some seniors want to move closer to family members or that they may want to move into a smaller home that is easier maintain or an independent living facility where maintenance is taken care of by the facility.

The decision to move is often the most difficult one a senior makes. Factors to consider when initiating a move are; access to health care, who is available to assist you, transportation, recreation and social activities.

Prior to planning a move one should start downsizing personal belongings. Get rid of things you will not need as the new space will be a limiting factor as well as the time and effort it takes to pack, move and store items.

Health care options should be a priority in your new destination. You should research health care facilities and physicians. Make sure your access to care is readily available. Find out what auxiliary services are available such as home care services, meals on wheels and other senior programs as they may be desired at some point if not immediately. Find a primary care physician who will take you as some will not accept new patients. Make sure your insurance is accepted in your new location.

Important to note if you have a Medicare Advantage Plan make sure your new facility, doctor and other providers will take your plan for payment. Find a pharmacy and make sure your insurance will be accepted there.

Transfer your prescriptions to your new pharmacy. Call your plan(s) to notify them of the move.

If you are a veteran locate the closest VA hospital or clinic and/or find out if the local health care facility will accept VA payment If you are on public assistance (Medicaid) and move out of state you need to notify them. If you move out of state you are no longer eligible for public assistance in the state you moved from and must re-apply for Medicaid in the new state.

There are no residency requirements for applying for public assistance. A common concern is the lapse of benefits between canceling one’s Medicaid plan in their original state and reapplying (and becoming eligible) in the state in which they are relocating. Fortunately, most states allow retroactive Medicaid coverage. This allows up to three months of Medicaid coverage immediately prior to the month of Medicaid application. Once retroactive Medicaid eligibility is established Medicaid will pay unpaid, qualified medical expenses from this retroactive period.

Notify Social Security and your retirement plan of the change in Address. Notify all pertinent service providers including utilities, banks, credit card companies, etc. of your new address. Check with your phone carrier as to your new address and what changes you may need to make.

Next article will cover living options and how to pay for them.