Snowbirds/Sunbirds on Medicare

The migration pattern of the American Snowbird and Sunbird is a common occurrence in the northern states of America. In the fall most Snowbirds leave their nests in search of warmer climates in the southern states like Florida and Arizona. The Sunbird leaves their warm nests in search of cooler climates to escape the oppressive heat.

Either way, one of the most common detriments and limiting factors during these active migrations has been the inability to migrate with your Medicare Advantage plan. Although your Medicare Supplement plan travels with you to just about any location you choose, the Medicare Advantage plan has more limitations and needs more attention before take-off.

If you’re a Snowbird or Sunbird and you intend to travel a few months out of the year, you need a Medicare Advantage PPO plan or Medicare Supplement. Most HMOs will not meet your requirements for services outside of your areas, which makes researching and choosing a plan even more important.

The good news is that Medicare Advantage plan carriers are recognizing the flight patterns of the American Snow- and Sunbirds and are adjusting their plans to accommodate the flexibility desired by todays seniors. There are many good Medicare Advantage plan options with new PPOs entering markets across the country.

Choosing a Medicare plan based on your lifestyle is an imperative for today’s Snow and Sunbirds. Many Medicare Advantage PPO plans offer national networks with in and out of network benefits to provide you with access to care. Make sure to review your pre-flight checklist to get the most out of your Medicare plan.

Pre-flight checklist:

Medicare Supplement:

 Accepted by most providers nationally
 Easy to use no referrals required
 Does not include Part D (Prescriptions)
 All Medicare Supplements plans are standardized in all states (except for MN, MA, & WI)
 The most comprehensive plan for those turning 65 after 01/01/2020 is Plan G
 No underwriting is required within 6 months of your Part B effective date
 Some plans may include a fitness membership with national access
 May change plans anytime of the year
 Must purchase a plan from your primary resident state (The state in which you file your taxes, have a driver’s license, registered to vote)

Medicare Advantage plans:

 Most include Part D coverage
 Many PPO plans offer national provider access with in and out of network benefits
 No referrals are required on a PPO plan
 Must reside in the plan service area to enroll (the state in which you file your taxes, have a driver’s license, registered to vote)
 You may only enroll during specific times of the year or when first eligible for Medicare

Always check with your trusted insurance advisor to confirm your doctors and prescriptions are included in your plan. You may also check provider availability in your temporary location. Using in network providers with your PPO plan will save you money with copays.

If you are planning on international travel check with your agent or insurance carrier to see if you are covered. Some Medicare supplements and Medicare Advantage plans will provide emergency coverage outside of the United States.

Enjoy your migration to warmer or cooler climates and make sure you have the coverage you need before you embark on your journey!

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