Can You Find Health Insurance That Covers You Out of State?

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Having the right health insurance is really important. Unfortunately, finding a policy that provides comprehensive coverage can be difficult. This is especially true if you routinely travel to different states or if you split your time among multiple states.

Many health insurance policies provide you with limited coverage (or none) if you leave the area where you live and where the insurer’s network is centered.

If you’ll be traveling to a different state or living there temporarily and you may need medical care, it’s really important to understand what your insurance will — and won’t — cover.

When you’re trying to determine if your health insurance will cover you out of state, you’ll first need to look at the insurer’s network of providers.

Unfortunately, most insurers don’t have a nationwide network — participating in-network physicians are located only in the state where the policy is sold. In some cases, you can find a multistate plan that has a network spanning several states. But these plans aren’t very common, and even then your coverage is limited to the states that are part of the plan.

If you can’t find a plan that has in-network providers in different states, then you’ll need to look at what type of coverage you have for out-of-network care. If your plan offers coverage for providers not in its network, your insurance will help you pay for care by an out-of-network physician when you travel to another state. But you may have a higher deductible, higher co-insurance costs, and a higher out-of-pocket limit when you’re seeing a non-network doctor.

If you can’t find a plan that has in-network providers in different states, then you’ll need to look at what type of coverage you have for out-of-network care. If your plan offers coverage for providers not in its network, your insurance will help you pay for care by an out-of-network physician when you travel to another state. But you may have a higher deductible, higher co-insurance costs, and a higher out-of-pocket limit when you’re seeing a non-network doctor.

Unfortunately, if you can’t find a plan that has a nationwide network and you can’t find or afford a plan that covers out-of-network care, you’ll have limited health coverage when traveling away from the state where you live.

You don’t have many options if you need coverage in multiple states. You can look for a plan that provides out-of-network coverage so at least you’ll have some protection if you need to get care while away. You could also look into travel insurance coverage — although there are exclusions on most policies, such as coverage for childbirth.

If you’re relocating to another state, this should also qualify you for a special enrollment period. That means you can sign up for insurance coverage in your new location. You’ll need documentation of the move, and your new policy will likely cover you only in the state you’re moving to. So you’ll face the same problem of insufficient coverage when you head to a different state in the future.

This limitation can make life difficult for those who live in multiple locales or who travel to other states often for work. It’s best to be prepared so you don’t face unexpected medical bills if you end up needing care while away from home.

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