Medicaid Guidelines When Moving Out of State

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Moving out of state can be a stressful time for many reasons, especially if you receive Medicaid benefits. While poring over a state Medicaid agencies list and trying to understand various state Medicaid policies, you may be wondering if it is possible to transfer Medicaid coverage. This is a valid consideration, especially since states are given some leeway in establishing their own policies.


Transferring and State Medicaid Agencies Lists

Medicaid benefits are not transferable, unfortunately. While you may qualify for Medicaid in one state, you may not be eligible in others, so it is imperative to do research beforehand. Additionally, you cannot receive Medicaid benefits in two states at once. So, to receive Medicaid in a new state, you will need to terminate your policy in the other. Some states may require proof of cancelation before you are eligible for new coverage.

Consider Also:How to Get a Medicaid Application


The American Council on Aging suggests canceling, moving and immediately applying for coverage at the end of the month since many states will not close out coverage until the end of the month. Since receiving Medicaid benefits does not happen overnight and can take several weeks, depending on the state, many states attempt to alleviate the uneasiness surrounding a lapse in coverage by providing retroactive coverage.

However, retroactive coverage is not universal, so always remember to check with state policies. Other states may have a limit on the amount of time they will cover retroactively. To assist with your research, visit a state Medicaid agencies list to learn more about eligibility and benefits. You can find one on the American Council on Aging's website.


What Is Medicaid?

Created in 1965, Medicaid is a federal program that provides health coverage to low-income households, including children, pregnant women, seniors and people with disabilities, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) writes.

While states have their own policies regarding Medicaid eligibility and coverage, the federal government established several mandatory services that must be covered. According to the CBPP, these services include hospital and physician care, laboratory and X-ray services, home health services and adult nursing facility services.


Medicaid eligibility was expanded in 2010 by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to ​138 percent​ of the poverty line. It is expected that by 2029, ​14 million​ more low-income individuals will receive Medicaid benefits, the CBPP writes.

Medicaid Eligibility Basics

Medicaid is a needs-based program, meaning that eligibility hinges on a combination of an applicant's income and assets, both countable and exempt. However, states are given the freedom to set their own Medicaid policies, meaning that eligibility varies from state to state.


While the differences in policies are typically not too drastically different, some Medicaid recipients might not be eligible in other states. Medicaid eligibility is based on the modified adjusted gross income (MAGI). According to, MAGI was established under the ACA, and it considers an applicant's taxable income and tax filing relationships to determine eligibility. notes that eligibility also depends on nonfinancial criteria. For example, applicants must reside in the state they are applying for benefits. Applicants must also be U.S. citizens or qualified nonresidents, such as lawful permanent residents.


Consider Also:How Much Money Can You Make & Keep Medicaid?

According to, individuals with significant health needs can be eligible for coverage even if their income is too high under a state's "medically needy program." Individuals can apply if their excess income goes primarily toward medical bills. Once medical expenses exceed the difference between the individual's income and the state's medically needy income level, they become eligible.