Can You Transfer Medicaid from State to State?

Can You Transfer Medicaid From State To State?

Is medicaid transferable from state to state?

For the majority of the time, Medicaid will not be able to cover your services outside of the state that you currently live in.

Despite the fact that Medicaid is a joint federal and state program, different states will administer their own program for Medicaid. 

For these reasons, your benefits and eligibility will vary state by state. Depending on the state you’re in, they will also have their own network of providers.

For those people who are out of state temporarily, Medicaid will cover your services the majority of the time for life threatening medical emergencies. 

We will take a closer look at how to transfer your Medicaid between states and the details of the process, here. 

Transferring Your Medicaid to Another State

Transferring Your Medicaid To Another State

There’s no official program that allows one to directly transfer their Medicaid benefits between states.

So, if you’re relocating to another state then you will need to actually reapply for Medicaid in the state you have relocated to. 

Luckily, you are able to apply for Medicaid in the new location as soon as you have relocated. By doing this, you will be able to avoid any lapses in your benefits.

On average, it can take between 15 to 90 days for the approval letter to come through. Applications can be submitted online. 

States are required by federal rule to have approval letters sent out before the 90 day period for Medicaid disability applications and before a 45 day period has passed for any other applications. 

However, sometimes this isn’t the case. Missouri struggled to meet these deadlines after the Medicaid programme was expanded. 

Remember this Medicaid detail: you can’t be covered in more than one state at once.

If you’re wanting to move states, you will have to cancel your original plan first before applying in a new state. 

The majority of states will be able to offer backdated Medicaid payments. This means that you will be able to receive payments covering up to three months before the date of the application’s approval.

You will need to cover any costs out of pockets until the application has been approved.

If you are paying out of pocket and wish for Medicaid to cover this, you will need to ensure you keep a copy of all of your medical receipts until your application is approved.


There is a challenge with applying for Medicaid due to the fact that each state has their own eligibility requirements.

Even though you are entitled to Medicaid coverage in one state, it doesn’t mean that you will necessarily be eligible in another state. 

Your eligibility for Medicaid is determined by several things including your income level, medical expenses, resources and assets, and long term care requirements. 

The thresholds particularly for income level tend to be similar throughout the states, the only exception is the adult Medicaid expansion.

The ACA determined all states need to cover adults between the ages of 19 to 64, the household income threshold would be up to 138% of the poverty level. 

Later, the Supreme Court ruled that it could be optional. If states refused to expand this threshold then they would not lose their funding.

Currently, there are 12 states that are yet to expand their eligibility threshold for Medicaid. 

If you currently live in a state that has expanded their Medicaid eligibility, then you may not be eligible for Medicaid in your new location.

Make sure that you research the state rules and requirements before relocating to a new state.

It is worth noting that if you are currently eligible for Supplemental Security Income, then you will be eligible for Medicaid automatically in the majority of cases.

Currently, there are 33 states that have automatic Medicaid eligibility for people who are in receipt of SSI. 

Traveling Across States

If you happen to fall ill in another state, then you may find yourself in a difficult situation. Unfortunately, Medicaid is unable to cover any costs for medical services outside of your home state. 

In many cases, you are only able to use your Medicaid for life threatening emergencies when outside of your home state.

These are considered emergency situations.

However, pre-approved treatments are sometimes able to be covered by Medicaid for out of state facilities.

You must first gain the correct authorization before doing so, though. In a similar manner, you may be covered for treatment in bordering states; for those who seek routine care services. 

It is always safe to check that Medicaid will cover your situation before going ahead with any treatment or services outside of your home state. 

Successfully Relocate and Receive Medicaid 

There are a few things you can do to make the process of “transferring” your Medicaid coverage a little easier. 

Firstly, make sure to do thorough research of the state you are moving to and their rules and regulations surrounding eligibility for Medicaid coverage. The criteria isn’t always consistent state to state. 

It may be helpful to you to have a functional assessment done in the state you’re moving to before canceling your Medicaid coverage.

This way you can determine whether you are functionally eligible in that state before moving. 

Finally, you may want to speak with a professional Medicaid planner before moving. They can help you to plan and restructure your finances so you are covered in the period between applications.

They can also help you prepare the paperwork you will need. 


We hope this guide has helped you with everything you need to know about your Medicaid coverage between states. 

You can’t “transfer” your Medicaid coverage in the traditional sense. You must first cancel the plan you’re on and then reapply once you’ve relocated to your new state. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I transfer my Medi-Cal to another state?

You will not get Medi-Cal if you move out of California. You may apply for Medicaid in the state you move to. If you are moving to a new county in California, you also need to tell the county you live in or the county you are moving to. This is to make sure you keep getting Medi-Cal benefits.

What are the disadvantages of having Medicaid?

They will have a decreased financial ability to opt for elective treatments, and they may not be able to pay for top brand drugs or other medical aids. Another financial concern is that medical practices cannot charge a fee when Medicaid patients miss appointments.

What is the highest income to qualify for Medicaid?

Most states — 38 and Washington, D.C. — have the same income limit of $2,523 per month for a single person for most types of Medicaid services. For a married couple, the limit increases to $5,046 in most cases.

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