Apply for Medicare if You Live in Different Places throughout the Year
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In a situation where you live in different places throughout the year, how and where do you sign up for Medicare? Many American retirees are sunbirds or snowbirds who migrate to cooler or warmer parts of the country for several months every year. Others spend chunks of time with family members in states far from their homes. And some are on the move all the time, with “home” being their recreational vehicles or, in a very different context, homeless shelters.
You’re allowed to enroll in Medicare only in one place. Social Security requires this place to be your principal residence, which it defines as the place where you file taxes, register to vote, get your driver’s license, and so on. Even if you’re on the road year-round in your RV, the base you use for these activities is also the address to use for Medicare enrollment.
If you’re homeless, Social Security may accept the address of a shelter or clinic, a P.O. box number, or anywhere else that you receive mail. For information, call Social Security toll-free at the number listed earlier or contact your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) at the toll-free phone numbers in Appendix A.
However, even though you must sign up for Medicare in one place, you can still receive Medicare benefits somewhere else — or indeed anywhere throughout the nation — providing you make the right decisions about the kind of coverage you choose.