There’s a lot of stress to moving, and one of the stresses moving brings with it is the need to find health insurance that works in the state you’re moving to. If you’re moving to North Carolina, you’re going to need a new health plan, and you need to know how to get it.

Report Your Move

If you’re currently using an on-exchange policy, let the government healthcare marketplace know about your move. Remember that the moment you cross state lines or even open your front door to settle in isn’t the moment the government considers you a resident of North Carolina. 

You’ll be a resident when you get a driver’s license, have some bills coming to a residence in your name, have a registered vehicle in your new location, among other things listed on the North Carolina Residency Determination Service website

Step-by-Step Instructions for Changing Your Coverage

Unenroll from your current state: North Carolina participates in the healthcare.gov marketplace, which makes it easy. If you come from a state that uses its own exchange for healthcare enrollment, like California, Massachusetts, or New York, you’ll have to first login there and end your coverage before joining the healthcare.gov marketplace. If your state already participates in healthcare.gov, skip this step.

Log in to your account

Login to your healthcare.gov account. From there, you’ll select the year that you want coverage and North Carolina as your new state.

Choose “apply”

Your next step will be to apply with a brand-new application for healthcare coverage in your new state. As soon as you click this option, you’ll be presented with all the choices of plans and pricing available in North Carolina.

Change your address

Don’t forget to update your healthcare.gov profile with your new address and any changes in phone number or email that you might be considering.

Staying covered

One of the challenges of making a move is staying covered between the time you leave one state and enter another. This is especially a problem if you don’t have an address in North Carolina yet. What if you’re staying with friends or family for a while while you apartment hunt?

You may also run into trouble if you’re not moving at a time that conveniently coincides with the open enrollment period. You can get North Carolina health insurance plans that cover you temporarily for up to a year while you wait for open enrollment or make your choice among long-term plans. Short-term plans of this nature typically cover unforeseen circumstances and illnesses, which can end up saving you thousands of dollars should an accident happen. Short-term plans offer gap coverage to subscribers in-between periods of open enrollment or in the event they were recently dropped from their current plan. If you are in need of immediate coverage but are not in a position to find it through the ACA marketplace, short-term coverage may be the best option.

Choosing your long-term plan

Consider your needs

As you consider which plan is best, list out your specific needs, like pre-existing or chronic conditions you have and whether you need something like maternity coverage. The plans can vary quite a bit in what they cover and how much they cost, so the best way to compare plans effectively is to start with a clear picture of your needs.

Compare quotes

Instead of visiting each individual website, use a site that can aggregate North Carolina health insurance plans for you so you can compare them easily. This will allow you to compare quotes for long-term options under the Affordable Care act as well as off-exchange options and short term plans.

What if I have a preexisting condition?

Pre-existing conditions can be a big worry when you’re looking for health insurance, even in the era of Obamacare. If you’re currently uninsured and have a chronic condition that needs regular coverage, the three companies that offer plans in North Carolina on the health exchange are Cigna, Ambetter, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina.

Plans with these three companies are generally more expensive, but they will cover all of your chronic conditions and pre-existing conditions. There are also government subsidies and Medicaid programs available in North Carolina that can help you cover the extra expense associated with these plans.