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Old 06-25-2015, 07:36 PM   #1
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Healthcare and residency in different states?

We will be selling our home and starting our full time adventure soon. We have Kaiser medical in Southern California as part of the retirement package, and it is not transferable to any other area served by Kaiser. We plan to spend more time in Washington state than anywhere else, and would like to establish residency there. Will be coming through Southern Cal at least yearly to visit family, and plan to have routine health care visits at that time. Kaiser only requires a local address, which is not a problem for us.

We are from Washington originally and have family there, so we are not leaving California just to avoid taxes, but the lower taxes in Washington are a nice byproduct of the change.

My question is whether California will have a problem with our taking Washington as our home state. Have any of you done this? We don't want to be looking over our shoulders as we experience the dream!
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Old 06-25-2015, 07:48 PM   #2
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I would say get a Washington vehicle and drivers license as well as what looks like a real address, and you will be a resident. These questions are always difficult to say for sure, of course. But people move all of the time, so CA should not have any issues.
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Old 06-25-2015, 07:59 PM   #3
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But then again it is kalifornia. Very little that comes out of that state make much sense. I would recommend contacting the relavent state agency directly.
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Old 06-25-2015, 08:33 PM   #4
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Let me re qualify my response above. The State of California cannot make you stay as a resident, you can move and be a resident of any state you wish. However, you cannot be a resident of two states at the same time. So, if your health care benefits are, lets say part of a CA "health exchange" you cannot be a WA and a CA resident at the same time. So, any benefits you would get from being a CA resident and partly paid for by CA must stop. You can't pick and chose a good benefit paid for by one state and not live there.

But even that is complicated. I am a retired person who worked for the State of Washington for many years. I have access to supplemental health care (to my medicare) via Washington State as a part of my retirement package. I can live in any state and use that benefit, as a function of my having worked for Washington. I live in Idaho now, and this is all perfectly legal, and proper.

So, you need to understand or find out if and how your Kaiser benefits are paid for. If they are only a part of your retirement package if you live in CA, you will lose them if you move to WA. If, like mine, the benefits are universal, no matter where you live, you will be fine. They may not be Kaiser and you may have to change to another plan in WA, but you still may get them, as I do.

Point is, you cannot be a resident of two states at the same time but your retirement benefits may be more portable than you think. That is the real issue you need to find out.
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Old 06-26-2015, 12:42 PM   #5
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Kaiser has facilities in Oregon and Washington (Vancouver and as far as one hour north of there). Call Member Services. You should be able to transfer to WA without a problem. Be aware that you'll need to use their facilities; they probably won't approve outside medical (meaning if you live too far from their facilities). Good luck!
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Old 06-26-2015, 01:35 PM   #6
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My wife works for kaiser , they have hospitals and clinics all around the Portland ,OR and Vancouver ,Washington area unless your moving to Seattle or eastern Washington I can't see where you will have a problem just get an address from Vancouver ,Washington
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Old 06-26-2015, 01:54 PM   #7
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I can't really help with the Kaiser question, but you also raised the question of state income taxes. If either California or Washington questioned your residency in one state or the other, you would have to show that you have more elements of residency in the state where you wish to be a resident. If you only owned a house in one state or the other, that would be a big factor. However, if you also rented a house in the other state, that would offset that factor somewhat. You would be asked how many days you spent in each state. Where you registered to vote, and where your driver's license was. In cases involving a lot of taxes, which may not be your case, they would continue to probe deeper: how much are your utility bills in each state? Where do you bank? Where are your doctors, dentists, lawyers and accountants? Where is your church? Do you derive an income from working in either state (investment income is sort of a neutral factor)? This is not a closed-end list; just an example of the direction such an inquiry might go.
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Old 06-26-2015, 09:26 PM   #8
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Escapees has quite a bit of good information on choosing your domicile. BTW, "domicile" is not the same as "residency." Your domicile is your legal address, while you are a resident of wherever you are. Residency can be very temporary, or it can be permanent, in which case it corresponds to domicile.

When leaving a high-tax State for a low-tax State it is always a good idea to make sure that you follow all the rules/laws that affect you. Someone who moves from California to Wyoming may have fewer questions asked of them than someone who moves just across the State line.
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Old 06-26-2015, 11:15 PM   #9
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Thanks to all for your responses. Our situation is odd in that our Kaiser medical plan requires a Southern California address for their records. It is limited to So Cal because that is what the company from which we are retiring negotiated. I told them we would be full time RVing and would become residents of another state, and they don't have a problem with that as long as we can give them a local address.

We are selling our California real estate and don't plan on owning any real property anywhere in the near term. We will get WA drivers licenses and register the Airstream and truck there, as well as moving a bank account there.

Our concern is that CA might come after us for income taxes because we have our medical here. I was hoping we might find someone who had experienced this situation. This is probably too rare of a situation for there to be a cut and dried answer.
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Old 06-27-2015, 08:26 AM   #10
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Are your California retirement income taxes that high? What would it cost for medicare with AARP?
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Old 06-27-2015, 09:28 AM   #11
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At a minimum, if you're going to maintain a CA permanent address, you ought to also maintain a WA permanent address, so at least having permanent addresses in both states will cancel that factor out.
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Old 07-07-2015, 05:58 PM   #12
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Glad I found this as I'm in the exact same predicament. My SoCal city has the same Kasier offering and we are also looking at Washington or Oregon after a nice little full time adventure. Ron, if you get up to Lake Arrowhead, look us up.
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Old 07-07-2015, 08:57 PM   #13
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I would suggest that you keep and maintain records that you show are not at your Ca residence for more than 6 months per year. As far as I understand it, and IANAL, if you can show that you spend more than half the year out of CA you are ok.
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Old 07-12-2015, 10:00 AM   #14
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My neighbor is turning 65 soon and has inherited a home in Florida. What is interesting is by officially filing for residency in Florida, he will eliminate his state income tax on earnings and the personal property taxes on his vehicles that are levied by Missouri.

One interesting thing he found out was that enrolling in his Medicare supplemental insurance plan will be cost him less monthly as a Missouri resident. Once that is in force he can change his residence to Fla. and keep the Missouri rate (as long as he doesn't let the policy lapse). So in Aug he enrolls in Medicare, and January 1 he will change his residence to Florida even though his primary residence will still be here in Missouri.

It goes to show you that you need to look at a lot of factors prior to changing a residency.

Medicare Advantage plans tend to tie you to doctors and facilities in a local geographical area so be careful when enrolling in those. Check with your Medicare Advantage plan regarding the rules if you need medical care outside of your plan's geographic area.

As noted Medicare Supplemental plans (Medigap) tend to be price based on what state you live in and your age at the time of your application. States like Florida with a higher population of older residence tend to have higher rates. Typically once you have the policy, moving to a different state will not affect the rate. The good thing is that most of these types of policies cover you no matter what facility or doctor you use (as long as they accept Medicare).

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