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Medicare Insurance Plans in the state of Minnesota

****MEDICARE COST PLAN UPDATE****

You may have seen a notice recently that a new federal law going into effect January 2019 may impact some Minnesota seniors currently enrolled in a Medicare Cost Plan. We will update this page as information becomes available.

Here is the relevant information as of July 25, 2018:

  • You do not need to take any action at this time. All Medicare Cost Plans remain in effect until December 31, 2018.
  • If you belong to a Medicare Cost Plan, you will receive a letter informing you of the change and your options. Delivery is expected late Summer 2018.
  • Not all Medicare Cost Plan members have to change plans. Later this summer, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will release the list of Minnesota counties unaffected by this new law.
  • Many Cost Plan members will be automatically enrolled in a Medicare Advantage (MA) Plan for 2019. This new MA plan will be managed by the same company currently providing your Cost Plan. You may opt out of this plan during Medicare’s annual Open Enrollment Period.

Only three Minnesota insurers offer Cost Plans:

  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
  • HealthPartners
  • Medica

If you aren’t sure whether you have a Cost Plan, call the plan number on the back of your member card.

Important Dates to Remember:

  • October 1, 2018: Medicare plans and pricing information for 2019 become available. Begin comparing your options.
  • October 15 – December 7, 2018: Open Enrollment Period. All Medicare beneficiaries may change their Medicare plan during this period.
  • November 2, 2018 – March 4, 2019: If you lost your Medicare Cost Plan, you may enroll in a Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan (Medigap) with no health screening requirement.
  • December 8, 2018 – February 28, 2019: Medicare created a Special Enrollment Period specifically for beneficiaries who lost their Medicare Cost Plan. During this time, you may enroll in a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan.
  • January 1 – March 31, 2019: All beneficiaries may change to a different Medicare Advantage Plan or return to Original Medicare (Parts A and B).

If you have any questions about your Medicare plan or coverage, feel free to call us toll-free at 844-655-4347 (TTY 711). One of our licensed agents will answer your questions.

Below you’ll find general information about the different types of Medicare plans that may be available in Minnesota:

Medicare Advantage Plans cover all that Medicare Part A and Part B cover, and may include additional benefits.

Medicare Part D plans can be paired with Medicare Part A and Part B to cover the costs of prescription drugs.

Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans can be purchased in addition to Medicare Part A and Part B.  These plans provide coverage for co-payments, deductibles and coinsurance, and some also cover medical services not covered by Medicare Part A and Part B.

These Medicare plans are offered by private insurance companies that are approved by Medicare.   These plans generally have a monthly premium amount you are responsible for, an additional to your Part B monthly premium.  The costs for these plans can differ depending on the company offering the plan and on your location.

Medicare Savings Programs in the state of Minnesota

Medicare can prove to be costly for some people, especially if you need regular prescription drugs and medical attention. If you need help with paying for these costs, in some cases, Medicare Savings Programs may also pay Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) deductibles, coinsurance, and co-payments if you meet certain conditions.  There are four Medicare Savings Programs available in the state of Minnesota for which you may qualify.

*The following data is from 2017 and is based on Federal amounts. If your income from working and resources are slightly higher, you should still apply, you may qualify for benefits even if your income is higher than the limits listed.

  • *Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries (QMBs): The program helps pay for Medicare Part A and Part B premiums, as well as co-payments, deductibles, and cost-sharing. For individuals, the monthly income limit is $1,025, and for married couples, it is a monthly income limit of $1,374.
  • *Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiaries (SLMBs): The program helps pay the Medicare Part B premiums for individuals with a monthly income under $1,226, and for married couples with a combined monthly income under $1,644.
  • *Qualified Individuals (QIs):The program may pay for Medicare Part B premiums for individuals with a monthly income under $1,377 and married couples with a combined income under $1,847 a month.
  • *Qualified Working and Disabled Individuals (QWDIs): The program helps pay for Medicare Part A premiums for individuals with a monthly income limit under $4,105 and married couples with a combined income limit under $5,499 per month.

*Data from Medicare.gov

State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP)

The local Minnesota SHIP Program (Senior LinkAge Line) is available to help you understand your available Medicare benefits. Senior LinkAge Line is a confidential and personal Medicare beneficiary counseling program in Minnesota.

Senior LinkAge Line provides education, counseling, and information concerning:

  • Medicare
  • Prescription drug expense assistance for Minnesotans of all ages
  • Health insurance counseling
  • Forms assistance, including help applying for Medical Assistance and Medicare options
  • Long-term care insurance, including the Long-Term Care Partnership
  • Long-term care planning options
  • Caregiver planning and support
  • Grandparents raising grandchildren

The SHIP program in Minnesota is funded by a grant through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

(ExtraHelp) for Prescription Drugs

*Low-Income Subsidy (Extra Help) Program: In 2017, you may qualify if you have up to $18,090 in yearly income ($24,360 for a married couple) and up to $13,820 in resources ($27,600 for a married couple).

To compare Medicare insurance plans in Minnesota, you may consult with a Medicare Solutions licensed sales agent today. Most insurance carriers offer a variety of plans, our licensed sales agents can help you shop around for the plan that would best fit your needs.