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Medicare Plans in Minnesota

 

If you are a Minnesota resident enrolled in Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), you have options to enroll in 3 types of Medicare health plans.  They are Medicare Supplement, (also called Medigap or MedSupp plans), Cost Plan  (Medicare Cost Plan coverage will remain in effect for Minnesota in the same 21 counties that were available last year, until December 31, 2020. Seniors in those 21 Minnesota counties will be able to remain with their current Cost Plans, if available, or enroll into another cost plan. Seniors in the 66 counties, that were discontinued, will not be able to enroll into a Cost Plan  for 2020.  You must live in one of the following 21 counties in Minnesota to be eligible for a Cost plan in 2020; Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Goodhue, Koochiching, Itasca, Kanabec, Lake, Le Sueur, McLeod, Meeker, Mille Lacs, Pine, Pipestone, Rice, Rock, Sibley, St. Louis, Stevens, Traverse, Yellow Medicine)  and Medicare Advantage plans. 

 

  • The Medicare Supplement can cover the cost that Medicare doesn’t. 

 

  • The Medicare advantage replaces Medicare and gives you a maximum out of pocket cap with various copays and coinsurance.  

 

  • The Cost plan (only available in select counties) is a hybrid of the other two and depending on the level of coverage chosen you can have copays or no copays.  There are several options for drug coverage also.

The best time to sign up for a Medicare plan in Minnesota is during the Medicare Initial Coverage Election Period (ICEP), which is the 7 month period starting 3 months before age 65, the month of your birthday and the 3 following months.  This would also apply to qualifying for disability.  The other time is during the Annual Election Period from October 15 to December 7 when you can make changes to your plans for the following year.

Supplement Policies

A Medicare Supplement policy (also known as Medigap or MedSupp) is health insurance that:
  • Is sold by private companies to supplement Original Medicare.
  • Helps to pay your share of the costs of Medicare-covered services (coinsurance, copayments and deductibles).
  • May cover certain costs not covered by Original Medicare such as medical care needed while traveling outside of the U.S.
  • Covers Minnesota state-mandated benefits
Medicare Supplement policies sold in Minnesota must be reviewed and approved by the Minnesota Commerce Department.
Multiple types of Medicare Supplement policies are available in Minnesota:
  • Basic
  • Basic with riders
  • Medicare SELECT
  • Extended Basic
  • Supplement Plan with 50 percent coverage
  • Supplement Plan with 75 percent coverage
  • Supplement Plan with 50 percent Part A deductible coverage
  • Supplement Plan with $20 AND $50 Co-payment Medicare Part B coverage
  • Supplement Plan with high deductible coverage

Policy Basics

You must have Original Medicare Part A and Part B to buy a policy.
  • You will pay a premium to the insurance company (in addition to Medicare Part B).

  • Policies are sold by insurance companies and licensed insurance agents.

  • Policies are guaranteed renewable, even if you have health problems in the future. The insurance company cannot cancel your policy as long as you pay your premiums.

  • If you move out of state, your coverage can continue as long as you pay your premiums.

Comparing Medicare Supplement plans in Minnesota

It is extremely important to evaluate all options when making a decision about Medicare plans in Minnesota.   Some plans are offered on a County by County basis while others are on a state wide basis.  Some plans are Annually renewable while others are Guaranteed renewable.   Evaluate all plans and make a determination based on personal health needs and budget.

Data provided by the Minnesota Department of Commerce and Insurance.

What kind of changes will Minnesota seniors experience with
Medicare Supplement Plans in 2020?

Part B Deductible 
The federal requirements, Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (“MACRA”) was signed into law on April 16, 2015. MACRA prohibits the sale of Medigap policies that cover Part B deductibles to “newly eligible” Medicare beneficiaries. 
Newly eligible Medicare Beneficiaries are defined as those individuals who: (a) have attained age 65 on or after January 1, 2020; or (b) first become eligible for Medicare due to age, disability or end-stage renal disease, on or after January 1, 2020.
All states were required to adopt these changes to implement MACRA to be effective January 1, 2020.
On May 17th, our Governor Tim Walz signed the MACRA conformity legislation. This new legislation amended our current Medicare Supplement laws to show compliance with MACRA. 

*Due to the MACRA requirements, the Basic Plan and the Extended Basic Plan will not include the Part B Deductible for those newly eligible on or after January 1, 2020. 

Medicare Part D

 

Medicare Part D plans, which provide prescription drug coverage, are offered by private insurance companies with a Medicare contract. (It is also possible to receive prescription drug coverage through a Medicare Advantage Plan or a Medicare Cost Plan that offers prescription drug coverage)

Medicare Part D is an optional benefit. However, if you do not enroll when you are first eligible and do not have existing equivalent drug coverage, you may have to pay a premium penalty if you enroll at a later time.

Each Part D plan is different. Each can cover different drugs and have different costs.

To find and compare Part D plans, you can also go to Medicare.gov.

What Plan D Providers May and May Not Do

 

Medicare Plan D providers have to follow Medicare rules that limit how they promote their plans. 

Unfortunately, some plan representatives may break the rules and use high-pressure sales tactics or false promises to try to enroll you in a plan that may not cover the drugs you take. Or scammers may pretend to be Part D providers in order to get your personal information — such as your Medicare number — to commit identity theft.

  • To protect consumers, the law is very specific about what Medicare Plan D providers may and may not do. For example:

  • Medicare Part D plan representatives may not market through unsolicited contact, including:

    • Telemarketing calls, including voice mail messages

    • Emails or texts

    • Door-to-door solicitations, including leaflets or flyers at your home or car

    • Approaching you in common areas, like parking lots, hallways, lobbies and sidewalks.
       

  • Medicare Part D plan representatives may enroll you on the phone only if YOU call them. You can be on the safe side by calling Medicare first (toll-free at 1-800-633-4227) to verify the legitimacy of any provider you may be tempted to call. Medicare doesn't recommend any particular prescription drug plan; it simply verifies that a provider is legitimate.

  • Providers may come to your home only if you have invited them to do so.

  • Providers may ask you how you want to pay your premiums, but they may not ask you for payment on the phone or through the internet.

  • You may set up a direct payment plan if you want to, but the provider first has to mail you the information to do so.

  • Legitimate providers will not charge you any fees to enroll in a plan. 

  • You will never be called by Medicare, the Commerce Department or The Senior LinkAge Line® to get you to sign up for a Part D plan. If you receive such a call, it is a scam.

 

Report scams and suspicious activity to Medicare by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). You can also call the Medicare Drug Integrity Contractor (MEDIC) at 1-877-772-3379. The MEDIC helps prevent inappropriate activity and fights fraud, waste, and abuse in Medicare plans.

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