Nebraska is home to roughly 345,000 Medicare beneficiaries. That's more than 18% of the entire state population! Medicare in Nebraska includes Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplements, and Part D plans. We get it, it’s overwhelming! Let’s slow it down and go through your options one by one.
All Medicare-enrollees start their coverage with Original Medicare, also known as Part A and B. Part A is hospital coverage and includes hospital stays, nursing homes, hospice, and home health services. Part B is medical coverage and includes ambulance travel, medical equipment, mental health, partial hospitalization, lab tests, and x-rays. Once you are enrolled in Original Medicare, you can consider enrolling in a Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, or Part D plan.
Nebraska Medicare, and every state for that matter, is regulated by the federal government. This means Part A and B is the same regardless of which state you live in. After you have enrolled in Original Medicare, you can start to explore plans specific to Nebraska and in your zip code. You should consider enrolling in some type of prescription drug coverage to avoid a late-enrollment penalty down the road. You can get prescription drug coverage through a stand-alone Part D plan or a Medicare Advantage plan.
Premiums, copayments, and deductibles can add up, and if you have an unforeseen health expense, you may be spending a lot out-of-pocket even with Original Medicare coverage. Fortunately, Medicare Supplement plans can help cover the costs. There are ten different types of Medicare Supplements to choose from. Each plan offers different coverage for a different price. For an additional monthly premium, you can have help paying the following:
Medigap plans are the same regardless of which carrier you enroll with, but pricing can still vary. Your best bet is to speak with a licensed agent. They can show you all of the plans that are available in your area and help you pick the best option. Click here or give us a call at 833-438-3676.
There are several services that Original Medicare does not cover. Medicare Advantage plans offer several benefits and services beyond Original Medicare. These plans are required to cover everything that Original Medicare does, so don’t worry - you won’t lose any benefits (but you can gain more)! The most popular Medicare Advantage benefits include dental, hearing, vision, over-the-counter and prescription drugs, non-emergency transportation, and group fitness classes like Silver and Fit. These plans are offered through private insurance companies, and pricing and plan options will vary based on your provider, location, and benefits. A licensed agent can help you find what’s available in your area. Click here or give us a call at 833-438-3676.
The cost of Original Medicare in Nebraska is the same across the county. Most beneficiaries won’t have to pay a premium for their Part A coverage as long as they have worked and paid Medicare taxes for 40 quarters. If you have worked less than this time, your premium may vary as follows:
The Part B premium is $135.50 for most beneficiaries, but this can vary based on your income. Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplements, and Part D plans will have various costs (deductibles, premiums, copayments) depending on your plan, carrier, and location.
Most people become eligible for Medicare when they turn 65, however, there are several ways to qualify for Medicare before your 65th birthday. If you have ESRD (end-stand renal disease) or ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), you qualify regardless of your age. If you have been receiving SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance), you will also qualify and be automatically enrolled in Medicare during your 25th-month of SSDI benefits. If you have a question regarding your eligibility, click here or give us a call at 833-438-3676.
Medicare and Medicaid each provide health coverage to a certain group of people, but they are two separate programs. Medicare is designed for older adults over the age of 65 and people with certain disabilities. Medicaid is designed for low-income individuals and families regardless of age.
There are roughly nine million people across the U.S. enrolled in both programs. People who are enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid become eligible for a Dual Special Needs Plan (DSNP). DSNPs provide extra benefits at lower costs. They also provide enrollees with a Special Enrollment Period. This is great because most beneficiaries can only enroll or switch their plan once a year. However, a SEP allows you to get the coverage you need, when you need it, no matter the time of year. During your SEP, you can join, switch, or drop your current Medicare Advantage or Part D plan.
If you qualify for a DSNP you may also qualify for other programs like Medicare's prescription drug program, Extra Help, or Medicare Savings Programs. If you qualify for Extra Help, you can save an average of $4,000 a year on your prescription drug costs. Medicare Savings Programs help cover other Medicare-related costs like Part A and B premiums, deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance. Our agents can help you apply for any savings programs you may be eligible for. Click here or give us a call at 833-438-3676.
The Nebraska Department on Aging provides several programs throughout Nebraska to seniors, caregivers, and disabled people. These programs include:
Care Management: The Care Management Program works with older adults and their family or caregivers to help them live in their home as long as possible. This program is intended to help you maintain your independence through assistance with finances, transportation, nutrition, or overall health.
Caregiver Support: There are more than 200,000 people in Nebraska providing support through a caregiver role. The Caregiver Support Program is intended to help caregivers with certain tasks, lighten up their workload, and cut back on the daily amount of care needed.
Homemaker Program: The Homemaker Program helps provide light housekeeping services for older seniors who may struggle physically to complete certain tasks. The program provides assistance with things like light cleaning, preparing food, washing dishes, and taking out the trash.
Meals: The Meals on Wheels Program helps provide food to people who don’t have family members nearby and have few options for getting food to their home. This program provides hot meals delivered straight to your door.
Personal Care: The Personal Care Services Program contracts with local home health agencies to provide personal care aids to older adults. The goal is to provide low-cost services for things like bathing, washing hair, and grooming.
You can apply for Medicare in Nebraska through Social Security. There are three main places where you can apply. You can go to www.SocialSecurity.gov, call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) Monday through Friday from 7 AM to 7 PM, or apply in person at your local Social Security office.
If you are interested in enrolling in a Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, or Part D plan, we can help! Our agents can talk to you about plans from all the major carriers, so there is no bias. Click here or give us a call at 833-438-3676.
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