Your journey to Mississippi Medicare can go in several different directions. You can stick with Original Medicare, or choose to enroll in a stand-alone Medicare Advantage. You can also explore Medicare Supplements and Part D plans for additional health or financial benefits. Which type of coverage is the most important to you?
Original Medicare consists of Part A (hospital coverage) and Part B (medical coverage). Part A covers hospital stays, nursing homes, hospice care, and home health services. Part B covers ambulance travel, medical equipment, mental health, partial hospitalization, lab tests, and X-rays. Once you enroll in Original Medicare, you can start to explore other types of plans that offer additional health coverage, financial protection, or prescription drug coverage.
There are four types of Medicare plans in Mississippi (Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplements, and Part D). Original Medicare (parts A and B) is regulated by the federal government and is the same no matter which state you live in. Your other options include a standalone Medicare Advantage plan, or a Medicare Supplement or Part D plan that works alongside your Original Medicare coverage. These can be purchased through private insurance companies, and availability varies based on your location.
Medicare Advantage (MA) plans offer the same coverage as Original Medicare, but most plans offer additional benefits that go beyond parts A and B. Some of the most popular benefits include hearing, vision, dental, over-the-counter drugs, non-emergency transportation, and group fitness classes (like Silver & Fit or SilverSneakers). Medicare Advantage plans are sold through private insurance companies but can be purchased through a licensed agent. To speak with a licensed agent and find plans in your area, click here or call 833-438-3676.
Medicare Supplements, also known as Medigap plans, can be purchased to work alongside Original Medicare and provide financial protection for Medicare-related costs (like copays, premiums, and deductibles). There are ten different plans available (A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N) and each plan offers a different range of coverage for a different price. Depending on which plan you purchase, benefits can include:
Medigap plans can be purchased through private insurance companies and a licensed agent. To get started, click here or call 833-438-3676.
Part D plans can be purchased alongside your Original Medicare to provide prescription drug coverage. When you purchase a Part D plan, you will need to meet your deductible before coverage can begin. The deductible for 2019 is $415, but some plans may waive or reduce the deductible upfront. You will pay a copay per each drug you purchase until you reach a spending limit of $3,820. After this point, you are in the “donut hole.” While in the donut hole, you are responsible for 37% of generic drug costs and 25% of brand-name drug costs. But don’t worry - the donut hole is going away in 2020. This will continue until you reach catastrophic coverage ($5,100 in spending) where you will only be responsible for 5% of your total drug costs for the remaining portion of the year.
Most people aren’t eligible for Medicare until they reach their 65th birthday. However, there are other ways you can qualify for Medicare regardless of your age. If you have ESRD (end-stand renal disease) or ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), you can qualify for Medicare before your 65th birthday. You’ll also be automatically enrolled in Original Medicare if you have been receiving SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) for at least 24 months. To qualify for Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplements, or Part D, you must be enrolled in parts A and B first.
The cost of Medicare will vary depending on which type of plan you choose. If you have worked for 40 or more quarters, you will not have to pay a monthly premium for Part A. If you have worked 30-39 quarters, you will have to pay $240 per month. For any amount worked less than 30 quarters, you will have to pay $437 per month. The Part B premium is based on your income rather than how long you worked (most beneficiaries will pay $135.50 per month). The cost for Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplements, or Part D will vary based on the carrier, location, and benefits.
Yes, you can have Medicaid and Medicare in Mississippi (and every other state). In fact, there are more than nine million people across the U.S. that qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid. If you are one of those nine million, you may also be eligible for a Dual Special Needs Plan (DSNP). DSNPs provide extra benefits, lower costs, and a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). SEPs allow you to make changes to your plan regardless of the time of year.
You could also qualify for other cost-saving programs. Medicare’s prescription drug program, Extra Help, can help you save more than $4,000/year on prescription drug costs. Other Medicare Saving Programs can help provide coverage for premiums, deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance.
The Mississippi Department of Human Services offers several programs throughout Mississippi that help older adults and disabled individuals maintain their health, independence, and comfort. These programs include:
Nutrition: There are several programs throughout the state that offer meals at community centers or delivered directly to your front door. The goal of these programs is to encourage proper nutrition and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Legal Assistance: The goal of the Legal Assistance Program is to protect and assist the elderly to secure their rights and benefits, and promote a higher quality of life.
Ombudsman: The Ombudsman Program seeks a resolution to problems experienced by residents of long-term care facilities and advocates for the rights of those who may be unable.
Home Services: The Home Service Program helps individuals continue to function in their homes and communities as long as possible while maintaining their independence.
Transportation: The Transportation Program helps older adults get to medical appointments, complete errands, and participate in recreational activities.
You can sign up for Original Medicare through your Social Security office. Visit their website (www.socialsecurity.gov), give them a call (1-800-772-1213), or visit your local office. Once you are enrolled in Original Medicare, you can schedule an appointment with a licensed agent to start exploring Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplements, and Part D plans in your area. Click here or call 833-438-3676.
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