Medicare Advantage plans in Minnesota are sold by private insurance companies.
Medicare Advantage, also known as Medicare Part C, replaces Original Medicare (Parts A and B) , but offers the same Part A and Part B coverages as Original Medicare.
Along with Part A and B benefits, Medicare Part C often bundles additional services like dental, hearing, vision and prescription drug coverage.
For 2023, Medicare Advantage enrollees in Minnesota can choose from 101 available Medicare Advantage plans.
Medicare Advantage plans are location-specific. This means if you search for Part C plans, you won’t see all 101 available plans in Minnesota. Instead, you’ll see options that are available in your area. However, all Minnesotans have access to a Medicare Advantage plan if they want to participate.
Medicare Advantage coverage means a private insurance company provides your Medicare benefits. Some people choose Medicare Advantage plans because they get additional benefits from their plans, such as dental, vision or hearing coverage. Some Medicare Advantage plans in Minnesota offer innovative benefits such as incentive programs and wellness and healthcare planning.
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Medicare Advantage companies may charge a premium you’ll pay in addition to your monthly Medicare Part B premium. However, some companies offer $0 premium Medicare Advantage plans, even for those whose plan includes prescription drug coverage.
The average Minnesotan paid $70.77 a month for their Medicare Advantage premium in 2023, but all Minnesotans had access to at least one $0 premium plan.
When evaluating Medicare Advantage plans in Minnesota, you’ll want to consider three main costs:
- Monthly premium: Consider how much a monthly premium (if the plan has one) will cost you not just each month, but over the entire year.
- Out-of-pocket costs: Most Medicare Advantage plans have separate flat-rate copayments for primary care visits and medical specialists.
- Annual deductible: Some Medicare Advantage plans in Minnesota require you to meet this spending limit before they start to pick up your costs.
Considering these three factors can help you more evenly compare the costs of Medicare Advantage plans in Minnesota.
Can I have Medigap if I have Medicare Advantage?
No; while both options are sold by private insurance companies, Medigap plans do not work with Medicare Advantage plans in Minnesota. Medicare Supplement Insurance, or Medigap, is a group of private policies that help cover the out-of-pocket costs that come with Original Medicare.
In order to sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan, you must first be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. This is known as Original Medicare. Once you sign up for Original Medicare, you can enroll in a Part C plan.
Whether you switch to Part C or stick with Original Medicare, you are typically first eligible for Medicare at age 65. However, you can sign up for Medicare starting the three months before your birthday, and your benefits will start when you’re first eligible. If you are already receiving Social Security benefits, the Social Security Administration will automatically enroll you in Medicare Parts A and B.
If you aren’t receiving Social Security benefits, you’ll need to enroll in Medicare online, over the phone or in person at your local Social Security office. Following the month you turn 65, you have three more months to enroll. This seven-month window is known as your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). If you try to sign up after that, you may have to pay penalties for late enrollment.
Once you’ve enrolled in Parts A and B, you can enroll in Medicare Advantage. Your enrollment window coincides with your IEP; you can switch over to a Medicare Advantage plan during your initial seven-month sign-up period. This is known as your Initial Coverage Enrollment Period.
If you have enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan and are unhappy with your current plan, you are not stuck with this plan for the rest of the time you have Medicare. Instead, there are specific time periods throughout the year when you can switch your Medicare Advantage plan.
The first is the Medicare Open Enrollment Period. Also known as the Annual Enrollment Period, it runs from October 15 to December 7. During this time, you can enroll in a new Medicare Advantage plan. Your benefits will start on January 1.
Medicare also has other times when you can switch your Medicare Advantage plan. These include:
- Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period: From January 1 through March 31 each year, you can switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan if you wish. You can also switch from Medicare Advantage back to Original Medicare. You cannot, however, switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage during this time.
- Medicare 5-Star Special Enrollment Period: The Medicare Advantage 5-Star Special Enrollment Period is a time from December 8 to November 30 that allows you to switch to an available 5-star Medicare Advantage plan if you are in a lower-rated plan. These are the most highly rated Medicare Advantage plans. You can only switch to a 5-star plan once during this period.
- Special Enrollment Periods: You can switch your Medicare plan if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). You may qualify for an SEP if you move to a new address, move back to the United States after living abroad, or if you lose your current coverage. There are a number of qualifying events where you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
Can people younger than 65 enroll in Medicare Advantage?
Yes — while Medicare is generally known as healthcare for older Americans, it’s also available to people younger than 65 who are living with certain conditions. That means Medicare Advantage plans in Minnesota are also available to:
- People who have received disability-based Social Security benefits for longer than 24 months.
- Those living with end-stage renal disease.
- People living with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
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Medicare Part D is the Medicare portion that provides prescription drug coverage. Some Medicare Advantage plans in Minnesota offer Part D coverage in addition to Part A and Part B coverage. New for 2021 is the Part D Senior Savings Model. This is a plan where a person with diabetes can get injectable insulin for no more than $35 per month. in 2023, 64 Medicare Advantage plans in Minnesota that included Part D coverage helped reduce insulin costs with the Senior Savings Model.
Some people prefer a Medicare Advantage plan with Part D coverage because they like having all of their benefits under one plan. Some $0 premium plans offer prescription drug coverage. This allows you to have prescription coverage without having to enroll in, and pay for, a separate Part D plan.
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