Medicare in Minnesota
This article was updated on: 09/16/2018
Medicare beneficiaries in Minnesota may have access to several Medicare choices, from Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, to plans such as Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part D, and Medicare Supplement insurance, offered by private insurance companies that contract with Medicare.
Types of Medicare coverage in Minnesota
Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, refers to the federal Medicare program. Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance) are available to eligible beneficiaries in Minnesota, as in every state.
Medicare Advantage plans, Part C, are offered through private insurance companies that have contracted with Medicare. They are required to cover everything that Original Medicare does, but some include additional benefits like routine vision and dental, hearing, or prescription drug coverage.
Medicare Part D is optional prescription drug coverage. If you have Original Medicare, you can get this coverage through a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, offered through private Medicare-approved insurance companies. These plans offer stand-alone prescription drug coverage that work alongside Original Medicare, Part A and Part B. A Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan also provides the Medicare Part D benefit, covering all Medicare benefits under a single plan.
Minnesota is one of just three states in the country (Massachusetts and Wisconsin are the others) that offers its own version of Medicare Supplement insurance. Minnesota has two plans available: the Minnesota Basic Plan and the Minnesota Extended Basic Plan. In most other states, up to 10 types of standardized plans are available. Medicare Supplement plans are also known as Medigap policies and may help pay Original Medicare out-of-pocket costs, such as copayments and deductibles.
Not every Medicare plan option in Minnesota may be available in every county.
Local resources for Medicare in Minnesota
- Medicare Savings Programs in Minnesota: Medicare beneficiaries in Minnesota who have limited financial resources may qualify for programs that help pay for some of Medicare’s out-of-pocket costs.
- Minnesota State Health Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program (SHIP): The Minnesota Board on Aging has a team of volunteers that help seniors who have questions about Medicare. This program is called the Minnesota State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), and it offers free counseling to Medicare beneficiaries throughout the state.
How to apply for Medicare in Minnesota
You’re eligible for Medicare if you’re age 65 or older, receiving disability benefits, or have certain conditions, like end-stage renal disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease). You must be either a United States citizen or a legal permanent resident of at least five years. In some instances, you may not have to take any action in order to enroll. This may happen if you’re turning 65 and already receive Social Security benefits or Railroad Retirement Board benefits.
A “Welcome to Medicare” packet is mailed out a few months before you turn 65. If you are not yet 65 but receive disability benefits from the Social Security Administration, or receive certain disability benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board, then you become eligible for Medicare as soon as you enter into the 25th straight month of receiving those benefits.
If you have to apply for Medicare manually, you may visit your local Social Security office to do so. You may also apply online at SSA.gov, or call to apply over the phone.
- Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY users should call 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday, 7AM to 7PM.
- If you worked for a railroad, call the RRB at 1-877-772-5772 (TTY users call 312-751-4701), Monday through Friday, 9AM to 3:30PM.
When looking to enroll in a Medicare Advantage, Medigap, or Medicare Part D plan, you may apply by contacting the plan of interest directly, or by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY users call 1-877-486-2048), 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also get help finding Medicare plans by contacting an insurance broker such as eHealth.
Now that you have an idea of the type of Medicare plan options for Minnesotans, would you like some assistance looking for a plan that fits? I’d be happy to help, and you can click on the “View profile” link below to view my profile if you’d like. How about setting up a phone call with me, or having me send you some information by email? You can click on the links below to do that. Some folks prefer to research plans on their own; you can do that easily by clicking on the Compare Plans option on the right.