Know your options for Medicare plans in Minnesota, whether you’re looking for Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage.
Minnesota has more than 1 million people enrolled in Medicare – and the number of plan options is also growing. Comparing the different plans is key to finding the best plan for you.
Medicare plan options include:
You may also elect to add a Medicare Supplement Plan (Medigap) to go along with Original Medicare to help with additional out-of-pocket expenses.
Before you pick a plan, learn about your costs, coverage, and choosing the best Medicare plan for your needs.
To qualify for Medicare, you must meet certain eligibility requirements. First, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. You must also be at least 65 years old or have a disability and receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits for at least 24 months. You may qualify for Medicare at a younger age if you have end-stage renal disease (ESRD) or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease).
If you start receiving your Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) benefits at least four months before you turn 65, you’ll be enrolled in Medicare automatically. Otherwise, you must fill out an application online or contact your local Social Security office. You can enroll in Medicare during the following periods:
Minnesota has several Medicare options available to U.S. citizens or permanent residents at least age 65. You are eligible if under age 65 and you have ESRD, ALS, or have been disabled for at least 24 months and draw SSDI.
Original Medicare is the standard coverage for Medicare beneficiaries and has two parts: Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance). Here’s a look at the details about Original Medicare:
Who Original Medicare is best for: Original Medicare is a good option if you want more flexibility. It has a broad coverage area throughout the U.S. If you have several health conditions, you may want to pair your Medicare with a Medigap. Because Original Medicare does not cover prescriptions, enrolling in a stand-alone drug plan is important. If not paired with a Medigap, the out-of-pocket cost is a drawback to the plan.
|Part A premium||Standard Part B premium|
|Usually free||$164.90 per month|
An alternative to Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage Plans – also known as Part C – cover everything Part A and Part B do, but typically offer additional coverage.
Minnesota Medicare Advantage programs have networks and may only be available in certain areas of Minnesota. Plan options are based on ZIP code. These plans usually consist of copayments, deductibles, and out-of-pocket maximums that you are responsible for. However, plans can start at a $0 premium and go up from there. The average monthly premium in Minnesota is $70.77 (in 2023).
The Minnesota Medicare Advantage Program is made up of four types of plans:
The best Medicare Advantage Plan is the one that meets your individual needs and matches what is most important to you in terms of costs, choice of providers, and ease of access. Minnesota has 101 plans available in 2022. Medicare Advantage has continued to rise in popularity with Minnesotans.
Who Medicare Advantage Plans are best for: This type of plan is best if you are on a fixed income or you are in good health and don’t want to overpay for coverage you don’t use very often. Having one card to use and the additional benefits bundled in the plan can be attractive. To be eligible, you need to be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B.
The downsides to Medicare Advantage Plans are mostly related to a limited choice of providers and service areas. Prior authorizations and referrals may also be necessary before receiving certain procedures.
|Plan name||Monthly premium||Yearly drug and premium cost||Deductibles|
|Allina Health Aetna Medicare Plus (PPO)||$0||$0||Health: $0
|Blue Cross Medicare Advantage Core (PPO)||$0||$0||Health: $0
|Humana Gold Plus H6622-073 (HMO-POS)||$0||$0||Health: $0
Plans calculated based on St. Paul ZIP code 55101.
Medicare Part D is offered by private insurance but is regulated by Medicare. Part D can be purchased as a stand-alone PDP or as part of a Medicare Advantage Plan (MA-PD).
Minnesota Part D premiums start at $4.70 a month.
Currently, there are 22 stand-alone PDPs in Minnesota. Seven of the stand-alone plans and 64 Medicare Advantage Plans with prescription drug coverage participate in the Senior Savings Model, which lowers the cost of insulin out of pocket.
Who Part D plans are best for: PDPs are always best even if you don’t take any medications. If you do not enroll when becoming eligible, you will be penalized for every month you do not have one.
|Plan name||Monthly premium||Yearly drug and premium cost||Deductible|
|SilverScript SmartSaver (PDP)||$4.70||$56.40||$505|
|Wellcare Value Script||$7.50||$90||$505|
|Humana Walmart Value RX||$30.50||$366||$505|
Plans calculated based on St. Paul ZIP code 55101.
Medigap plans are standardized plans sold by private insurance companies. These plans are designed to pick up costs where Original Medicare leaves off in coverage. There are 8 standardized plans available in Minnesota. The Medigap Extended Basic Plan and the Medigap High Deductible Plan are only available to those who became eligible for Medicare prior to Jan. 1, 2020.
A Medigap Extended Basic Plan (new) for a 65-year-old nonsmoking female in St. Paul ranges from $212 to $550 per month. You will also be responsible for the Part B deductible of $164.90.
Who Medigap plans are best for: Medigap is a good fit if you utilize benefits frequently, do not want to be restricted to a small coverage area, and prefer to choose your own provider. You should not choose a supplement if you cannot afford the monthly premium and you want extra benefits available with Medicare Advantage, such as having the PDP, dental, vision, and hearing benefits included.
If you are considering purchasing a supplement, always check to see if the company offers additional discounts for having people that live in your household or for nonsmoking.
|Plan name||Monthly premium range||Copays/coinsurance||Deductibles||Plan benefits|
|$20 & $50 Copay Plan||$155 to $341||$0 Generally, for approved Part B services
You pay $20 for some office visits and $50 for emergency services that don’t result in a hospital admission
|$0 hospital (Part A)
$233 medical (Part B)
|High Deductible Plan-new||$63 to $193||$0 Generally your cost for approved Part B services after you pay $2,490 deductible||$0 hospital (Part A)
$233 medical (Part B)
|Medigap Extended Basic Plan-new||$212 to $550||$0||$0 hospital (Part A)
$233 medical (Part B)
Calculated based on a nonsmoking 65-year-old female in St. Paul ZIP code 55101.
Minnesotans have many plan options available. It is always good to make a list of pros and cons of the plans. Important things to consider are out-of-pocket costs, provider network, coverage area, insurance company ratings and the overall ability of the plan to meet your specific need.
|People enrolled in Original Medicare||Average plan cost||Annual Minnesota spending per beneficiary||Spending per beneficiary compared to the national average|
|539,965||Part A: $0 to $506 per month*
Part B: $164.90 **
*Most people pay no premium but this can vary depending on how long they paid Medicare taxes.
**This is the average number but it can vary based on income.
Making Medicare decisions can be overwhelming at times. It is good to utilize the resources and tools available in Minnesota. The organizations have people knowledgeable in the programs specific to your state. Most of the services provided are free. An example is The Senior LinkAge Line, which provides free counseling on Medicare questions and issues.
Never be afraid to ask questions. Get started with these Minnesota Medicare resources:
|Organization||How you can get help||Contact Information|
|Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs)||AAAs are regional organizations that provide the services, support, and information for older adults and their families. Minnesota has seven AAAs across the state that are the local connections to older Minnesotans and the community support needed as they age.||Website | (651) 641-8612|
|Minnesota Commissioner of Insurance||The Minnesota Commissioner of Insurance enforces state laws, regulates the insurance industry, and investigates and resolves complaints from consumers and businesses regarding violations of the insurance laws.||Website | (651) 539-1500|
|Minnesota Department of Health||It helps Minnesotans of all ages with disabilities in all of the Department of Health’s programs and activities for health promotion, disease prevention, wellness, and disaster preparedness.||Website | (651) 431-2000|
|Minnesota Disability Law Center (MDLC)||MDLC provides free civil legal assistance to individuals with disabilities statewide, regardless of age or income, on legal issues related to their disabilities.||Website | (800) 292-4150|
|Senior LinkAge Line||The Senior LinkAge Line is a free statewide service of the Minnesota Board on Aging in partnership with Minnesota’s AAAs. The service assists older Minnesotans and their families and caregivers, connecting them to local services and getting the help they need.||Website | (800) 333-2433|
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