Medicare beneficiaries in Mississippi have a number of options when it comes to how they can receive their coverage. You can get your Medicare benefits in two ways: through Original Medicare or through a private Medicare Advantage plan.
Original Medicare is the federally-run program that provides health coverage for seniors and individuals with certain disabilities. The program covers hospital insurance (Part A) and medical insurance (Part B). Medicare Part A coverage includes inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing facility care, limited home health care, and hospice care. Medicare Part B coverage includes outpatient services, such as doctor visits, preventive screenings, and durable medical equipment.
Original Medicare coverage doesn't include everything. It doesn't cover prescription drugs, acupuncture, cosmetic surgery, or routine vision and dental care.
If you live in Mississippi and are eligible for Medicare, your costs and benefits in Original Medicare will be the same regardless of which state you live in. You can visit any provider that accepts Medicare.
Generally, most people become eligible for Medicare when they turn 65. However, some beneficiaries can enroll before 65 if they have a qualifying disability or illness, such as ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease). If you have worked at least 10 years, you will automatically get Part A for free, but Part B comes with a monthly premium for most people.
To apply for Medicare:
You can enroll in Part A and Part B during the following enrollment periods:
Mississippi residents who wish to get their Medicare coverage through a private insurance company have many options available. The specific plans offered will depend on the county and zip code you reside in.
You can sign up for any of these plans during your IEP, described above.
Medicare Part C provides your Original Medicare benefits through private insurers. Commonly known as Medicare Advantage, these plans offer at least the same amount of coverage you'd have in Original Medicare. Because these are private plans, your costs and specific benefits will be different than Original Medicare. Some Medicare Advantage plans have benefits not included in Original Medicare, such as vision and dental coverage.
One key difference from Original Medicare is that you can get your prescription drug coverage through your Medicare Advantage plan, instead of through a separate Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan. Medicare Advantage plans that include drug coverage are known as MAPD plans. Regardless of which Medicare Advantage plan you join, you must continue to pay the Part B premium, in addition to your plan's premium (if it has one).
You can enroll in a Part C plan during your IEP, or during the Annual Election Period, each year from October 15 to December 7.
Medicare Part D is optional prescription drug coverage. If you have Original Medicare, you can get this coverage through a stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. Medicare Advantage members will normally get this coverage through an MAPD plan.
You're eligible for Part D as long as you have Part A and Part B and live in the service area of a plan that provides drug coverage. If you don't sign up when you're first eligible, you may have to pay a Part D late enrollment penalty when you enroll.
You can enroll in a Part D plan during your IEP, or during the Annual Election Period, each year from October 15 to December 7.
Original Medicare comes with many cost-sharing expenses that can quickly get very expensive. Some beneficiaries get Medicare Supplement (Medigap) insurance to help offset some of these costs. There are 10 types of Medigap plans, with each type designated with a letter (for example, Medigap Plan F).
Benefits across each plan letter are standardized, meaning your coverage will be the same no matter which insurer you purchase from. However, prices and availability can vary.
Keep in mind that Medigap only works with Original Medicare. You can't use these plans to pay for Medicare Advantage costs.
For more information on Medicare and Mississippi health services, please refer to the following resources:
Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed this information.