Here’s the Rundown: If you are one of over 1 million people who get Medicare in Minnesota, as of February 2020, it’s important to understand how Medicare works and what your options are.

As a Medicare beneficiary in Minnesota, you have multiple options when it comes to how you receive your coverage.

If you stick with Original Medicare you may be able to choose a stand-alone Part D Prescription drug plan and a Medicare Supplement insurance plan.

You also may be able to choose an all-in-one Medicare Advantage plan.

Read on to learn about Medicare in Minnesota.

Original Medicare in Minnesota

Original Medicare is the government health insurance plan for people 65+ and some people younger than 65 with certain disabilities and illnesses.

Original Medicare in Minnesota and Original Medicare in all other 50 states works the same because it’s a federal program.

With Medicare, you don’t have to stick to doctors in one network. You can go to any doctor or care provider who takes Medicare.

What does Medicare in Minnesota Cover?

Original Medicare comes in two parts: Part A and Part B.

Part A covers hospital services, like:

  • Hospital care
  • Skilled nursing facility (SNF) care
  • Hospice care
  • Home health care

Part B covers medical services, such as:

  • Doctor’s visits
  • Preventive services, such as screenings and lab tests
  • Durable medical equipment
  • Ambulance transportation

Original Medicare doesn’t cover everything.

Prescription drugs, routine vision and dental care, hearing aids, and dentures aren’t covered.

When do I sign up for Medicare in Minnesota?

Most people enroll in Medicare when they first can at 65.

You can sign up during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). Your Initial Enrollment period begins three months before you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and ends three months later.

If you’re still working and/or have coverage through an employer’s or union’s group health plan, you don’t have to enroll in Medicare during your Initial Enrollment Period.
Instead, you can wait until after you retire and your coverage through your job ends. You may then enroll using a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) that are 8 months long.

If you miss your IEP or don’t qualify for an SEP, you can still enroll in Original Medicare during the General Enrollment Period (GEP). This enrollment period runs from January 1 to March 31 every year.  You may have to pay a higher premium as a penalty for not signing up during your IEP.

How do you sign up for Medicare in Minnesota?

Like other states, Minnesota residents can sign up for Medicare in the following ways:

  • By visiting the Social Security website.
  • By calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213. If you are a TTY user, you can dial 1-800-325-0778. Social Security can be reached Monday through Friday, from 7AM to 7PM.
  • By visiting a local Social Security website. Click here to find Social Security offices in Minnesota.

Medicare in Minnesota Coverage Options

You can also choose to get Medicare coverage through private insurance companies.

The specific plans and benefits that you can enroll will depend on where you live.

Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage)

Medicare Part C, s also known as Medicare Advantage (MA), provides another way to get your Medicare benefits.

Private insurance companies that offer Medicare Advantage Plans are required to cover at least the same benefits as Original Medicare (with the exception of hospice care, which is still covered by Part A).

Medicare Advantage plans may come with prescription drug coverage (also known as Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan or MA-PD).

These plans usually provide more coverage than Original Medicare. For example, they usually cover things like vision and dental.

Some of these plans offer the basic level of coverage plus extra coverage at $0 per month in Minnesota.

Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage)

If you decide to stick with Original Medicare or a MA plan without Prescription drug coverage, you might want to get a Part D plan.

Medicare Part D is optional prescription drug coverage.

If you have Original Medicare, you can add on this coverage by signing up with a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan.

You’ll probably pay a separate plan premium for a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan, as well as other costs like copayments and deductibles.

Medicare Supplement (Medigap) insurance

Original Medicare may require many out-of-pocket costs.

If you decide to stay with Original Medicare, another option you may have is to sign up for a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) insurance plan.

These plans help pay for Original Medicare’s out-of-pocket costs.

Different Medigap plans pay for different amounts of these out-of-pocket costs.

Out-of-pocket costs are things like:

  • Copayments
  • Coinsurance
  • And deductibles.

Some plans also cover benefits not included in Original Medicare, like some overseas emergency medical care coverage.

Keep in mind that Medicare Supplement insurance plans sold today don’t cover prescription drugs. Also it’s important to know that you can’t use them with Medicare Advantage plans.

Medicare in Minnesota Resources

  • Minnesota State Website: Find long-term care services, learn to file a complaint, and learn how to get coverage if you have a pre-existing condition.
  • Minnesota Board on Aging: Find resources on available state services for older Minnesotans.
  • Medical Assistance: This is Minnesota’s Medicaid program, which helps with health care costs for individuals and families, including people with Medicare.

Learn more about how Medicare plans work in Minnesota, including: