October 6, 2016
Louisiana residents with Original Medicare may have options available. Your choices available in Medicare will depend on your specific location and the Medicare plans that cover your service area.
Original Medicare is the traditional, federally-administered Medicare program. Most people become eligible for Medicare at age 65, but some people can qualify before 65 if they receive disability benefits. Generally, Original Medicare is the same in all fifty states in terms of coverage and costs.
Original Medicare includes Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance). Medicare Part A coverage includes:
Medicare Part B coverage includes:
Original Medicare doesn’t include prescription drug coverage, which you obtain separately through a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan. Or, you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan that includes prescription drug coverage, described below.
Most people do not pay a premium for Part A coverage if they have worked at least 10 years and paid Medicare taxes. However, because Part B includes a monthly premium, some people may delay enrollment in Part B if they have other health coverage, such as through an employer. Otherwise, it’s generally recommended to enroll in Part B as soon as you’re first eligible, or you could pay a late enrollment penalty for signing up later.
Most beneficiaries are first eligible to enroll in Medicare Part A and/or Part B during their seven-month Initial Enrollment Period (IEP), which begins three months before they turn 65, includes the month they turn 65, and ends three months later.
If you were covered through an employer-sponsored group plan, you can sign up for Part B without a penalty through a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) when that coverage ends. There may be other situations where you can enroll outside of regular enrollment periods. However, if you’re not eligible for a SEP, you’ll have to wait until the next General Enrollment Period, which runs from January 1 to March 31 every year to enroll in Part A and/or Part B..
If you live in Louisiana and are eligible to enroll in Medicare, you can do so in the following ways:
If you worked for a railroad, you can enroll in Medicare through the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB). You can call the RRB at 1-877-772-5772. TTY users dial 1-312-751-4701. RRB representatives can be reached Monday through Friday, from 9AM to 3:30 PM.
Medicare plan options are available from private insurance companies. These include Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans and Medicare Supplement plans.
Whether you are exploring your options to select a Medicare Advantage plan, a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan, a stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug Plan or a Medicare Supplement plan, it is important to note the availability of Medicare plans in Louisiana may vary by parish. Similarly, the plan premiums as well as types of coverage may vary by insurance company. You will probably want to compare costs and coverage of plans available where you live in Louisiana. To assist you in this research, you may enter your zip code in the Plan Finder located on this page.
Medicare beneficiaries living in Louisiana may find the following resources useful. This information is from Medicare.gov:
Learn more about how Medicare plans work in Louisiana, including:
Medicare Supplement insurance plans are not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. government or the federal Medicare program.