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Medicare in Louisiana

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 for Louisiana beneficiaries

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:

  • Inpatient hospital care
  • Limited skilled nursing facility (SNF) care
  • Medications administered during inpatient hospital or SNF stays
  • Limited home health care
  • Hospice care

Medicare Part B coverage includes:

  • Outpatient care, including doctor’s visits and lab tests
  • Preventive care
  • Mental health services
  • Durable medical equipment

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:

  • Online at the Social Security website.
  • By phone at 1-800-772-1213. If you are a TTY user, you can dial 1-800-325-0778. Social Security representatives are available Monday through Friday, from 7AM to 7PM.
  • In person at your local Social Security office. Click here to find Social Security offices in Louisiana.

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 coverage options in Louisiana

Medicare plan options  are available from private insurance companies. These include Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans and Medicare Supplement plans.

  • Medicare Advantage (Part C) provides another way to receive your Original Medicare benefits. Private companies contract with the federal government to provide at least the same amount of coverage as Original Medicare Part A and Part B, with the exception of hospice care, which continues to be covered by Part A.  Some Medicare Advantage plans offer more coverage than Original Medicare through lower deductibles and coinsurances; for example it may include additional benefits, such as routine vision, dental and/or prescription drug If you have Medicare Advantage, you  continue to pay your Part B premium. You may have a separate premium you pay to your Medicare Advantage plan.
  • Medicare Part D is prescription drug coverage. If you have Original Medicare, you can receive Medicare prescription drug benefits by enrolling in a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug P Medicare Prescription Drug Plans are offered by private Medicare-approved insurance companies. Some Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage (also known as MA-PD plans). In this case, you would get both your health and drug benefits all in one plan. If you have Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan coverage, you can’t purchase a stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (PDP). You may have a separate premium you pay to your Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. If so, you may be eligible for “Extra Help” if you have a low income and need help paying for your Part D prescription drug coverage.
  • Medicare Supplement .  These plans may pay out-of-pocket costs like deductibles and copayments, as well as benefits that Original Medicare doesn’t include, such as overseas health coverage. You must have Medicare, Part A and Part B to sign up for a Medicare Supplement plan. While you cannot have a Medicare Supplement plan and a Medicare Advantage plan concurrently, you can have a Medicare Supplement plan and a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan at the same time.

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.

Louisiana resources for Medicare beneficiaries

Medicare beneficiaries living in Louisiana may find the following resources useful. This information is from

  • Louisiana Department of Insurance: Find information on Medicare and the state’s Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP). If you would like to speak to someone at the Department of Insurance, you can dial 1-800-259-5300 or 1-800-259-5301 Monday through Friday between 8AM and 5PM.
  • Louisiana Medicaid: This website provides information on Medicaid eligibility, enrollment, and Medicare Savings Programs (for those who qualify for Medicare and Medicaid). To speak with someone at the state Medicaid office, call 1-888-544-7996 Monday through Friday between 7:30AM and 4:30PM.
  • Louisiana Senior Medicare Patrol: This program educates beneficiaries on preventing Medicare and Medicaid fraud. To contact the office, call 1-877-272-8720 Monday through Friday between 8:30AM and 5PM.

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.