October 6, 2016
Medicare, the government-sponsored insurance program, offers health coverage to people 65 and over and those with certain disabilities or conditions. If you’re a Medicare beneficiary in Montana, you may opt to receive your benefits under Original Medicare, which includes Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Medicare Part B (medical insurance). You may also choose to sign up for a Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) private health insurance plan and/or a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan.
You’re eligible to enroll in Original Medicare, Part A and/or Part B, in Montana during the following enrollment periods:
In general, enrollment in Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) is premium-free for Montana residents, although some individuals may have to pay a monthly premium based upon their income. Benefits under Medicare Part A in Montana (as elsewhere in the United States) include, but are not limited to, the following:
Medicare Part B, which is medical insurance, has a monthly premium. If your annual income is above a certain limit set by Medicare, you may have to pay a higher monthly premium. In Montana, as elsewhere, Medicare Part B includes coverage for preventive health care services and medically necessary services, such as:
You’re eligible for Medicare in Montana if:
You can apply for Medicare through the SSA. If you’re applying for retirement benefits, you can enroll in Medicare at the same time. In Montana, you can apply:
You may choose to receive your Medicare benefits in Montana through a Medicare Advantage plan (Medicare Part C), which is provided by private insurance companies approved by Medicare. A Medicare Advantage plan in Montana, as in the rest of the United States, is required by the government to offer at least the same medical and hospitalization coverage as Original Medicare, Part A and Part B (except hospice care, which continues to be covered under Part A). Some Medicare Advantage plans also offer extra coverage not available under Original Medicare, like hearing, vision, or dental benefits, so be sure to compare all Medicare Advantage plans available where you live in Montana to find the plan that best fits your individual health needs.
If you’re eligible for Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, and want to receive Medicare prescription drug coverage (Medicare Part D), you may enroll in a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan. Costs for Medicare Part D prescription Drug Plans in Montana vary, as they do in the rest of the United States, generally depending on the kind of the coverage you choose. Additional Medicare choices in Montana include Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans, which combine health and prescription drug coverage in a single plan.
It’s important for you to remember that even if you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan, you’re still required to continue paying your Medicare Part B premium to keep your coverage. You may also have a premium for your Medicare Advantage plan.
If you decide to stay with Original Medicare Part A and Part B for your coverage but also want help paying for Medicare-related costs, you may want to consider joining a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan available in Montana. Medicare Supplement plans are offered by private insurance companies and can help you pay for out-of-pocket costs for services covered by Medicare Part A and Part B. Medicare Supplement plans offer different standardized benefits (usually identified by a letter—A, B, C, etc.) and the cost to buy a Medicare Supplement plan varies by the coverage type and the insurance company you choose. You can add a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to your Medicare Part A and Part B and Medicare Supplement insurance to have Medicare prescription drug benefits. You cannot have a Medicare Supplement plan if you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan.
Your Medicare coverage options in Montana will generally depend on the county in which you live. For example, residents of Billings in Yellowstone County may have different Medicare plan offerings than residents of Helena in Lewis and Clark County. With the various Medicare insurance plan options available in Montana, it’s important to customize your search for plans based on your personal health and budget needs.
There are a number of resources designed to help Medicare beneficiaries in Montana with Medicare-related issues and concerns. Here are some of the resources from Medicare.gov that may be helpful to you:
Medicare Supplement insurance plans are not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. government or the federal Medicare program.