October 6, 2016
Medicare beneficiaries living in Oklahoma may be eligible for health coverage benefits in addition to Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, the federally administered health care program. There are Medicare plan options offered by private, Medicare-approved insurance companies that may offer additional benefits to those you receive from Original Medicare. For example, you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, as an alternative to Original Medicare. The availability of Medicare plans may vary according to your location in Oklahoma.
Medicare is available in every state in the U.S. to citizens and legal permanent residents of five continuous years or more age 65 or older. Additionally, people under the age of 65 with qualifying disabilities are eligible. Original Medicare has two parts: Part A covers inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing and nursing home care, home health care and hospice care; Part B covers doctor’s visits and preventive services such as annual wellness exams, outpatient medical and mental health care as well as durable medical equipment.
Many people are enrolled in Medicare automatically near the time they turn age 65, earned through their eligibility to receive retirement benefits through either the Social Security Administration (SSA) or the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB). Disabled persons under the age of 65 who receive SSA disability benefits, or certain RRB disability benefits, for 24 consecutive months are enrolled automatically as well. Furthermore, individuals with certain health conditions, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease) are eligible for Medicare. This process isn’t exclusive to Oklahoma; it extends to every state in the country.
Once you are enrolled, your Medicare card should arrive by mail about three months before the start of your coverage. The card shows your Medicare number, the parts of the program that you are enrolled in, and your coverage date.
Oklahoma residents who are not eligible for automatic enrollment may apply manually by visiting their local SSA office in person or by registering online. They can also enroll by telephone:
Medicare beneficiaries in Oklahoma should be aware of the Medicare plan options made available to them through Medicare Part C and Medicare Part D programs. Medicare plans are offered by private insurance companies approved by Medicare. The plans they offer vary in coverage, cost and availability. Therefore, you may find it beneficial to compare the various Medicare plans available where you live and the coverage they offer so you can make an informed decision about your Medicare coverage.
Medicare Part C, also called the Medicare Advantage program, offers an alternative way to get your Medicare Part A and Part B benefits. Offered by private insurance companies contracted with Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans provide at least the same coverage as Part A and Part B, with the exception of hospice care, which continues to be covered by Part A. If you choose to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you do not actually leave Original Medicare. As such, you continue paying your Part B premium. Many Medicare Advantage plans include extra benefits not available from Original Medicare, including, for example, routine vision, hearing, and dental coverage. While not every Medicare Advantage plan includes prescription drug coverage, many of them do. These are called Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans (MA-PDs), and they provide all your health and prescription drug coverage in a single Medicare plan.
You can also receive Medicare prescription drug coverage by enrolling in a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan to work in conjunction with Original Medicare. Stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug Plans are similar to Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans in that they are offered by Medicare-approved private insurance companies and they have formularies, or lists of covered prescription drugs. Cost and coverage vary among plans. A plan’s formulary may change at any time; however, if you are enrolled, the plan will notify you of changes as necessary.
If you decide to stay with Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), another option you may have is to sign up for a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan to help pay for Original Medicare’s out-of-pocket costs. Different Medigap plans pay for different amounts of those costs, such as copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles.
Medicare.gov has a list of educational health resources for Oklahoma residents. For Medicare-specific information, we have listed local and informational Medicare resources below:
Learn more about how Medicare plans work in Oklahoma including:
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