The average cost of monthly premiums for insurance in Minnesota is $477, which may be too expensive for some of the residents in the state. However, the US federal government offers more affordable Minnesota Medicare insurance coverage for beneficiaries over the age of 65, and some workers with disabilities may qualify as well. The Minnesota state government also offers various assistance programs for Medicare beneficiaries.
One way to obtain Medicare services is to obtain Original Medicare. This is offered by Medicare itself. It is made up of Medicare Part A which covers inpatient health care and other hospital and hospice services, and Medicare Part B which covers the medically necessary treatments, durable supplies, and preventive services.
Premiums may be required for both Part A and Part B, although Part A is normally premium-free. Both parts of Original Medicare also have deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance costs that beneficiaries may have to count as out-of-pocket expenses.
Medicare has also approved some private health insurance carriers in Minnesota to offer Medicare Advantage Plans. This is also known as Medicare Part C. These plans substitute for Original Medicare, as it covers the very same health care services that are included in Parts A and B.
However, they also offer an advantage, as they may cover other health services that are not covered by Original Medicare. In addition, many of these plans come with coverage for prescription drugs as well.
Those who opt for Original Medicare may still improve the coverage by obtaining Medicare Supplemental Plans. These plans come with a premium, but they make the coverage of Original Medicare more comprehensive. They may provide coverage for services that aren’t covered in Medicare Part A and Part B.
Some supplemental plans are stand-alone plans for Medicare prescription medication. This type of coverage is called Medicare Part D. Other plans may also cover the out-of-pocket expenses such as deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance involved with Medicare Part A and Part B.
In Minnesota, even the more affordable Medicare costs may be too expensive for some of the residents. This is understandable in light of the 11.5% poverty rate in the state. Low-income beneficiaries may apply to Minnesota Medicaid to receive financial assistance for Medicare costs.
One of the Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs) is for Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries (QMB). The QMB program covers the premiums for Medicare Part A and Part B. The deductibles, copays, and coinsurance costs are covered as well. An individual can qualify for this program with an income of no more than $1,032 a month. A married couple can also qualify with a combined income of less than $1,392 a month.
Another MSP covers the premium for Medicare Part B, which at its lowest costs $134 a month. This is the Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary or SLMB program. The monthly income of an individual who qualifies for this program cannot exceed $1,234. For a married couple, the combined income limit is $1,666.
The program for Qualified Individuals (QI) also pays for Part B premiums, though the application approval and benefits are on a “first come, first served” basis. This is sometimes due to limited funding. For an individual to qualify for the QI program, their income must be less than $1,386 a month. The combined income limit for a married couple is $1,872.
Qualifying for the QMB, SLMB, and QI programs also require that an individual has assets that do not total more than $7,560. The resource limit is $11,340 for a married couple.
Another program pays for the Medicare Part A premium, and this is the program for Qualified Disabled and Working Individuals (QDWI) program. The income limit is $4,132 per month for individuals and $5,572 for married couples. The asset limit is $4,000 for individuals and $6,000 for married couples.
Minnesota also offers the Extra Help program, which is also known as the Low-Income Subsidy for Medicare Part D. Qualified individuals can earn no more than $18,090 per year, while married couples must have a combined income of no more than $24,360. There is also a resource limit of $13,820 for individuals and $27,600 for married couples.
Every state needs to have a State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) to answer questions from state residents about Medicare. In Minnesota, this is called the Senior LinkAge Line. It offers a free counselling service on Medicare and health insurance in general.
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