Are you nearing the age of 65 and live in Mississippi? If so, you’ll soon be joining the 16.4% of the state’s population who are 65 and older.
As your milestone birthday approaches, you may also have a lot of questions about Medicare. You know that this health insurance program is intended to help older Americans get the medical care they need, but how does it work? You might be asking, “How do I apply for Medicare in Mississippi?” or “Who qualifies for coverage?”
This guide will help answer these common questions so that you can confidently enroll in Medicare coverage. If you have further questions, we’re always available to help!
Medicare is a federal program intended to help provide health coverage for those who aren’t likely to get it through an employer. As a result, those who qualify are at retirement age or have a specific health condition that allows them to enroll in Medicare before age 65.
More specifically, to qualify for Medicare coverage in Mississippi, you need to be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident who has lived in the US for at least five years, and one of the following conditions must also apply:
Once you qualify, you have access to a variety of choices when it comes to your specific coverage. Understanding these options will help you choose the best Medicare coverage for your needs.
If you qualify for Medicare based on your age, you will need to be 65 or older to get coverage. Your initial enrollment period begins three months before your 65th birthday, includes your birthday month, and extends three months afterward.
Do you have to be 65 to get Medicare? Not always. Some people who are under 65 but receive disability benefits, have ALS, or are diagnosed with end-stage renal disease also qualify.
Many Americans get Medicare automatically when they are eligible, but the options you are automatically enrolled in might not be right for your needs.
When you are automatically enrolled, you receive Original Medicare Parts A and B. That covers inpatient hospital stays (Part A) and outpatient medical care, preventive care, and equipment (Part B). However, you don’t have any coverage for prescription medications unless you specifically choose a Medicare Part D plan.
Also, you might decide that a Medicare Advantage plan (Medicare Part C) is a better option for you. The costs are similar but you often get additional benefits, such as dental and vision care. However, the medical network is limited to your geographic area.
By carefully reviewing your options during your initial enrollment period, you can choose the best Medicare plan that meets your needs.
Not everyone is automatically enrolled. If you need to enroll in Medicare yourself, you can take one of the following steps:
Your Medicare costs will depend on which plan you choose.
For Original Medicare, most people pay no premium for Part A and a monthly premium of $170.10 for Part B in 2022. If you haven’t contributed to Medicare for very long as a worker, or if you have a higher income, those premiums may be different.
When you use Medicare Part A for an inpatient hospitalization, you’ll first be responsible for a deductible of $1,556 in 2022. Then, you’ll have a $0 coinsurance for days 1 - 60 within the year. Days 60 - 90 in a year have a coinsurance of $389 per day, and after day 90 you’ll pay the full cost or use your lifetime reserve days. You only have 60 lifetime reserve days in your lifetime, and they have a coinsurance of $778 per day.
For Medicare Part B, you’ll pay a deductible of $233 a year, and then 20% of the Medicare-approved cost of care and equipment, while Medicare pays the rest.
If you have a Medicare Part D plan for prescription drugs, it will have its own monthly premium, deductible, and copayments. You’ll need to use pharmacies that are within the plan’s network and ensure your necessary drugs are included. You can compare plans to find the best one for your needs.
Some people choose to skip Original Medicare and choose a full replacement plan known as Medicare Advantage instead. We’ll talk about Medicare Advantage in the next section.
Medicare Part C, better known as Medicare Advantage, is a full replacement for Original Medicare. It’s sold by individual insurance companies, so in most areas, you have several options for Medicare Advantage in Mississippi. There are over 1.7 million people enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan in Mississippi.
Medicare Advantage plans are a great option for those who spend most of their time in their local area and are looking for additional benefits from their Medicare coverage. You may be able to get dental, vision, and other benefits with your Advantage plan.
Many Advantage plans don’t have a monthly premium beyond your Part B premium, but some do have an additional monthly cost. You’ll also want to compare plans based on their deductibles, copayment amounts, and other out-of-pocket costs.
The important thing to remember about Medicare Advantage plans is that you’ll generally need to stay within the medical network for non-emergency care. Make sure the plan you choose includes the doctors and specialists you use most often, and that the prescription drug coverage includes the medication you need.
When you choose the right Medicare plan, you can get all of the benefits you need at a price that makes sense for you.
This guide answered many of the most common questions about Medicare in Mississippi. However, you might have questions about your specific situation. That’s where talking to a licensed agent can help. Contact us today to learn more about Medicare plans in Mississippi!
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