We are an INDEPENDENT Medicare broker, which means we are NOT tied to any one specific insurance carrier. We can literally offer Medicare plans from ALL the carriers who offer plans in Minnesota. It sure makes it easy when you can shop for and compare plans from ALL the carriers in one place at one time.
Are you researching affordable Medicare plans in Minnesota? One common question people have is what is the best Medicare Supplement plan? What is the best Medicare Advantage plan? What is the best Medicare Cost plan? And what is the best Medicare Part D prescription drug plan?
All excellent questions, but there is no “one-size-fits-all” answer. Every person is unique, their health care needs are different, and no one can definitively tell us how much healthcare they are going to need and use during the next 12 months.
(also known as Medigap plans)
Medigap plans, offered by private insurance companies, work in conjunction with Medicare (Parts A & B). You end up with two medical coverages.
Medigap plans do not cover prescription drugs, so most enrollees will buy a stand-alone Prescription Drug Plan, which can be changed from year to year during the Annual Election Period. Medigap plans have stricter rules on being eligible to enroll and future plan changes are not guaranteed.
There are also a limited number of different types of Medigap plans available in Minnesota such as Basic, Extended Basic, High Deductible, and Copay plans. Minnesota has its own set of rules for standardized Medigap plan designs, which is different from the 47 other states using A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, and M alphabet configuration.
Medigap plans are also guaranteed renewable, which means as long as you pay the premiums, you can keep the plan forever, benefits will never change, and most plans allow you to keep your plan even if you move.
Some also offer worldwide emergency coverage and world-wide non-emergency coverage. How do I choose a Medicare Supplement plan? We’ll show you how.
Medicare Advantage Plans, also known as Part C of Medicare, are offered by private insurance companies, and take the place of Medicare.
At a minimum, the benefits provided under Medicare Advantage cannot be less than offered under Medicare Parts A & B. In all cases, the benefits will be better, and under some plans, substantially better. These plans will normally include a network of providers, most commonly as an HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) or PPO (Preferred Provider Organization).
Most Medicare Advantage plans will include an embedded prescription drug benefit. This type of plan is often referred to as an MAPD.
A new type of Medicare Advantage plan has been recently introduced to Minnesota known as a Medicare Medical Savings Account (MSA). The MSA includes a high deductible medical plan, a member-owned trust account into which the plan makes annual deposits, no premium, and no network.
Prescription drugs are not covered by an MSA so enrollees will enroll in a stand-alone Part D plan. Enrollees in MA, MSA, MAPD, or stand alone Part D plan have the opportunity to change plans during the AEP (Annual Election Period) each year with new plans becoming effective January 1st.
Don’t let Medicare plans confuse you. We’ll show you how to find a plan that fits your budget and lifestyle.
Medicare Cost plans are similar to Medicare Advantage plans in that enrollees have access to a network of doctors and hospitals, often a very broad network, and may have additional benefits beyond what’s provided by Original Medicare.
But unlike Medicare Advantage plans, Cost plans offer policyholders the option of receiving coverage outside of the network, in which case the Medicare-covered services are paid for through Original Medicare.
Prior to 2019, Cost plans dominated Minnesota; it was by far and away the most popular type of Medicare plan offered. Aside from the broad network, Cost plans allowed you to add a stand-alone Part D drug plan, which you could change annually during AEP.
This arrangement also allowed plan members to change their Cost plan at any time during the year as long as the Cost plan was accepting new enrollees since Cost plans work in tandem with (as opposed to a replacement for) Original Medicare.
And enrollees can join a Cost plan even if they only have coverage under Medicare Part B. Cost plans were also known for providing very good value in that benefits were relatively high for which you paid a relatively modest premium.
The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 (which rebranded Medicare+Choice as Medicare Advantage) created a competition clause that banned Medicare Cost plans from operating in areas where they faced substantial competition from Medicare Advantage plans.
Legislation enacted in 2015 (MACRA) required the competition clause to be implemented as of 2019. After 2019, only 21 counties in Minnesota remained eligible to offer Medicare Cost plans.
Medicare Part D is insurance for your medication needs. A Medicare Part D plan provides coverage for prescriptions you get either at the retail pharmacy or through the Mail Order option.
Drug plans come in two formats:
A stand-alone drug plan is a plan you may buy by itself. For example, a person who enrolled in a Medigap or a MSA plan would normally buy a stand-alone drug plan to get prescription drug coverage.
An embedded drug plan would most often be found in a Medicare Advantage plan that combined Parts A, B, and D into a single plan, also known as an MAPD.
And don’t forget, there is a late enrollment penalty for those who choose to go without any prescription drug coverage. We can help you avoid that dilemma.