Summary: Medicare Supplement plans in Minnesota are very different than plans in most other states. Instead of the standard letter plans, Minnesota residents have the Basic plan and the Extended Basic plan, along with a few additional riders that you can enroll in for extra coverage. Find out more about Medigap plans in Minnesota and which one could meet your budget and healthcare needs. Estimated Read Time: 10 mins
Table of Contents:
- Best Medicare Supplement Plans in Minnesota
- Minnesota Medicare Supplement Basic Plan
- Minnesota Medicare Supplement Extended Basic Plan
- Eligibility for Medigap Plans in Minnesota
- How Much Do Medigap Plans Cost in Minnesota?
- Companies Offering Medigap Plans in Minnesota
- Minnesota Medigap for Disabled Persons Under 65
- Medicare Supplement Rating Method in Minnesota
- Medigap Guaranteed Issue Protections in Minnesota
- Are There Excess Charges for Medicare in Minnesota?
- Additional Medicare Coverage Options in Minnesota
Medicare Supplement plans in Minnesota are different than everywhere else in the nation. Minnesota doesn’t offer the same letter Medigap plans (Plan F, Plan G, etc) that most states have.
Instead, the two Medigap options in this state are the Basic plan and the Extended Basic plan. One policy offers more coverage than the other. Below, we’ll provide a more in-depth explanation of how Medigap plans in Minnesota work.
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Medicare Supplement coverage isn’t one-size-fits-all, so the best plan for you is the one that fits your needs. If you find the Basic plan provides enough coverage, it could be right for you. However, if you are looking for additional coverage, you can add riders or pay a higher premium for the Extended Basic coverage.
The Basic plan covers the coinsurances for Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B, the initial three pints of blood each year, cost-sharing for Medicare Part A hospice, and cost-sharing for home health services through Medicare Parts A and B.
It also covers 100 days of skilled nursing facility care through Medicare Part A, 80% of costs for foreign travel emergencies, 50% of costs for outpatient mental health care, 20% of costs for physical therapy, preventive care covered by Medicare, and certain state-mandated benefits.
The state-mandated benefits include equipment and supplies for diabetes, routine cancer screening, immunizations, and reconstructive surgery.
You can purchase additional riders to add benefits to the Basic plan. Available riders include coverage for the Part A deductible, customary fees, and preventive care not included in Medicare. For those eligible for first-dollar coverage, a rider covering the Medicare Part B deductible is also available. However, adding benefits will increase your monthly premium.
The Extended Basic plan includes everything the Basic plan covers plus more. The additional benefits of the Extended Basic plan include an extra 20 days of skilled nursing facility care, the Medicare Part A inpatient hospital deductible, and Part B deductible (if eligible).
The Extended Basic plan also offers 80% coverage of usual/customary fees and costs for care in a foreign country until $1,000 out-of-pocket is reached. After this amount is spent for each, the plan covers 100%.
Minnesota Medicare Supplement Plan Comparison Chart
To be eligible for Original Medicare in Minnesota, you must be a U.S. citizen for at least five years and meet one of the following criteria:
- Being 65 years old
- Being diagnosed with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)
- Being diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease)
- Receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for at least 24 months
Once you enroll in Original Medicare, you become eligible for a Medicare Supplement plan. For most individuals, the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period (OEP) begins on the first day of the month when their Part B coverage begins and lasts for six months. During this period, you can enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan without undergoing medical underwriting.
Minnesota state laws grants beneficiaries another six-month Medigap OEP if they return to work and disenroll from Medicare Part B so they can join the employer plan.
If you don’t enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan during this initial enrollment period, you can still apply for coverage at any time. However, you will be required to answer health questions during the underwriting process, and you may end up with higher monthly premiums or be denied coverage. Under certain circumstances, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
The costs of Medicare Supplement insurance plans in Minnesota vary based on the insurance company and other factors. These factors include whether or not you use tobacco or if you live in a rural or urban area. The factors that insurers will look at for pricing can vary between companies.
Below are some examples of average annual premiums from some of the largest companies in Minnesota offering Medigap plans. They include the Basic Plan, the Extended Basic Plan, and some of the most popular optional riders in Minnesota.
|BCBS of MN||Basic Plan||Extended Basic Plan||Part A Deductible||100% Part B Excess||Prevention||$20 & $50 Part B Copay||High Ded.|
|Cigna||Basic Plan||Extended Basic Plan||Part A Deductible||100% Part B Excess||Prevention||$20 & $50 Part B Copay||High Ded.|
|Humana||Basic Plan||Extended Basic Plan||Part A Deductible||100% Part B Excess||Prevention||$20 & $50 Part B Copay||High Ded.|
|Rural 1 Smoker||$4358||$6496||$955||$95||$110||$4185||$1522|
|Rural 1 Non-Smoker||$3710||$5558||$799||$79||$110||$3691||$1304|
|Rural 2 Smoker||$4047||$6031||$886||$88||$102||$3886||$1414|
|Rural 2 Non-Smoker||$3445||$5160||$742||$73||$102||$3428||$1212|
|Mutual of Omaha||Basic Plan||Extended Basic Plan||Part A Deductible||100% Part B Excess||Prevention||$20 & $50 Part B Copay||High Ded.|
|UHC||Basic Plan||Extended Basic Plan||Part A Deductible||100% Part B Excess||Prevention||$20 & $50 Part B Copay||High Ded.|
Multiple reputable companies offer Medigap plans in Minnesota. While the availability of specific carriers may differ depending on your location within the state, here are some of the largest insurance companies in Minnesota that provide Medigap plans:
- Mutual of Omaha
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota
|Compare Minnesota Medicare Supplement Carriers|
|Carrier||BBB Rating||S&P Rating||A.M. Best Rating|
|Mutual of Omaha||A+||A+||A+|
When assessing your coverage options, it’s crucial to carefully evaluate and compare the Medicare Supplement plans available between different insurance companies since their costs can vary. Some insurers even have different criteria for their premium pricing than others.
Also, while comparing premiums is an important aspect of selecting a Medigap provider, it shouldn’t be the sole determining factor.
Independent credit agencies such as S&P or A.M. Best, evaluate the financial stability of carriers, offering valuable insights into their ability to meet your medical needs. Additionally, consumer agencies like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) assess the overall customer experience with these insurance companies. Taking these factors into consideration can assist you in making an informed decision about your coverage.
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Medigap plans are available to Medicare beneficiaries under 65 if they have collected SSDI for at least 24 months or have been diagnosed with ESRD or ALS. In Minnesota, Medicare Supplement insurance companies must offer at least one policy to those under 65. Because of the community rating method, the premiums for people under 65 are the same as those who aged into Medicare.
The rating method insurance companies use for Medigap plans in Minnesota is the Community rated method. This means companies are likely charging you the same premium as your neighbor for the same coverage, regardless of age or gender. However, smokers will pay more than non-smokers for the same coverage. The premium may also increase due to outside factors like inflation.
There are two other rating methods called the Attained age method and the Issue age method, but insurance companies are prohibited to use these in Minnesota.
Federal law mandates that Medigap plans must provide guaranteed issue protections, also known as guaranteed issue rights or GI rights. These safeguards ensure that individuals can enroll in Medigap coverage without being denied or charged higher premiums based on pre-existing conditions. They aim to guarantee access to Medigap coverage when it’s needed.
One significant guaranteed issue right is the Medicare Advantage trial period. If you initially enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan (Medicare Part C) when you first became eligible for Original Medicare and choose to disenroll within the first year, you have a one-time guaranteed issue right to enroll in a Medigap plan. This allows you to obtain Medigap coverage without undergoing medical underwriting.
Another important protection applies to individuals who lose coverage. If you lose employer-based retirement coverage or your current Medigap plan terminates or discontinues, you have a guaranteed issue right to enroll in another Medigap plan. This protection also extends to situations where you move out of state and your existing Medigap carrier is no longer available. To qualify for this protection, you must apply for a new Medigap plan within 63 days of the termination of your current plan.
Additionally, there are GI rights related to Medicare Advantage plans. If your Medicare Advantage plan is terminated, you move out of its service area, or you lose coverage due to circumstances beyond your control, you have a guaranteed issue right to enroll in a Medigap plan. To be eligible, you must apply for a Medigap plan within 63 days of the termination of your Medicare Advantage plan.
Excess charges for Medicare can occur when healthcare providers don’t accept Medicare assignment. Medicare assignment is a fee schedule agreement between the Medicare program and a doctor or facility. When Medicare assignment is accepted, it means your doctor agrees to the payment terms of Medicare. When healthcare providers don’t accept Medicare’s assigned rates, they could charge an additional 15% above those rates.
Luckily for Minnesota residents, state law prohibits healthcare providers from imposing any excess charges.
It should be noted, however, that excess charges are not prohibited by all states so if you travel to another state and seek medical care, you may potentially encounter excess charges. But healthcare providers rarely do so, even in states where it’s not illegal.
If you decide that Minnesota’s Medicare Supplement plans aren’t right for you, you do have other healthcare options.
Several Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) are available throughout Minnesota. Medicare Advantage plans are provided by private insurance companies and include all of the benefits of Original Medicare Parts A and B. However, your plan options depend on your current zipcode. Often, those who find the price tag of a Medigap plan too steep will explore Medicare Advantage plans as an alternative option.
It’s also important to note that Medicare Advantage plans have their own network of healthcare providers. This network is typically localized and more limited compared to the nationwide network of Original Medicare. Consequently, this can result in higher out-of-pocket costs when compared to having Original Medicare alongside a Medigap plan.
Be sure to consider your health and budget needs when selecting coverage. Weighing the pros and cons of Medicare Advantage plans will help you make the right decision.
Another coverage option is Medicare Part D which can help you cover the costs of your prescription drugs. Medicare Part D is also provided by private insurers, and there are a few key considerations to keep in mind before enrolling.
Medicare Part D plans operate based on a formulary, which is a list of prescription drugs covered by each individual plan. It’s crucial to ensure that the Part D plan you intend to enroll in provides coverage for the specific medications you need.
Another important aspect of Medicare Part D is to enroll as soon as you become eligible. Delaying enrollment can result in higher premiums due to the Medicare Part D late enrollment policy.
Lastly, there are ancillary dental, vision, and hearing plans available. These plans can be particularly beneficial when paired with Original Medicare and a Medigap plan.
Minnesota Resources for Medicare
Those with lower incomes who struggle to pay their monthly premiums can apply for a Medicare Savings Program. If you don’t qualify, you could still be eligible for Extra Help, which is a program that helps pay for Part D.
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How to Apply for a Medicare Supplement Plan in Minnesota
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- Minnesota Government Commerce Department of Insurance. Accessed June 2023.
- Minnesota Government Premium Statistics. Accessed June 2023.