Medicare plays a key role in providing health and financial security to beneficiaries residing in Minnesota. With more than a million Minnesota beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare, we’ll cover some very important information below about Medicare in Minnesota. We want to help you better understand your options and make the decision-process as seamless as possible once you’re ready to enroll in Medicare or discover different coverage options.

Who Qualifies for Medicare in Minnesota?

Medicare covers most Minnesota residents who are 65 or older, and it also covers disabled Minnesota residents. In general, Medicare enrollment in Minnesota works the same way as it does in the rest of the country. If you qualify for Original Medicare, also known as Part A and Part B, it will help cover 80% of your health care costs.

When you’re first eligible for Medicare, you have a 7-month Initial Enrollment Period to sign up for Part A and/or Part B. If you’re eligible for Medicare when you turn 65, you can sign up during the 7-month period that:

  • Begins 3 months before the month you turn 65
  • Includes the month you turn 65
  • Ends 3 months after the month you turn 65

In most cases, if you don’t sign up for Part B when you’re first eligible, you’ll have to pay a late enrollment penalty. You’ll be responsible for paying this penalty for as long as you have Part B, and you could have a gap in your health coverage.

Once you reach Medicare eligibility, you can begin choosing additional coverage options to help pay for the remaining 20% of your medical expenses through Medicare Advantage (Part C), Medigap, and/or a Medicare Prescription Drug (Part D) plan.

Who Qualifies for Medicare

Minnesota Medicare Enrollments

534,891

Original Medicare Plans
(Part A and B)

504,892

Medicare Advantage & Other Health Plans

382,684

Stand-alone Medicare
Part D (Drug plans)

1,039,783

Total Medicare Beneficiaries
in Minnesota

Minnesota Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C)

More than 46% of Minnesota Medicare beneficiaries select Medicare Advantage plans.

Medicare Advantage plans are private, Medicare-approved insurance companies. They provide all of your Original Medicare benefits and often include extra benefits such as drug, dental, and vision coverage.

The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period runs from January 1 to March 31. During this period, Medicare beneficiaries in Minnesota who already enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan can switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan or drop their Medicare Advantage plan and enroll in Original Medicare.

As of 2020, 85 Medicare Advantage plans are available in Minnesota. The average monthly Medicare Advantage premium is $91.26 in 2020. $0 is the lowest monthly premium for a Medicare Advantage plan in Minnesota. Availability for Medicare Advantage plans in Minnesota ranges from 15 to 48 plans, depending on the county.

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), as of May 2020, there are 504,892 beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage and other plans in Minnesota. More than 46% of Minnesota Medicare beneficiaries were enrolled in a private Medicare Advantage plan in 2019. 100% of people with Medicare have access to a Medicare Advantage plan.

Minnesota Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Insurance Plans

Minnesota has its own rules for Medigap standardization, so the plan options aren’t the same as they are in most states.

Medigap plans are used to supplement Original Medicare, covering some or all of the out-of-pocket costs (for coinsurance and deductibles) that beneficiaries would otherwise incur if they only had Original Medicare on its own. Typically, Medigap plans are popular for those who want little to no copay when they access healthcare services.

Minnesota Medigap insurance is available to everyone with Medicare in the state, including those who are under 65 and are enrolled in Medicare. Often, Medigap plans in Minnesota can be more expensive if you don’t enroll during your Initial Enrollment Period and wait for an Annual Open Enrollment Period. 

There are two initial times to enroll in a Medigap plan before and after you turn 65:

  • 6 months prior to turning 65
  • Once you turn 65, your 6 month period begins the month you enroll in Part B

During this period, an insurance company can’t use medical underwriting. 

As of 2020, there are 21 insurers that offer Medigap plans in Minnesota. Minnesota is one of three states that have federal waivers that allow the state to standardized their own Medigap plans. Instead of 10 Medigap plans like the majority of states, Minnesota Medigap plans include Basic, Basic with riders, Extended Basic, and Medigap plans F, K, L, M, and N. There are also Medicare Select Medigap plans available in Minnesota.

Minnesota prohibits Medigap insurers from basing premiums on an enrollee’s age, as well as prevents insurers from imposing pre-existing condition waiting periods if the enrollee signs up during their initial six-month open enrollment window.

Minnesota Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage (Part D)

Original Medicare doesn’t cover outpatient prescription drugs. However, Medicare beneficiaries can get prescription coverage via a Medicare Advantage plan, an employer-sponsored plan (offered by a current or former employer), or a stand-alone Part D plan. Medigap plans don’t cover prescription drugs unless they’re covered under Part B.

As of 2020, There are 382,684 Medicare beneficiaries in Minnesota enrolled in stand-alone Part D prescription drug plans and 434,067 enrolled in Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans. For 2020 coverage, there are 29 stand-alone Part D plans available in Minnesota, with premiums ranging from about $13 to $90 per month. About 20% of people with a stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plan get Extra Help (also called the low-income subsidy, or LIS).

When deciding on a Part D plan, it’s important to evaluate several factors such as each plan’s premium, formulary, and copays since every plan is different. Learn how you can save money on your out-of-pocket costs with a Medicare Advantage, Part D, or Medigap plan, fill out this form or give us a call.

Local Medicare Health Plan Resources in Minnesota

  • Minnesota Board on Aging (MBA): MBA works to ensure that older Minnesotans and their families are effectively served by state and local policies and programs, so they can age well and live well. The MBA does this through its three major roles: administrator, advisor, and advocate. Program assistance includes discount pharmaceutical programs, Extra Help benefits for Part D premiums, and other Medicare issues. MN SHIP caseworkers also provide preadmission screening for seniors moving into long-term care and fraud prevention and reporting hotlines. Eligible seniors must meet income and asset limits for some means-tested programs.
    Contact: Call 1-800-333-2433 or email [email protected]

  • Minnesota Commerce Department provides free information about health insurance, costs of care, and Medicare coverage. Information provided includes up-to-date changes to Medicare legislation, Medicare Advantage plan changes, and available Part D benefits.
    Contact: Call 1-800-657-3602 or email [email protected].

  • Minnesota Senior Health Options (MSHO): MSHO focuses assistance on the 35,000 Minnesotans who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. The program combines separate health programs and support systems into one health care package. It is a voluntary program for people ages 65 or older who are eligible for Medical Assistance (MA) and enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B.
    Contact: Call 1-800-366-5411, email [email protected], or mail inquiries to MSHO at its office in the Elmer L. Andersen Human Services Building in Saint Paul.

  • HealthFinders Collaborative (HFC) Medication Assistance Program (MAP): HFC is a community health center that provides a comprehensive primary access point to health services for the marginalized families of Rice County. Through primary care, medication assistance, patient education and advocacy, and community-based wellness programming, HFC works across the continuum of wellness to collaborate and engage communities in their own health. HFC believes in the inherent capacity of our patients and communities to support health and wellness.
    Contact: Call 507-323-8100; email [email protected]; or applications, inquiries, and written requests for assistance may be mailed to the program’s Faribault office.

  • Land of the Dancing Sky Area Agency on Aging is the regional branch of this Minnesota Board on Aging’s senior resource program. Through the AAA, seniors can receive no-cost counseling about their health insurance options, including Medicare, and available prescription drug programs. The AAA also provides SHIP and Senior Medicare Patrol assistance and acts as the local Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC).
    Contact: Call 1-800-333-2433

The licensed agents that are partnered with Timefor65 can help you compare the availability, benefits, and costs of Medicare plans in your specific region of Minnesota. Our process makes it easier for you to access your Medicare eligibility in Minnesota so that you receive personalized, affordable, and easy-to-use coverage options and solutions. Fill out the form or give us a call at (866) 327‑0148 anytime to get a free quote or to ask any questions.

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