Medicare plays a key role in providing health and financial security to beneficiaries residing in Montana. With more than 234,800 Montana beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare, we’ll cover some very important information below about Medicare in Montana. 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 Montana?

Medicare covers most Montana residents who are 65 or older, and it also covers disabled Montana residents. In general, Medicare enrollment in Montana 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

Montana Medicare Enrollments

186,847

Original Medicare Plans
(Part A and B)

48,020

Medicare Advantage & Other Health Plans

119,388

Stand-alone Medicare
Part D (Drug plans)

234,867

Total Medicare Beneficiaries
in Montana

Montana Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C)

Only 19% of Montana 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 Montana 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, 15 Medicare Advantage plans are available in Montana. The average monthly Medicare Advantage premium changed from $53.13 in 2019 to $51.84 in 2020. $0 is the lowest monthly premium for a Medicare Advantage plan in Montana. All 56 of Montana’s counties have Medicare Advantage plans available. The availability of Medicare Advantage plans can range from one to nine, depending on the county.

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), as of May 2020, there are 48,020 beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage and other plans in Montana. Only 19% of Montana Medicare beneficiaries were enrolled in a private Medicare Advantage plan in 2019. 100% of people with Medicare have access to a Medicare Advantage plan.

Montana Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Insurance Plans

Montana requires Medigap insurers to offer plans to disabled Medicare beneficiaries under the age of 65.

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.

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. 

Medigap insurers in Montana can choose to use attained-age rating, issue-age rating, or community rating. Although federal rules don’t require Medigap insurers to offer plans to Medicare beneficiaries under age 65 who are eligible for Medicare due to a disability, Montana does require Medigap insurers to offer coverage to disabled Medicare beneficiaries.

Montana 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 119,388 Medicare beneficiaries in Montana enrolled in stand-alone Part D prescription drug plans and 43,844 enrolled in Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans. For 2020 coverage, there are 29 stand-alone Part D plans available in Montana, with premiums ranging from about $15 to $94 per month. About 23% 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 Montana

  • Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs): Montana’s Area Agencies on Aging are public or private non-profit agencies, designated by the Aging Services Bureau, to address the needs and concerns of older Montanans at the local level. Every Area Agency on Aging is required to have an advisory council, comprised primarily of older persons, to review and comment on all programs affecting the elderly at the community level. More than 100 advisory council members work in partnership with Montana’s Area Agencies on Aging.
    Contact: Call the statewide helpline at 1-800-551-3191 to be connected to their local agency. A complete list of Montana AAA with addresses and phone numbers is available here.

  • Montana’s State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP): SHIP provides no-cost health-benefits counseling and advocacy service for Medicare beneficiaries and their families or caregivers. Its mission is to educate, advocate for, counsel, and empower people to make informed benefit decisions. SHIP is an independent, objective, and confidential assistance program funded by The Administration on Community Living and is not affiliated with the insurance industry. This program is administered by the Montana Office on Aging and is operated through the Area Agencies on Aging.
    Contact: Call 1-800-551-3191 to set up a telephone counseling session or arrange an in-person meeting with their local AAA.

  • Montana Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP): SMP is a volunteer-based organization in which seniors help other seniors become educated Medicare consumers. SMP can help you understand and organize your medical bills and Medicare Summary Notices (MSN); help check for and correct billing errors; in cases of potential fraud, contact and refer to the appropriate agency to investigate the issue, and provide education about managing Medicare bills and protecting yourself.
    Contact: Call the program’s manager Renee Labrie-Shanks at 1-406-728-7682 or by email at rlabrie@missoulaagingservices.org. You can also get information about how to connect with SMP volunteers in your area by calling the Montana AAA hotline at 1-800-551-3191.

  • Office of the Montana State Commissioner of Securities and Insurance (CSI): CSI is the state government regulator of the insurance and securities industries and advocate for the citizens of Montana. The Office of the Montana State Auditor, CSI is a criminal justice agency that protects Montana’s consumers by ensuring fairness, transparency, and access for Montanans in two of Montana’s largest industries — securities and insurance. CSI can help seniors file insurance complaints and fraud reports, as well as help them find legal support specializing in insurance and securities.
    Contact: Call 1-800-332-6148 or 1-406-444-2040

  • Missoula Aging Services is the leading senior advocacy resource in Missoula and Ravalli Counties. It is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote the independence, dignity, and health of older adults and those who care for them. is available for seniors who are about to turn 65 and are considering their many options with Medicare.
    Contact: Call 1-406-794-0083, 1-406-259-9666, or email info@allianceyc.org.

  • The Bozeman Senior Center is a nonprofit organization focusing on support services for adults over 50 in southwest Montana.
    Contact: The Bozeman Senior Center’s main location at 807 North Tracy Avenue is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:40 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information, call 1-406-586-2421 during business hours or email info@bozemanseniorcenter.org.

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 Montana. Our process makes it easier for you to access your Medicare eligibility in Montana 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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