Medicare Part C is available through Medicare Advantage plans, and is an alternative to Original Medicare (Part A and Part B). Medicare Advantage plans are health insurance plans offered by private health insurance companies approved by Medicare. Medicare Advantage health plans (such as HMOs and PPOs) are legally required to offer at least the same benefits as Original Medicare, but can include additional coverage as well, such as routine vision or dental benefits, health wellness programs, or prescription drugs.

Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) - Part A helps cover inpatient care in hospitals, including critical access hospitals, and skilled nursing facilities (not custodial or long-term care). It also helps cover hospice care and some home health care. Beneficiaries must meet certain conditions to get these benefits. Most people don't pay a premium for Part A because they or a spouse already paid for it through their payroll taxes while working.

You can enroll in Medicare as soon as you meet the eligibility requirements. In Minnesota, you are allowed to enroll in Original Medicare three months before you turn 65 years of age, even if you are not retired or collecting benefits from Social Security. Keep in mind that the Social Security Administration usually enrolls you automatically in Original Medicare when you request Social Security benefits at age 65. It is advisable to postpone enrolling in Medicare Part B if you, or your spouse, have coverage through an employer or union. This will save you from paying Part B premiums while you have coverage. However, if you are eligible and choose not to enroll in Medicare Part B (even though you do not have coverage from a current employer), you will have to pay a ten percent penalty for each year that your enrollment is delayed.


In 2006, the SGR mechanism was scheduled to decrease physician payments by 4.4%. (This number results from a 7% decrease in physician payments times a 2.8% inflation adjustment increase.) Congress overrode this decrease in the Deficit Reduction Act (P.L. 109-362), and held physician payments in 2006 at their 2005 levels. Similarly, another congressional act held 2007 payments at their 2006 levels, and HR 6331 held 2008 physician payments to their 2007 levels, and provided for a 1.1% increase in physician payments in 2009. Without further continuing congressional intervention, the SGR is expected to decrease physician payments from 25% to 35% over the next several years.

More limited income-relation of premiums only raises limited revenue. Currently, only 5 percent of Medicare enrollees pay an income-related premium, and most only pay 35 percent of their total premium, compared to the 25 percent most people pay. Only a negligible number of enrollees fall into the higher income brackets required to bear a more substantial share of their costs—roughly half a percent of individuals and less than three percent of married couples currently pay more than 35 percent of their total Part B costs.[152]

"Health Care Choices for Minnesotans on Medicare 2013" (PDF) lists Medicare Part D prescription health plans and the coverage for each. Also includes general information on Medicare prescription coverage. It is published by the Minnesota Board on Aging and distributed by the Senior LinkAge Line, 1-800-333-2433. The Senior LinkAge Line representatives assist people of all ages in looking for lower-priced prescriptions.

Medicare beneficiaries in Minnesota have the option to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan as an alternative way to get their Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, coverage. Also known as Medicare Part C, Medicare Advantage plans are available through private insurance companies that contract with Medicare. All Medicare Advantage plans are required to provide at least the same level of coverage as Original Medicare, meaning you’ll get the same hospital and medical benefits of Part A and Part B through your Medicare Advantage plan. In addition, some Medicare Advantage plans may also offer additional benefits, such as routine dental, vision, hearing, or prescription drugs.


The first 20 days would be paid for in full by Medicare with the remaining 80 days requiring a co-payment of $167.50 per day as of 2018. Many insurance group retiree, Medigap and Part C insurance plans have a provision for additional coverage of skilled nursing care in the policies they sell. If a beneficiary uses some portion of their Part A benefit and then goes at least 60 days without receiving facility-based skilled services, the 90-day hospital clock and 100-day nursing home clock are reset and the person qualifies for new benefit periods.


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This information is not a complete description of benefits. Call 1-866-405-8762 (TTY: 711) for more information. Out-of-network/non-contracted providers are under no obligation to treat UPMC for Life members, except in emergency situations. Please call our customer service number or see your Evidence of Coverage for more information, including the cost-sharing that applies to out-of-network services. Other physicians/providers are available in the UPMC for Life network.


The highest penalties on hospitals are charged after knee or hip replacements, $265,000 per excess readmission.[31] The goals are to encourage better post-hospital care and more referrals to hospice and end-of-life care in lieu of treatment,[32][33] while the effect is also to reduce coverage in hospitals that treat poor and frail patients.[34][35] The total penalties for above-average readmissions in 2013 are $280 million,[36] for 7,000 excess readmissions, or $40,000 for each readmission above the US average rate.[37]
Indeed, the Democrats' commitment to government-run health care is all the more menacing to our seniors and our economy when paired with some Democrats' absolute commitment to end enforcement of our immigration laws by abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement. That means millions more would cross our borders illegally and take advantage of health care paid for by American taxpayers.
Because of how Part D works, you could pay as much as 72% of the cost of some of your prescription drugs if you need enough medication to push you into the notorious doughnut hole: when Part D's full prescription-drug coverage runs out after you've spent $2,850, until your medication costs exceed $4,550 per year. In 2015, coverage will end at $2,960 and begin again at $4,700. During the coverage gap, you'll be responsible for 47.5% of covered, brand-named prescription drugs. In 2015, that will change to 45%.
For institutional care, such as hospital and nursing home care, Medicare uses prospective payment systems. In a prospective payment system, the health care institution receives a set amount of money for each episode of care provided to a patient, regardless of the actual amount of care. The actual allotment of funds is based on a list of diagnosis-related groups (DRG). The actual amount depends on the primary diagnosis that is actually made at the hospital. There are some issues surrounding Medicare's use of DRGs because if the patient uses less care, the hospital gets to keep the remainder. This, in theory, should balance the costs for the hospital. However, if the patient uses more care, then the hospital has to cover its own losses. This results in the issue of "upcoding," when a physician makes a more severe diagnosis to hedge against accidental costs.[52]

If you enroll within 30 days following your 65th birthday, or if you have 6 months of continuous prior coverage, the 6-month waiting period for pre-existing conditions will be waived. Pre-existing conditions are conditions for which medical advice was given, or treatment was recommended by or received from a physician within six months before the effective date of coverage. If you wait until after the deadline to enroll, you may have a waiting period for pre-existing conditions and may have to complete a medical questionnaire.


Sicker people and people with higher medical expenditures are more likely to switch from Medicare Advantage plans to Original Medicare. This statistic is primarily driven by people on Medicaid in custodial care at nursing home; such people no longer have need of any Medicare supplement, either a public Part C plan or a private Medigap or group retirement plan.[15] The Part C risk adjusted payments to Medicare Advantage plans are designed to limit this churn between types of Medicare (managed vs. FFS), but it is unclear how effective that policy is.[16]
Medicare co-pays in Minnesota refer to how much a beneficiary has to pay for certain services. The co-pay is always a set price, no matter how much the service actually cost. Each Medicare plan will have different co-pays, both in terms of payment as well as what Medicare covered services actually requires as a co-pay. A deductible is how much a beneficiary has to pay before their Medicare coverage kicks in. With Medicare Part A and B coverage in MN, the deductible is around $160.
For each person who chooses to enroll in a Part C Medicare Advantage or other Part C plan, Medicare pays the health plan a set amount every month ("capitation"). The capitated fee associated with a Medicare Advantage plan is specific to each county in the United States and is primarily driven by a government-administered benchmark/bidding process that uses that county's average per-beneficiary FFS costs from a previous year as a starting point to determine the benchmark.
Tufts Health Plan Senior Care Options is available to individuals who are at least 65 years old and have Medicare and MassHealth Standard (Medicaid) or just MassHealth Standard (Medicaid). This plan provides members who qualify with medical and prescription benefits along with a Primary Care Team, whose key goal is to improve the coordination of care you receive. 
The other group of who is eligible for Medicare consists of applicants collecting disability. Any applicant who has been collecting disability for at least two years will be eligible for Medicare coverage in Minnesota. Some applicants might even have this requirement waived depending on their condition. For example, applicants with ALS will be able to collect Medicare coverage the moment they begin to get their disability benefits. Applicants who get Medicare from their disability do not have to meet any specific age requirements.
It’s up to you to determine which type of coverage is the right option. It’s important to read all of the details of each Medicare Advantage plan, including the fine print, and compare the different benefits, costs, and restrictions of each plan option available in your area. If you have a specific doctor or hospital that you want to use, be sure to check that they’re included in the network of the Medicare Advantage plan that you’re interested in.

In 2003 Congress passed the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act, which President George W. Bush signed into law on December 8, 2003. Part of this legislation included filling gaps in prescription-drug coverage left by the Medicare Secondary Payer Act that was enacted in 1980. The 2003 bill strengthened the Workers' Compensation Medicare Set-Aside Program (WCMSA) that is monitored and administered by CMS.
Now that you have an idea of the type of Medicare plan options for Minnesotans, would you like some assistance looking for a plan that fits? I’d be happy to help, and you can click on the “View profile” link below to view my profile if you’d like. How about setting up a phone call with me, or having me send you some information by email? You can click on the links below to do that. Some folks prefer to research plans on their own; you can do that easily by clicking on the Compare Plans option on the right.
When first looking at Minnesota Medicare costs, you must first have Medicare premiums explained. Medicare plans have multiple payment types, premiums, co-pay and deductibles. MN Medicare premiums are usually referred to the most when paying for Medicare, but this is just because they are typically the first payment listed on a plan. A premium is simply how much a beneficiary has to pay every single month to get Minnesota Medicare insurance coverage. The premium has to be paid whether or not the beneficiary used any Medicare services. For Medicare Part A and B, the premium is usually around $100 to $150. Medicare Parts C and D come from private insurance companies, so the prices are based entirely on what they set.
Upon receiving beneficiary eligibility information from DPSS, Health Care Options mails each recipient an enrollment packet. The packet contains enrollment materials as well as explains that the beneficiary must choose a health plan, what health plans are available, and that if the enrollment form is not completed and received at Health Care Options in 30 days a health plan will be chosen for them. When Health Care Options chooses a health plan for the beneficiary, it is called default or "automatic assignment." 

A 2001 study by the Government Accountability Office evaluated the quality of responses given by Medicare contractor customer service representatives to provider (physician) questions. The evaluators assembled a list of questions, which they asked during a random sampling of calls to Medicare contractors. The rate of complete, accurate information provided by Medicare customer service representatives was 15%.[99] Since then, steps have been taken to improve the quality of customer service given by Medicare contractors, specifically the 1-800-MEDICARE contractor. As a result, 1-800-MEDICARE customer service representatives (CSR) have seen an increase in training, quality assurance monitoring has significantly increased, and a customer satisfaction survey is offered to random callers.

Medicare Advantage plans, also referred to as Part C plans, are part of the Medicare program for senior citizens and disabled adults who qualify. Private companies provide Medicare Advantage plans instead of the federal government, and these plans typically include the same Part A hospital, Part B medical coverage and Part D drug coverage that Medicare does, with the exception of hospice care. As of 2017, about one third of the 57 million Medicare participants were enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan.
In general, all persons 65 years of age or older who have been legal residents of the United States for at least five years are eligible for Medicare. People with disabilities under 65 may also be eligible if they receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. Specific medical conditions may also help people become eligible to enroll in Medicare.
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