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%.

If you enroll in one right out of the gate at age 65, you need to be sure you want this coverage long-term. Your open enrollment window to get a Medigap plan with no health questions ends at 6 months past your Part B effective date. You might not be able to get a Medigap plan later if you have health conditions because applying for Medigap later will require you answer medical questions. You can be turned down for Medigap at that point if you are not healthy enough to qualify.


The name "Medicare" was originally given to a program providing medical care for families of individuals serving in the military as part of the Dependents' Medical Care Act, which was passed in 1956.[4] President Dwight D. Eisenhower held the first White House Conference on Aging in January 1961, in which creating a health care program for social security beneficiaries was proposed.[5][6] In July 1965,[7] under the leadership of President Lyndon Johnson, Congress enacted Medicare under Title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide health insurance to people age 65 and older, regardless of income or medical history.[8][9] Johnson signed the bill into law on July 30, 1965 at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Missouri. Former President Harry S. Truman and his wife, former First Lady Bess Truman became the first recipients of the program.[10] Before Medicare was created, approximately 60% of people over the age of 65 had health insurance, with coverage often unavailable or unaffordable to many others, as older adults paid more than three times as much for health insurance as younger people. Many of this latter group (about 20% of the total in 2015) became "dual eligible" for both Medicare and Medicaid with passing the law. In 1966, Medicare spurred the racial integration of thousands of waiting rooms, hospital floors, and physician practices by making payments to health care providers conditional on desegregation.[11]
There are other proposals for savings on prescription drugs that do not require such fundamental changes to Medicare Part D's payment and coverage policies. Manufacturers who supply drugs to Medicaid are required to offer a 15 percent rebate on the average manufacturer's price. Low-income elderly individuals who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid receive drug coverage through Medicare Part D, and no reimbursement is paid for the drugs the government purchases for them. Reinstating that rebate would yield savings of $112 billion, according to a recent CBO estimate.[138]
Medicare has been operated for a half century and, during that time, has undergone several changes. Since 1965, the program's provisions have expanded to include benefits for speech, physical, and chiropractic therapy in 1972.[12] Medicare added the option of payments to health maintenance organizations (HMO)[12] in the 1980s. As the years progressed, Congress expanded Medicare eligibility to younger people with permanent disabilities and receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments and to those with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). The association with HMOs begun in the 1980s was formalized under President Bill Clinton in 1997 as Medicare Part C (although not all Part C health plans sponsors have to be HMOs, about 75% are). In 2003, under President George W. Bush, a Medicare program for covering almost all self administered prescription drugs was passed (and went into effect in 2006) as Medicare Part D (previously and still, professionally administered drugs such as chemotherapy but even the annual flu shot are covered under Part B).
The Democrats' plan means that after a life of hard work and sacrifice, seniors would no longer be able to depend on the benefits they were promised. By eliminating Medicare as a program for seniors, and outlawing the ability of Americans to enroll in private and employer-based plans, the Democratic plan would inevitably lead to the massive rationing of health care. Doctors and hospitals would be put out of business. Seniors would lose access to their favorite doctors. There would be long wait lines for appointments and procedures. Previously covered care would effectively be denied.
In 1977, the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) was established as a federal agency responsible for the administration of Medicare and Medicaid. This would be renamed to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in 2001. By 1983, the diagnosis-related group (DRG) replaced pay for service reimbursements to hospitals for Medicare patients.
If you decide to leave a Medicare Advantage plan and return back to Original Medicare, you must notify your Medicare Advantage plan carrier. Otherwise Medicare will continue to show that you are enrolled in the Advantage plan instead of Medicare. This is a common billing nightmare that we see among people who enrolled on their own without the help of an agent.
The Silver&Fit program is provided by American Specialty Health Fitness, Inc., a subsidiary of American Specialty Health Incorporated (ASH). Silver&Fit, the Silver&Fit logo and Something For Everyone are trademarks of ASH and used with permission herein. ASH is an independent company that is solely responsible for fitness services it is providing. American Specialty Health does not offer Blue Cross or Blue Shield products or services.
If you live in the designated service area of the specific plan, and already have Part A and Part B, you may join a Medicare Advantage plan (note that there are some rural areas of the country where no Medicare Advantage plans are available). If you have union or employer-sponsored insurance, you may be able to add an Advantage plan, but be forewarned that in some cases you may lose your employer or union coverage when you enroll in an Advantage plan.
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.

If you’re ready to start browsing plan options, eHealth’s Medicare plan comparison tool may be useful. You can find Medicare plan options based on location, insurance company, premium cost, and more. Our plan finder tool is a convenient way for you to compare plan details side-by-side to ensure that the most important aspects of your health-care needs are covered.
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.
The maximum length of stay that Medicare Part A covers in a hospital inpatient stay or series of stays is typically 90 days. The first 60 days would be paid by Medicare in full, except one copay (also and more commonly referred to as a "deductible") at the beginning of the 60 days of $1340 as of 2018. Days 61–90 require a co-payment of $335 per day as of 2018. The beneficiary is also allocated "lifetime reserve days" that can be used after 90 days. These lifetime reserve days require a copayment of $670 per day as of 2018, and the beneficiary can only use a total of 60 of these days throughout their lifetime.[24] A new pool of 90 hospital days, with new copays of $1340 in 2018 and $335 per day for days 61–90, starts only after the beneficiary has 60 days continuously with no payment from Medicare for hospital or Skilled Nursing Facility confinement.[25]
If you’ve been in in the Medicare Advantage plan for less than a year, you’re still in your trial period and you do have the option to enroll in a guaranteed issue Medigap plan when you switch back to Original Medicare; if you enrolled in Medicare Advantage when you were first eligible and are switching back to Original Medicare within a year, you can enroll in any Medigap plan sold in your state.  If you dropped your Medigap plan to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan and you switch back within a year, you can enroll in the Medigap plan you had before, or if it’s no longer available, you can enroll in any plan A, B, C, F, K, or L sold in your state.
Exact parity would require major changes to Medicare law (so-called "premium support" proposals, for example), but as of the March 2016 MedPAC report, in 2016 Medicare was expected to spend just 2 percent more on "like" Medicare Advantage beneficiaries per person than for a "like set of beneficiaries" under Original Medicare Parts A and B, theoretically adding an additional 0.5% ($3 billion) to the cost of the overall Medicare program vs. what would have been spent absent Part C. As in 2009, the major plans within Medicare Advantage causing the lack of parity were Employer Group plans (6 percent more) and the few grandfathered PFFS beneficiaries left (10 percent more). Vanilla HMO and PPO plans—as well as SNPs—cost only 1% more per person in comparing "like set of beneficiaries". Overall, only a few recent studies provide a limited picture of beneficiary experiences since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed in 2010.
If you meet the requirements for both Medicare and Medicaid (aka, dual eligible or Medi-Medi) in Minnesota, you will automatically receive a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, as well as Extra Help from Social Security. If you qualify for Extra Help, the program will cover most of the costs of your prescriptions. Even if you qualify, the dual eligible option may not suit your needs. In this case, enroll in the prescription drug plan of your choice. If you receive Medicaid now, call your local Medicaid office for assistance with your dual eligible benefits.

It is extremely important to evaluate all options when making a decision about Medigap plans in Minnesota. In Minnesota, Medicare Supplement Insurance plans are available throughout the state as either a Medigap Basic plan or Medigap Extended Basic plan. However, the costs may be different based on which insurance carrier offers the plans. Those who wish to enroll in a Minnesota Medicare Supplement Insurance plan should thoroughly evaluate all available plans and make a determination based on personal health needs and budget.


People often ask us our opinion on which plan is the best Medicare Advantage plan. This varies based on a number of personal factors. What’s right for your friend or neighbor may not be right for you. Don’t risk making a mistake on something as critical as your health insurance. Get help from an experienced agent who can explain your options in detail.

The MedicareWire.com website is available for educational purposes. Our goal is to present information about Medicare Prescription Plans accurately and without bias, based on our interpretation of factual information. However, this site is not intended as a substitute for legal, health, or financial advice from a licensed professional. On this page we help consumers:

Applicants who are about to sign up for Medicare in MN first need to be aware of the different enrollment periods. The first is the initial enrollment period for Medicare. Applicants who want to fill out this Minnesota Medicare enrollment application can actually do so before they turn 65. Initial enrollment officially begins three months before the applicant has turned 65. Those who are eligible for Medicare will receive a notification in the mail shortly before the initial enrollment period begins. This letter will state if they are eligible for automatic enrollment, or if they have to manually fill out a Medicare application in MN. The initial enrollment continues for a period of four months after an applicant turns 65. The month of their birthday is counted as the fourth month, effectively giving applicants a period of seven months to apply for Medicare in the initial enrollment period.

Two distinct premium support systems have recently been proposed in Congress to control the cost of Medicare. The House Republicans' 2012 budget would have abolished traditional Medicare and required the eligible population to purchase private insurance with a newly created premium support program. This plan would have cut the cost of Medicare by capping the value of the voucher and tying its growth to inflation, which is expected to be lower than rising health costs, saving roughly $155 billion over 10 years.[125] Paul Ryan, the plan's author, claimed that competition would drive down costs,[126] but the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that the plan would dramatically raise the cost of health care, with all of the additional costs falling on enrollees. The CBO found that under the plan, typical 65-year-olds would go from paying 35 percent of their health care costs to paying 68 percent by 2030.[127]

Plans are required to limit out-of-pocket (OOP) spending by a beneficiary for Parts A and B to no more than $6,700 (as of 2016) per year for in-network providers. The OOP limit may be higher for out of network providers in a PPO; out of network providers are typically not permitted in an HMO. The average OOP limit in 2016 was around $5000. Note that an OOP limit is not a deductible as is often reported; it is instead a financial-protection benefit. It is rare for a Medicare Advantage beneficiary to reach the annual OOP limit.
In 1998, Congress replaced the VPS with the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR). This was done because of highly variable payment rates under the MVPS. The SGR attempts to control spending by setting yearly and cumulative spending targets. If actual spending for a given year exceeds the spending target for that year, reimbursement rates are adjusted downward by decreasing the Conversion Factor (CF) for RBRVS RVUs.
This high-deductible plan pays the same benefits as Plan F after one has paid a calendar year $2240 deductible. Benefits from the high deductible Plan F will not begin until out-of-pocket expenses are $2240. Out-of-pocket expenses for this deductible are expenses that would ordinarily be paid by the policy. This includes the Medicare deductibles for Part A and Part B, but does not include the plan’s separate foreign travel emergency deductible.
When you enroll in an attained-age plan, your rates will increase as you age. Our rates will only increase due to age when you move from one age band to the next. In addition, rate adjustments will also be due to medical inflation or overall claims experience. Rates are subject to change June 1 of each year and are guaranteed for 12 months. Any change in rate will be preceded by a 30-day notice. Members will not be singled out for premium increases based on their individual health. Medicare policies that are attained-age should be compared to issue-age rated policies. Premiums for issue-age policies do not increase due to age as the insured ages.
We provide our Q1Medicare.com site for educational purposes and strive to present unbiased and accurate information. However, Q1Medicare is not intended as a substitute for your lawyer, doctor, healthcare provider, financial advisor, or pharmacist. For more information on your Medicare coverage, please be sure to seek legal, medical, pharmaceutical, or financial advice from a licensed professional or telephone Medicare at 1-800-633-4227.
Of the more than 300,000 people losing their Cost plans in Minnesota, it’s likely that roughly 100,000 people will be automatically enrolled into a comparable plan with their current insurer, Corson said, unless they make another selection. Details haven’t been finalized, he said. That likely will leave another 200,000 people, he said, who will need to be proactive to obtain new replacement Medicare coverage.
Public Part C Medicare Advantage and other Part C health plans are required to offer coverage that meets or exceeds the standards set by Original Medicare but they do not have to cover every benefit in the same way. After approval by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, if a Part C plan chooses to pay less than Original Medicare for some benefits, such as Skilled Nursing Facility care, the savings may be passed along to consumers by offering even lower co-payments for doctor visits.
The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1989 made several changes to physician payments under Medicare. Firstly, it introduced the Medicare Fee Schedule, which took effect in 1992. Secondly, it limited the amount Medicare non-providers could balance bill Medicare beneficiaries. Thirdly, it introduced the Medicare Volume Performance Standards (MVPS) as a way to control costs.[53]
Among those the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will now allow, if they’re deemed health-related: Adult day care programs. Home aides to help with activities of daily living, like bathing and dressing. Palliative care at home for some patients. Home safety devices and modifications like grab bars and wheelchair ramps. Transportation to medical appointments.
Since 1997, Medicare enrollees have had the option of going beyond their Original Medicare coverage by enrolling in Medicare Advantage. As of 2017, there were a record 19 million people enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans, accounting for about 33 percent of all Medicare beneficiaries. Enrollment in Medicare Advantage has been steadily growing since 2004. Managed care programs administered by private health insurers have been available to Medicare beneficiaries since the 1970s, but these programs have grown significantly since the Balanced Budget Act – signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1997 – created the Medicare+Choice program.The Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 changed the name to Medicare Advantage, but the concept is still the same: beneficiaries receive their Medicare benefits through a private health insurance plan, and the health insurance carrier receives payments from the Medicare program to cover beneficiaries’ medical costs.
Since 1997, Medicare enrollees have had the option of going beyond their Original Medicare coverage by enrolling in Medicare Advantage. As of 2017, there were a record 19 million people enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans, accounting for about 33 percent of all Medicare beneficiaries. Enrollment in Medicare Advantage has been steadily growing since 2004. Managed care programs administered by private health insurers have been available to Medicare beneficiaries since the 1970s, but these programs have grown significantly since the Balanced Budget Act – signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1997 – created the Medicare+Choice program.The Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 changed the name to Medicare Advantage, but the concept is still the same: beneficiaries receive their Medicare benefits through a private health insurance plan, and the health insurance carrier receives payments from the Medicare program to cover beneficiaries’ medical costs.
Some people don’t realize this and join Medicare Advantage plans without the help of an agent. Therefore they  don’t know about all of these rules. Sometimes they find themselves enrolled into a plan that their doctor doesn’t accept or that doesn’t include one of their medications. This happens most often in January after a person has used the Annual Election Period to join a Medicare Advantage plan.
Individuals seeking to enroll in the Medi-Cal program must first visit the nearest Department of Social Services (DPSS) / County Welfare Department and apply for benefits. If eligibility is established, the beneficiary is advised to attend an on-site information session administered by Health Care Options - a California Department of Health Services private contractor - to learn about available health care choices.
As of 2014, Medicare paid about $7,721 annually per enrollee in Minnesota. That’s according to a standardized spending report from CMS, which eliminates spending differences that stem from strictly geographic differences in costs (eg, higher labor costs or overhead expenses in higher cost-of-living areas). The report only considers spending in Original Medicare, as opposed to Medicare Advantage.

As of 2014, Medicare paid about $7,721 annually per enrollee in Minnesota. That’s according to a standardized spending report from CMS, which eliminates spending differences that stem from strictly geographic differences in costs (eg, higher labor costs or overhead expenses in higher cost-of-living areas). The report only considers spending in Original Medicare, as opposed to Medicare Advantage.

The Minnesota Department of Health offers information about Medicare plans in Minnesota. The agency serves as a resource for those who need help paying their Medicare premiums and those interested in obtaining prescription drug coverage. The office also offers guidelines for handling complaints about health-care coverage and providers. Information on other types of health-care coverage are also covered by this website, including long-term care insurance. Downloads of publications on specific topics are also available, as well as links to additional resources available through state and federal offices.
Retirement of the Baby Boom generation — which by 2030 is projected to increase enrollment to more than 80 million as the number of workers per enrollee declines from 3.7 to 2.4 — and rising overall health care costs in the nation pose substantial financial challenges to the program. Medicare spending is projected to increase from $523 billion in 2010 to just over $1 trillion by 2022.[20] Baby-boomers' health is also an important factor: 20% have five or more chronic conditions, which will add to the future cost of health care. In response to these financial challenges, Congress made substantial cuts to future payouts to providers as part of PPACA in 2010 and the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) and policymakers have offered many additional competing proposals to reduce Medicare costs further.
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