More Medicare beneficiaries than ever are signing up for a top Medicare Advantage plan in Minnesota. Also known as Medicare Part C, Medicare Advantage plans are administered by private health insurance companies. They offer all the benefits of Original Medicare plus high-value additional coverage contained in one plan for simplicity and convenience. A Medicare Advantage plan in Minnesota for 2022 can provide peace of mind for many beneficiaries.
Minnesota residents eligible for Medicare coverage will first enroll in Original Medicare, which consist of Medicare Part A and Part B. That program is administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and provides a red, white, and blue card that is presented to healthcare providers for basic inpatient and outpatient services.
Medicare Advantage Plans in Minnesota Overview
Beneficiaries then have the option of selecting a Minnesota Medicare Advantage plan for 2022 to extend their Medicare coverage. These plans are administered by private insurance companies and may include coverage not offered by Medicare Supplement plans or Original Medicare, including:
- Medicare Advantage prescription drug plans, also known as MAPD, allow beneficiaries to pay one monthly premium for prescription drug coverage and basic healthcare.
- Many Advantage plans include additional wellness benefits like coverage for dental, vision, and hearing services.
- Premiums are often lower for Medicare Part C than Medigap, but there are more out of pocket expenses like the Part B premium.
An insurance agent can help beneficiaries select the right Advantage plan while assisting with the enrollment process.
What is the Best Medicare Advantage plan in Minnesota in 2022?
Best for network freedom: Medicare Advantage PPO
- PPO health plans offer larger networks than most HMOs.
- Many plans allow out-of-network service providers with higher out of pocket costs.
- In most cases, referrals are not required to see specialists.
- PPO premiums can go up to $100 per month, but there are $0 premium plans in many service areas.
Best for lowest out-of-pocket: Medicare Advantage HMO Plan
- HMO plans reduce costs by limiting beneficiaries to service providers willing to accept payment terms arranged by the plan. There are fewer out of pocket costs, but out-of-network providers are generally not covered, excepts in emergencies.
- Many plans have no monthly premium.
Best for low income or health conditions: Medicare Advantage D-SNIP
- Enrollment is limited to those with select chronic health conditions or limited income.
- Many Minnesota beneficiaries combine Medicare and Medicaid to ensure coverage for copayments, coinsurance, deductibles, and other expenses not covered by SNP insurance plans.
When can I enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan in Minnesota ?
Initial Enrollment Period
Your first opportunity to enroll in a Minnesota Advantage plan is your seven-month initial enrollment period. It starts three months prior to your 65th birthday month and ends three months after.
If your application is approved prior to the first day of the month you turn 65, your coverage will take effect the first day of your birthday month. If your application is approved during or after your birthday month, it will take effect the first day of the following month.
Open Enrollment Period – AKA Annual Election Period
The Medicare Open Enrollment Period takes place from October 15 to December 7 every year. It gives beneficiaries a chance to make the following changes:
- Join a Minnesota Advantage plan
- Switch Medicare Advantage plans
- Switch from an Advantage plan to Original Medicare
Plan changes take effect on January 1 the following year.
Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period
This open enrollment period is reserved for beneficiaries already enrolled in an Advantage plan. The following change options are permitted from January 1 to March 31 each year:
- Switch to a different Advantage plan
- Move back to Original Medicare with or without a Part D plan
Special Enrollment Periods – Special Circumstances
Some Minnesota beneficiaries will have the opportunity to enroll in an advantage plan outside of the official enrollment periods. Some of the most common qualifications for special enrollment include:
- Moving to a new service area
- Losing insurance coverage from an employer or other source
5-star Special Enrollment Period
From December 8 to November 30, Medicare beneficiaries have the option of moving to an Advantage plan that has a 5-star rating. This is a one-time change open only to beneficiaries already enrolled in an Advantage plan. Star ratings are assigned by the federal Medicare program and can change over time.
Special Enrollment Periods if you get “Extra Help”
Minnesota beneficiaries eligible for Medicare and Medicaid can join an Advantage plan or switch to a new plan one time during each of the following periods:
- January – March
- April – June
- July – September
Beneficiaries who have a standalone Part D prescription drug plan and qualify for Extra Help can make changes to their drug coverage one time during each of those periods.
How much does Medicare Advantage cost in 2022?
In 2020, the average cost of a Minnesota Medicare Advantage plan was $64.66. As of 2022, all beneficiaries in the state have access to $0 premium plans. Those plans are mostly HMOs, but there are some no-premium PPOs in select areas. Rates vary by insurance company and county.
When can I make changes to my Medicare Advantage plan?
There are two opportunities to change your Medicare Advantage plan in Minnesota if you don’t qualify for a special enrollment period:
1. Annual Election Period – October 15 – December 7
Also known as the Medicare General Election Period, this is the best time to switch to a new Minnesota Medicare Advantage plan or go back to Original Medicare. The changes you make will take effect January 1.
2. Advantage Open Enrollment Period – January 1 – March 31
You can make a one-time plan change during this period. Your options are to move to a different Advantage plan or go back to Original Medicare. You will also have eligibility for a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan if you switch back to Original Medicare.
Minnesota Medicare Resources
Minnesota State Links
Minnesota Medicare Plan Statistics
Minnesota’s nearly 5.5 million residents live in 87 counties. The five largest are:
- Over 905,779 residents were eligible for Medicare Part A and Part B.
- Among Minnesota Medicare beneficiaries, 53 percent had Medicare Advantage plans.
- Medicare Advantage enrollment grew by 6 percent between 2015 and 2016.
- More than 23 percent were in an HMO.
Ready to Learn More?
Medicare can be very confusing, if you need help on plan selection or getting more detailed information, please reach out to us for additional help, we are here to guide you!