If you live in Mississippi and you are approaching the age of 65, there’s good news: you will soon be eligible to enroll in Traditional Medicare (Medicare Parts A and B). In order to enroll, you must be 65 or older. Once you are enrolled, you will have access to health care benefits from the federal government. These benefits will cover you should you require a hospital stay, outpatient rehab, or even just a primary care doctor visit. The chart below clarifies which parts of Medicare cover what treatments and procedures.

Medicare Plans in Mississippi

For many US citizens, Part A is free of charge of your work history is at least 10 years long (or 40 quarters) in total. If you have worked less than that in your lifetime, there are certain fees and premiums you will have to pay before you will have access to Part A benefits. Part B has its own fees and premiums, but they are adjusted according to income, and designed to be as affordable as possible for seniors.

As a resident of Mississippi, you have access to a range of Medicare coverage options. If you enroll in basic Medicare, you’ll be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A coverage. This is basic hospital care, inpatient services and some home health care. If you enroll in Part B coverage, for an added cost, you’ll enjoy access to more outpatient care, home health services and better medical equipment and preventable services.

There are coverage options beyond Parts A and B available to patients in Mississippi though. Medicare Plan C, also known as Medicare Advantage is a private insurance coverage option that you can obtain if you have Parts A and B and you want additional services such as prescription coverage, dental and vision. Medicare Part D is another supplemental policy that can be added on after you have Medicare A and Medicare B. Part D prescription drug coverage will help cover the cost of any medications that you need. There are many different Medicare coverage plans and it’s important to understand them before you sign up for a specific policy.

Medicare Part A (Hospital Coverage)

  • Inpatient care in hospitals
  • Skilled nursing facility care
  • Hospice care
  • Home health care
Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance)

  • Services from doctors and health providers
  • Outpatient care
  • Home health care
  • Durable medical equipment
  • Some preventive services
Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage)

  • Includes all benefits and services covered under Part A and Part B
  • Usually includes Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D) as part of the plan
  • Offered by Medicare-approved private insurance companies
  • May include extra benefits and services for an extra cost
Medicare Part D (Drug Coverage)

  • Helps cover the cost of prescription drugs
  • Run by Medicare-approved private insurance companies
  • May help lower your prescription drug costs and help protect against higher costs in the future

What are the Most Popular Medicare Plans in Mississippi?

Mississippi has a fairly significant population of Medicare beneficiaries within the state – 516,809 to be precise. Of those, a modest 13% (or 67,185 people) prefer to get their benefits and coverage through a Medicare Advantage policy. A slightly larger faction, which makes up almost 24% of beneficiaries (or 122,608 recipients) prefer to supplement their government Medicare benefits with a Medigap policy. We will discuss both Medigap and Medicare Advantage later in this article. The remaining 325,589 Mississippi seniors are either leaving themselves vulnerable to the coverage gaps which plague Traditional Medicare, or they have another form of supplement coverage through an employer.

Why Should Seniors Think About Supplementing their Medicare Coverage?

The short answer to that question is: to protect themselves from disastrous, unexpected medical expenses later on in life. As much as the Federal Medicare Program is designed to provide hard-working seniors with comprehensive medical care, there are certain “gaps” in coverage which, at the end of the day, you may be responsible paying for if you don’t have additional coverage. Some of those expenses include:

Medicare Part A Costs in 2022 Medicare Part B Costs in 2022
  • Part A is premium-free for most
  • Part A deductible is $1,556 per benefit period
  • Inpatient hospital stay days 61-90 is $389
  • The standard Part B premium is $170.10
  • The annual deductible for Part B is $233
  • Medicare pays 80%, you pay 20% out-of-pocket

For a minimal additional expense each month, supplemental coverage (either in the form of a Medigap or a Medicare Advantage policy) can protect you from thousands and thousands in unanticipated medical bills. Many seniors believe that it is a small price to pay for that peace of mind and financial security.

Medical costs are increasing every single year in Mississippi, making it difficult for patients to get the high-quality care that they need. As the cost of quality health care increases, more and more residents have to search out different coverage options to help them deal with those costs.

That’s why patients are investing in supplemental health insurance. These special policies are designed to offer additional coverage beyond what you get from basic Medicare. If Medicare Parts A and B aren’t giving you all the coverage you need to get good medical care, a supplement plan could be just what you need to make your expenses a bit more bearable.

The right supplemental insurance policy helps with filling your Medicare coverage gaps. You’ll get help paying co-payments, and the portion of your medical costs that just isn’t covered by your basic Medicare policy. Of course, you will have to pay for this additional coverage, but for many patients in Mississippi the supplemental insurance premiums are lower than the amount of coverage that they provide.

If you decide you need extra coverage, there are two different options available to you worth considering. Medicare Advantage and a Medicare Supplement insurance, also known as Medigap. An Advantage plan is a bit more comprehensive and complicated. Medigap is simple, affordable and fills in the gaps of your standard Medicare coverage. Both options are worth considering, but the one that’s right for you depends on your specific medical situation, which is why it’s so important to understand the differences between the two policies well.

Medicare Supplement Plans in Mississippi

Medicare supplement insurance, also sometimes referred to as a “Medigap” policy, helps you cover the gaps in Traditional Medicare coverage without forcing you to give up any of your current benefits or making you switch networks. The available plans are labeled alphabetically A-N (with the exception of plans E, H, I, and J, which were discontinued as of 2010). The private insurance companies who sell Medigap policies work together with the federal government to make sure that each plan is as comprehensive as possible, while still offering it to seniors like you at an affordable rate. By law, Plan D in Mississippi offers the same benefits as Plan D in Texas or New York. Therefore, you only have to worry about price and provider when you shop around for a supplement.

Below is a Medigap policy comparison chart showing what each plan covers:

Medicare Advantage Plans in Mississippi

Another way you can cover the gaps in Original Medicare is to replace your government-sponsored benefits with a Medicare Advantage policy. These are special health insurance policies which are, by law, required to give you the same or more benefits than those available in Medicare Parts A and B. Once you purchase an Advantage policy, the federal government will no longer be responsible for managing your coverage or paying out claims – that responsibility will fall to whichever private company you choose. Some providers even try to offer additional coverage options, like dental, and a small additional price in order to bring in customers.

There is something to be said for having all of your Medicare benefits and additional coverages under a single, simple policy. And, in some markets, Medicare Advantage policies are priced very competitively. But this is mostly due to their restrictive networks. By limiting the number of doctors and hospitals you can go to, the insurance company saves money and (in theory) passes the savings along to their customers. For many seniors, however, taking on an insurance policy with a restrictive network will force them to switch doctors. And that is not a process most people feel comfortable with.

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by Lindsay Malzone, Lindsay Malzone is the Medicare expert for Medigap.com. She's been contributing to many well-known publications as an industry expert since 2017. Her passion is educating Medicare beneficiaries on all their supplemental Medicare options so they can make an informed decision on their healthcare coverage.