Minnesota residents, like citizens of all other 49 states, can enroll in the government’s Medicare program during the year in which they reach 65 years of age. The base plan, which is sometimes known as “Original” or “Traditional” Medicare, is actually separated into two parts: Part A, which covers hospital care, and Part B, which takes care of non-hospital treatment (such as primary doctor visits and outpatient treatment). Despite the fact that Traditional Medicare aims to be comprehensive, there are “gaps” in coverage which, if you aren’t careful, could leave you with some fairly serious medical bills.

Medicare Plans in Minnesota

There are some basic expenses associated with Traditional Medicare. Part B automatically comes with a monthly premium, and you can find out exactly how much it will cost you by clicking here. If you are fortunate enough to have a lengthy employment history (ten years/40 quarters or more), then you will be given access to Part A benefits for free. Otherwise, there are additional premiums.

Minnesota senior citizens that decide to opt for Medicare coverage have a few different options to work with. The moment they enroll into standard Medicare they’ll receive Medicare Part A coverage which covers things like hospital visits, hospital stays and some outpatient care. Patients can opt for Medicare Part B as well, which is additional optional coverage for more outpatient services and enhanced medical equipment at a higher cost.

Minnesota patients looking for even more coverage options can also add Medicare Part C as long as they already have Medicare Parts A and B. Part C is known as Medicare Advantage and is coverage through a private insurance company for additional benefits and services. Medicare Part D is the final coverage option available to residents and it’s the drug coverage policy.

For more info on Original Medicare and more, take a look at the table below.

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

The Breakdown: Medigap, Medicare Advantage, and other Medicare Plans in Minnesota

Minnesota has a sizeable population of seniors enrolled in Medicare: 819,803 to be exact. Of those, more than half (51%) chose a Medicare Advantage policy instead of accepting their Original Medicare benefits from the government. Another 20% of Medicare beneficiaries prefer to protect their savings with a Medigap supplement insurance policy. And the remaining 29% are either relying on employer-bestowed supplemental coverage, or they are taking their chances with Traditional Medicare all by itself.

Should Everyone Purchase Supplemental Medicare Coverage?

Purchasing supplemental Medicare coverage is an affordable way to protect yourself from the gaps in Traditional Medicare coverage, but it is not required by any state or federal law. Neither is it a prerequisite for receiving Original Medicare benefits. Without it, however, you might be susceptible to the following costs:

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

Every year the cost of quality health care continues to rise, making it more and more difficult for Minnesota residents to get good care. That’s why it’s so important for residents to look into additional coverage options. With larger deductibles and higher costs overall, more patients are being stuck with expensive bills after being treated for medical issues.

Supplemental health insurance, such as Medigap or Medicare Advantage can help cover the costs that traditional Medicare just won’t cover. These plans cost a bit more up front, but they are an investment into not getting stuck with large bills.

By investing in a quality supplemental insurance policy, you can avoid getting stuck with Medicare coverage gaps. The Part A deductible alone is over $1,100 per year for residents of Minnesota, and that doesn’t even take into account the cost of uncovered prescription plans or long-term hospital stays. Long-term hospital stays past the first 60 days will cost patients $296 per day on average, and those are costs that a supplemental plan could help cover.

If you’re considering obtaining a supplemental Medicare insurance plan, there are two different options available to you, Medigap (Medicare Supplement) or Medicare Advantage. Both plans offer benefits but they are very different from one another. While Medigap just helps to cover things like deductibles and the percentage of coverage Medicare doesn’t offer on a particular service, Medicare Advantage puts health insurance completely into the hands of a private company. Both options give you more coverage than Medicare, but it’s important to understand the differences to understand what you are getting.

Medicare Supplement Insurance in Minnesota

If you have Medicare, but don’t use your benefits all that often, you might think that supplemental coverage is a needless expense right now. But even the healthiest individual could come down with a serious health emergency at any time. Without a proper supplement, you could have to pay thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses that your budget isn’t prepared to handle.

Medicare Supplement Insurance, more commonly known as a Medigap policy, is a great way to cover the “gaps” in your Traditional Medicare coverage. Medigap policies are small, affordable health insurance supplements which provide you with coverage and benefits where Traditional Medicare falls short. Additionally, private insurance companies work together with the federal government in order to more efficiently cover Medicare’s benefit gaps. Plans A-D, F, G, and K-N are available for purchase. Each plan offers identical coverage across all 50 states, so if you live in Minnesota and want to supplement your Traditional Medicare with Supplement Plan K, all you have to worry about is choosing an affordable policy from a reputable insurance agency.

This useful chart explains what each Medigap policy can offer you:

Medicare Advantage Plans in Minnesota

Medicare Advantage, while it is often sold as a form of supplemental coverage, acts more like a replacement of Traditional Medicare in practice. For many seniors, it is an easy way to coalesce all of their Medicare benefits under one single insurance policy at a relatively affordable cost. Many even have the opportunity to add additional benefits and coverage, such as prescription drugs, for a modest additional expense each month.

However, switching to a Medicare Advantage plan comes with risks of its own as well. In order to keep their policies competitively priced, many private insurance companies who underwrite Medicare Advantage policies keep their networks small and restricted. This means that switching to Medicare Part C might also require you to switch doctors. Additionally, you will also be losing the security of having your benefits guaranteed by the federal government. By law, the private company issuing your policy must give you equal or greater benefits than you were receiving under Original Medicare, but what if the company goes bankrupt and you lose your coverage? Getting it back could be quite a challenge.

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.