Every senior citizen in the US is entitled to enroll in the Medicare program once they reach the age of 65. Once enrolled, many common medical services (hospital stays, doctor appointments, outpatient services, and more) will be covered by either Medicare Part A, or Medicare Part B. The chart below will help outline which part of your Original Medicare takes care of what expenses.

Medicare Plans in Nebraska

There are some basic costs and fees associated with Original Medicare. Part B has certain low-cost premiums. The monthly premium and yearly deductible are required of everyone who receives Medicare benefits. There may be additional costs for Part A, but that depends on your employment history. If you have been employed for fewer than 10 years in your life, or a total of 40 quarters, then you will be required to pay an annual deductible for Part A benefits as well.

If you’re a Nebraska resident that’s 65 or older you qualify to receive Medicare health coverage. If you’ve worked more than 40 quarters or 10 years in your lifetime your Part A coverage is free, otherwise you’ll be expected to pay a premium for it every month. If you enroll in Medicare, you’ll receive Part A coverage automatically. Medicare Part A includes inpatient coverage, hospice care, home health care and nursing facility care. For an added cost you can expand your coverage to Medicare Part B for added outpatient care, additional home health services, doctor and hospital services, and preventative care services.

Besides those base Medicare services, there are Medicare parts C and D as well. You need Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B to qualify for either C or D coverage. Medicare Part C is additional service coverage from a private insurance company, also known as Medicare Advantage, and the services you receive depend on the plan that you choose. Medicare Part D is a prescription drug plan and will help cover the cost of most medications.

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

Medicare Plans in Nebraska: The Breakdown

More than a quarter of a million (287,565) Nebraska seniors are currently enrolled in Medicare. Of those, around 13% (37,383 individuals) prefer the Medicare Advantage program over Original Medicare. Then there are the highly popular Medigap supplemental insurance policies – 129,723 Nebraska seniors (or 45% of all Medicare beneficiaries) are supplementing their Original Medicare benefits with a Medigap insurance policy. We’ll tell you why these are so popular later on in this article. Finally, the remaining 42% of seniors have either not yet decided to supplement their Medicare coverage, or they are receiving some alternative type of supplement (likely through an employer).

Why Should Seniors Supplement their Medicare Coverage?

Well, to make a long story short: because it could prove to be financially disastrous later on down the road if they do not. You see, although Original Medicare tries to be as comprehensive as possible, it isn’t perfect. There are certain “gaps” in coverage that you may end up footing the bill for if you rely on Medicare alone to cover all of your health care needs:

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

Granted, if you are newly retired and still in good health, you may feel like you don’t need to supplement your Medicare coverage. And you may be correct. But that status could very likely change in the future. You never know when a medical emergency will hit, and with health care costs on the rise, that emergency could cost you big if you aren’t prepared for it.

Many Nebraska residents today need to seek out additional healthcare coverage on top of Medicare because the cost of quality health care is higher than ever. Most seniors are expected to pay about $1,100 in added deductible costs for their Part A policy, and extended hospital stays can come with hefty added costs.

Approximately 45% of Nebraska residents with Medicare are relying on another form of supplemental health insurance as well to cover their costs. These people don’t want to get stuck with huge out-of-pocket costs after their Medicare coverage, so they are investing in another insurance to help reduce the risk of that happening.

A good Medicare supplement can help with filling your Medicare coverage gaps so you get the coverage that you need, and you aren’t paying huge costs outside of your insurance premiums. There are different supplement insurance policies available, but the best options all work with Medicare itself to help complement the services that you receive and to help lower your overall medical expenses even further.

If you want an additional Medicare insurance policy, you have two options to choose from; Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement (Medigap). Each option is effective for covering your added medical expenses, but they work in very different ways and can leave you with different medical costs depending on your health and your total medical expenses.

Medicare Supplement Plans in Nebraska

There are two main types of supplemental coverage available on the market for seniors who are receiving Original Medicare. One of them – by far, the most popular option in Nebraska – is Medigap supplemental insurance. These policies are the result of a collaboration between the federal government and private insurance companies to give you the most comprehensive protection against the gaps in Original Medicare coverage. The plans are named alphabetically, A-N, with the exception of plans E, H, I, and J (these were eliminated in 2010 with the Medicare Modernization Act). Each plan is universal across all 50 states, which means that only your provider and your premiums will vary by location.

This helpful chart details what each of the ten plans has to offer:

Medicare Advantage Plans in Nebraska

Whether you call it Medicare Part C or Medicare Replacement, Medicare Advantage policies are designed to protect you from coverage gaps by replacing your Original Medicare with “equal or greater” coverage through a private health insurance company. This means that all of your current Medicare benefits, in addition to any additional coverage you purchase, is handled under a single policy through a single provider.

It is unclear as to why so few Nebraska residents have signed up with Medicare Advantage, but it might have something to do with the desire to keep their current doctors. In order to maintain competitive prices, many Advantage networks are highly restricted, forcing seniors to have to choose between more affordable health care, and losing their current doctor(s). Make sure you do some research first, especially if your current physician is important to you, before you decide to commit to a Medicare Advantage policy.

Most Medicare Advantage providers operate through Health Maintenance or Preferred Provider Organizations (HMOs and PPOs, respectively). There may be significant restrictions on your ability to receive medical care outside of your HMO or PPO.

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.