Medicare Supplement Plans in Mississippi
Medicare Supplement plans in Mississippi provide Medicare beneficiaries extra protection for medical expenses that Original Medicare does not cover. To qualify for a Medicare Supplement plan, you must be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B. If you are covered under a Medicare Part C plan instead of Original Medicare, you cannot apply for a Medicare Supplement plan in Mississippi.
Overview of Medicare Supplement Plans in Mississippi
Original Medicare includes Part A, which covers hospital charges, and Part B, which covers expenses such as doctors, testing, and therapists. Although Medicare coverage is beneficial, it does not pay for everything. Private insurance companies sell Medicare Supplement plans that bridge the gap between what Medicare pays and the amount you are responsible for. That’s why Medicare Supplement plans are often called Medigap policies.
Following are some expenses that a Medicare Supplement plan in Mississippi can cover:
- Deductibles — the amount you pay before Medicare pays
- Coinsurance — the amount remaining, usually 20 percent, after Medicare pays
- Copayments — a fixed amount you are required to pay for some services such as a doctor or emergency room visit
- Excess charges — the difference between a doctor’s fee and Medicare’s approved fee
Like Original Medicare policies, Medicare Supplement plans only cover one person. If you are married, your spouse will have to obtain coverage under a separate Medigap plan.
Medicare Supplement Plans in Mississippi: Enrollment Statistics
Mississippi has a population of slightly over 2.984 million. The top five counties based on population are:
- Hinds 241,229 (Jackson)
- Harrison 203,234 (Biloxi)
- DeSoto 175,611 (Hernando)
- Rankin 150,228 (Brandon)
- Jackson 141,241 (Pascagoula)
About 15 percent of Mississippi residents are age 65 or older. The average retirement age is 64. Here are some other Medicare-related facts for Mississippi:
- More than 476,000 Mississippi residents had Medicare Part A or Part B coverage in 2017.
- About 76 percent of Medicare recipients qualify based on their age.
- In 2015, 143,841 residents (29.3 percent) had Medicare Supplement plans.
- The most popular Medigap plan in Mississippi is Plan F with 102,954 beneficiaries enrolled in 2015.
- Plan G ranked second in popularity with 17,525 enrollees.
Rating Options for Medicare Supplement Plans in Mississippi?
Many companies sell Medicare Supplement plans in Mississippi, but each company sets its rates individually.
Carriers can choose one of three ways to set their rates:
Premiums are the same for everyone regardless of age.
Issue Age Rated
The insurance carrier bases the premium cost on your age when you buy the Medigap plan.
Attained Age Rated
Your current age determines the premium, so premiums increase as you age.
Most insurers in Mississippi calculate Medigap policies according to the attained age method.
Medicare Supplement Plans in Mississippi: Plan Options
Like in 46 other states, as a Medicare beneficiary you can choose from 10 Medicare Supplement plans in Mississippi. Any insurance company offering Medicare Supplement plans in Mississippi must offer Plan A, which has specific core benefits. Plans B through J include those core benefits plus a variety of additional benefits. Insurance carriers may or may not offer Plans B through J.
The 10 Medicare Supplement plans are standardized, which means that the benefits under Plan C will be the same in Tupelo, Jackson, and Biloxi. The premiums might be different, however, based on the geographic location and the insurance company offering the policy.
Each Medigap plan letter features different benefits. For example, Plan B pays all of your Medicare Part A deductible; Plan L pays 75 percent, while Plan K pays 50 percent. Answering the following questions can help you compare plans and evaluate which Medicare supplement plan in Mississippi will best match your health care needs:
- Do you have a lot of doctor appointments?
- How frequently do you go to the emergency room?
- Are you willing to pay higher deductibles, coinsurance, or copayments in return for lower premiums?
- Is there a possibility you will need care in a skilled nursing facility?
- How much can you afford for premiums?
Choosing Medigap insurance might seem overwhelming, but it is much easier when you break it down into two steps:
- Compare the Medigap policies to determine which benefits you need.
- Once you have chosen the Medicare Supplement plan that fits your needs, compare the premium price between the insurance companies that offer that plan in your area.
Do Medicare Supplement Plans Cover Drugs?
Medicare Supplement Insurance does not cover prescription drugs. To get help paying medication costs, you will need to buy a separate Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. Prescription drug coverage is called Medicare Plan D.
Medicare Supplement Plans in Mississippi: When to Enroll?
If you are a Mississippi resident, you are eligible to apply for a Medigap plan in Mississippi after you turned 65 and are enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B. The best time to apply is within your six-month initial enrollment period, which starts the month you meet both conditions. During your Medigap open enrollment period (OEP), you have certain protections called guaranteed-issue rights. Under these protections, an insurance company cannot do three things:
- Deny you coverage or place conditions on your Medicare Supplement policy such as delaying your effective coverage date
- Charge you a higher premium because of current or past health problems
- Deny coverage for pre-existing conditions
Once your Medicare Supplement OEP ends, you can still apply for coverage, but the insurance carrier might deny your application, charge you a higher premium, or require you to undergo medical underwriting.
Using Medicare Supplement Plans from Mississippi in Other States?
As a Medicare beneficiary, the good news about Medigap plans is that they are portable. If you are traveling, you can access health care from any provider in the country as long as the provider accepts Medicare. If you move to another state, you can take your Medicare Supplement plan from Mississippi with you without having to re-apply in your new state of residence. Because the cost of living varies significantly across the country, you might want to compare your current premium with rates in your new state. In some cases, it might be less expensive to transfer to a similar plan in your new state. Be aware, however, that you might have to undergo medical underwriting.
Helpful Mississippi Medicare Resources: