In Mississippi, more than 80% of seniors live in their own homes. Of this group, those who need medical care may depend largely on in-home services. If you or someone you love is in this situation, it’s important that the health insurance plan or policy you choose provides this benefit. Mississippi Medicare offers many different plan and policy options. Carefully review not only the benefits that you will receive with each option, but also the associated costs. To enroll in Medicare, you must be entitled to or eligible for retirement benefits through Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board and age 65 or older.
Many resources are available to assist you in the process of choosing a Medicare plan or policy. To begin, you can locate the plans that are available to you as a Mississippi resident by visiting www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan. As plan availability depends on your exact location within the state, this site is an excellent place to begin your search for the Medicare plan or policy that fits your health and financial situation. If you live in Jackson, for example, and want a plan with a low monthly premium, the AARP MedicareRx Saver Plus (PDP) plan may be right for you, with a monthly premium of just $15.00. You’ll pay a premium of $18.50 per month for the Humana Walmart-Preferred Rx Plan (PDP) while the First Health Part D Value Plus (PDP) plan carries a monthly premium of $28.40.
More than 46,500 people in Mississippi receive health benefits through a Medicare Advantage (MA) Plan. The MA Plan (Part C) covers all your Part A and Part B Medicare benefits. Most MA Plans in Mississippi also offer Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D). When considering Medicare Advantage Plans, decide whether you want drug coverage included in your plan, how important the monthly premium cost is for you, and the overall plan rating. The average quality rating for Medicare Advantage Plans in Mississippi is 2.73.
Medigap, or supplemental insurance policies are another way Mississippi seniors meet their health insurance needs. Sold by private insurance companies, these policies can help you pay for what Original Medicare coverage does not. For a Jackson resident, the monthly premiums associated with Medigap policies may be higher than for MA plans. Some residents, for example, may pay monthly premiums in the $36 – $57 range for Medigap policy F.
The time to enroll, disenroll, or change Medicare plans starts on October 15 and ends on December 7, 2012. If you have decided to purchase a Medigap policy, it is best to enroll initially during the six-month period after you meet the following two conditions: 1) you are age 65 and 2) you have Medicare Part B. During this six-month period, a Medicare supplement insurer cannot turn down your policy application.
For additional information and more individualized assistance regarding Medicare, contact the Mississippi State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) at 601-359-4929 or 1-800-948-3090. This program provides free personalized health benefits counseling and other support regarding Medicare and supplemental insurance. Counselors can help you compare policies, file claims and appeals, and answer your specific questions. In addition, the Mississippi Medicare program helps qualifying Medicare recipients with medical expenses and the Mississippi Medicare Assistance Patrol Project (MsMAPP) offers information to seniors to raise awareness of and protect against Medicare abuse and fraud.
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