Original Medicare is fairly comprehensive health insurance. It allows you to visit any doctor in the country who accepts Medicare, but it’s not perfect. For example, Medicare Part B requires you to pay a 20% coinsurance. Which can be costly when added to other out-of-pocket expenses. So, if you need help with these expenses, which many beneficiaries do, you should look into purchasing a Minnesota Medicare Supplement Plan to fill the gaps in your Original Medicare coverage.
Private insurance companies offer Medicare Supplement Plans, which help pay for your Original Medicare out-of-pocket costs, such as the Part A deductible and the 20% coinsurance for Part B. And while these plans are sold by private insurers, Medicare Supplement Plans are standardized by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which mandates that all plans with the same letter name provide the same benefit package throughout the country.
With that being said, though, private insurance companies set the premiums for these plans, so it’s vital to shop around for the best deal by comparing both Medicare Supplement Plans and insurance carriers. EZ can help you compare both, but first, have a look at our explanation of how Medicare Supplement Plans operate in the state of Minnesota.
Minnesota Medicare Supplement Plans
The federal government has standardized Medicare Supplement Plans across the country, with the exception of three states. Minnesota is one of only three states that have been granted a waiver that has enabled them to develop their own unique Medicare Supplement Plans. In all other states, there are ten distinct variations of the Medicare Supplement Plan (A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N). But Medicare Supplement Plans available in Minnesota include Basic, Extended Basic, and Medicare Supplement plans F, K, L, M, and N.
You will pay monthly premiums for a Medicare Supplement Plan no matter what state you live in, but in return, you will have most of your out-of-pocket healthcare expenses covered. These monthly premiums can cost anywhere from $160 to $459 in Minnesota, depending on your plan choice and where you live.
Since the plans available differ a bit from the plans available in other states, you’ll need to look into what’s available in Minnesota; we know that it can be frustrating to compare them. So below we’ve highlighted each of the plan types available in Minnesota to help you make the best choice for you – and if you still have questions, feel free to contact an EZ agent, who can explain everything you need to know.
As the name implies, the Basic plan provides coverage for the most basic out-of-pocket expenses you’ll have to deal with as a beneficiary of Original Medicare. This includes:
- Medicare Part A coinsurance
- Medicare Part B coinsurance
- First three pints of blood
- Medicare Part A hospice care coinsurance/copayments
- Medicare Parts A and B home health care services coinsurance/copayment
- Up to one hundred days of skilled nursing facility care through Medicare Part A
- 80% of foreign travel emergency care
- 50% of the costs associated with outpatient mental health care,
- 20% of the costs associated with physical therapy
- Medicare-approved preventive care
- Some benefits that are mandated by the state, including immunizations, routine cancer screenings, reconstructive surgery, and diabetes equipment and supplies
In Minnesota, a number of beneficiaries who purchase the Basic plan choose to supplement their benefits by purchasing riders. Included in the list of available riders are coverage for the Part A deductible, as well as coverage for customary fees and preventive medical services that Medicare does not pay for. A rider that pays the Medicare Part B deductible is available to those who are eligible for first-dollar coverage (in other words, those who were eligible for Medicare before January 1st 2020).
The Basic plan’s premiums can cost between $160 to $290 a month. If you add riders, you could spend between $198 and $355 a month.
The Extended Basic plan offers all of the same benefits as the Basic plan and then some. Coverage includes:
- Part A inpatient hospital deductible
- Part A skilled nursing facility (SNF) coinsurance (provides 120 days of SNF care)
- Part B deductible (This benefit is only available to enrollees who were eligible for Medicare before January 2020)
- 80% of foreign travel coverage
- 50% of outpatient mental health
- 80% of usual and customary fees
- Medicare-covered preventive care
- 20% of physical therapy
- State-mandated benefits (diabetic equipment and supplies, routine cancer screening, reconstructive surgery, and immunizations)
You can expect to pay between $217 and $459 a month for Extended Basic Plan premiums.
Medicare Supplement Plan F has long been the best-selling plan on the market in all states, but it is only available to certain beneficiaries. It covers all of your out-of-pocket expenses, meaning you’ll only pay your monthly Plan F premium if you have this plan. The covered expenses include:
- Part A hospital deductible and coinsurance
- Hospital costs up to an additional 365 days after Medicare benefits are exhausted
- Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayment
- Blood (the first 3 pints)
- Other Medicare-approved expenses associated with Part A hospitalization
- Medicare Part B 20% coinsurance and copayments
- Medicare-approved doctor’s office fees
- Part B deductible
- Medicare Part B excess charges
- Other Medicare-approved expenses associated with Part B coverage
The only catch is that Plan F is not available to anyone who became/becomes eligible for Medicare after 2020. If you became eligible for Medicare before 2020, you can purchase one of these plans, or if you have already purchased Plan F and are grandfathered in, you can keep it as long as you want.
Your out-of-pocket costs for Original Medicare will be lower thanks to Medicare Supplement Plan K, but this plan does not entirely fill the coverage gaps. Up until the point when you reach what is known as your out-of-pocket maximum, Plan K will only pay for half of certain costs. These costs include the following:
- Medicare Part B coinsurance – Plan K covers half of these costs, so you will be responsible for 50% of your 20% Part B coinsurance. For example, if your doctor charges $100 for a service, Medicare will cover $80, Plan K will cover $10, and you will cover the remaining $10.
- First 3 pints of blood
- Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayment – Plan K will pay for half of these costs.
- Skilled nursing facility care coinsurance – Plan K pays half of the coinsurance for medical care in skilled nursing care facilities.
- Medicare Part A deductible – Medicare Supplement Plan K will pay half of these deductibles, or $800. Plan K requires you to pay the Medicare Part B deductible, which is $226 in 2023.
While Plan K has higher out-of-pocket costs than some other plans, the good news is that it has an out-of-pocket maximum, unlike other plans (and unlike Original Medicare). Plan K’s annual maximum out-of-pocket is $6,620 (as of 2023). Medicare Supplement Plan K will cover the rest of the year’s approved costs after you spend this amount. Each year, your maximum resets.
While Plan K covers most expenses at 50%, it covers all of your Medicare Part A coinsurance, so you won’t have to pay anything out-of-pocket if you have to stay in the hospital for more than 60 days. This is the only basic benefit that is fully covered by Medicare Supplement Plan K.
Medicare Supplement Plan L also covers the majority, but not all, of the costs associated with Original Medicare, but it covers them at a higher percentage than does Plan K. It also has a lower out-of-pocket maximum ($3,310 in 2023) than Plan K does. Once you pay that amount in covered expenses for the year, your insurer will pay your bills in full.
Medicare Supplement Plan L covers all of Medicare Part A coinsurance and hospital costs. It also covers a percentage of:
- Medicare Part B coinsurance – Plan L covers 75% of your Part B coinsurance.
- Blood – If you require blood while in the hospital, Plan L will cover 75% of the cost of the first three pints.
- Part A hospice care copayments – Plan L pays 75% of your Part A copays for hospice care.
- Skilled nursing facility care coinsurance – Plan L pays 75% of the $200 per day (after the 20th day of your stay) coinsurance for medical care in skilled nursing care facilities.
- Part A deductible – Medicare Supplement Plan L will cover 75% of your Part A deductibles for each 60-day benefit period. You must still meet your Medicare Part B deductible, which is $226 per year in 2023, if you choose Plan L.
Like Plan K and Plan L, Medicare Supplement Plan M covers the majority of the costs associated with Original Medicare, but not all of them.
Medicare Supplement Plan M covers all of Medicare Part A coinsurance and hospital costs. It also covers:
- Medicare Part B coinsurance – Plan M pays your Part B coinsurance and/or copayments in full.
- Blood – If you require blood while in the hospital, Medicare Supplement Plan M will cover the first three pints of blood in full.
- Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayment – Plan M will cover all of your hospice care coinsurance and copays in full.
- Skilled nursing facility care coinsurance – Plan M covers the entire cost of Part A skilled nursing facility coinsurance.
- Part A deductible – Medicare Supplement Plan M will cover half of your Medicare Part A deductible. If you have Plan M, you will have to pay half of the $1,600 (or $800) deductible rather than the full $1,600.
Medicare Supplement Plan N fills the majority of coverage gaps left by Original Medicare, but it does have some copayments, unlike other plans. The only other exceptions to its coverage are the Medicare Part B deductible ($226 in 2023) and any Medicare Part B excess charges, or parts of doctor bills that exceed the Medicare-approved amount. This means that Medicare Supplement Plan N covers all of the following:
- Medicare Part B coinsurance – Plan N will cover your Part B coinsurance costs in full, with the exception of a copayment of up to $20 for some office visits. For emergency room visits that do not result in an inpatient admission, a second copayment of up to $50 may be required.
- Blood – If you require blood while in the hospital, Medicare Supplement Plan N will cover the first three pints.
- Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayment – Plan N pays your hospice care coinsurance and copayments in full.
- Skilled nursing facility care coinsurance – Your skilled nursing facility coinsurance will be fully covered by Medicare Supplement Plan N.
- Part A deductible – Medicare Supplement Plan N pays your $1,600 deductible in full for each 60-day benefit period.
- Foreign travel emergency care – Original Medicare typically does not cover medical care received outside of the United States. If you need emergency care while traveling outside of the United States, Medicare Supplement Plan N will cover 80% of the costs of qualified emergency medical care.
When To Enroll
No matter your age, under Minnesota law, you are eligible for a six-month Open Enrollment Period once you sign up for Medicare Part B. After your initial six-month window of opportunity has passed, Medicare Supplement insurers can require you to undergo medical underwriting. This process helps decide whether or not you are qualified for coverage. That means the best time to enroll in a Medicare Supplement Plan is your Open Enrollment Period. So you know you won’t be denied or charge more for coverage.
Additionally, the state of Minnesota does not allow Medicare Supplement insurance companies to base premiums on the age of enrollees. The only factors that can influence the cost of Medicare Supplement Plan premiums in the state of Minnesota are where you live and whether or not you use tobacco.
These rules also apply to people who are eligible for Medicare before the age of 65. The majority of states that guarantee access to Medicare Supplement Plans for enrollees under the age of 65 also permit insurers to charge higher premiums to those enrollees who are under the age of 65. However, you’ll have better protections against this type of pricing in Minnesota.
How To Choose
When it comes to Medicare coverage, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Speak to an EZ agent who can explain everything to you and give you guidance on signing up. EZ can assist you in enrolling in Medicare, comparing Medicare Supplement Plans, or simply weighing your options. Our agents work with the best insurance companies in the country. They can provide you with a free comparison of all available plans in your area. We will go over your medical and financial needs with you and help you find a plan that works for you. To get started, simply enter your zip code in the bar below or give one of our licensed agents a call at 877-670-3602.