Medicare in Mississippi

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If you will soon be turning 65 in Mississippi, you may be wondering how Medicare works, what it covers, and how much it will cost you. Here’s a brief overview of how Medicare works in Mississippi and the other states.

Medicare beneficiaries living in Mississippi (as elsewhere in the United States) generally can receive their Medicare benefits in either of two ways:

  • Through Original Medicare, the federal government-sponsored health benefits program
  • Through a Medicare plan offered by private insurance companies contracted with Medicare.

Original Medicare, Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance), is available to people age 65 or older who are United States citizens, or who have been legal permanent U.S. residents for at least five years.

Mississippi residents and others younger than age 65 may be eligible for Medicare in Mississippi (as in all states) if they receive disability benefits from the Social Security Administration or the Railroad Retirement Board:

  • If you’ve been receiving disability benefits for 24 consecutive months, you become eligible for Medicare the 25th month.
  • If you have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), you become eligible for Medicare the same month you qualify for disability benefits.
  • If you have end-stage renal disease, you might qualify for Medicare, but you generally need to contact Social Security to enroll.

Original Medicare for Mississippi residents

Medicare Part A generally provides insurance coverage for inpatient hospital care, including nursing care and treatment you receive while in the hospital. You may be automatically enrolled in premium-free Part A at age 65 if you (or your spouse) worked at least 10 years (40 quarters) under Medicare-covered employment and paid Medicare taxes while working.

Medicare Part B typically covers physician visits, including the diagnosis and treatment of conditions as well as preventive care to help you stay healthy and detect health risks early so that appropriate treatments can be started. Most of the time, people have to pay a monthly premium for Medicare Part B, although if you qualify for Medicaid, the Medicaid program may help you with your premiums.

Medicare plan options in Mississippi

You may decide to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan offered by a Medicare-approved private insurance company. Because private insurance companies provide these Medicare plans, the cost, coverage and availability of plans may vary, so it may be a good idea to compare plans that serve the Mississippi community where you live.

Medicare Advantage plans must provide at least the same amount of coverage as Original Medicare, Part A and Part B (with the exception of hospice care, which remains a Part A covered service). Medicare Advantage plans often have lower deductibles than Original Medicare. Also, Medicare Advantage plans often include additional benefits, like routine dental care, routine vision and hearing care, and prescription drug coverage. Read more about enrolling in Medicare Advantage plans.

Medicare Part D is the federal program for Medicare prescription drug coverage. It’s available from either a Medicare Advantage plan that provides this coverage (called a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan) or as a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan. Since most prescription costs are not covered by Medicare Part A and Part B, this type of coverage may be worth considering.

Because of the differences in cost and coverage among Medicare plans offering prescription drug coverage, you may want to compare all plans where you live. CMS reports that 19 Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans are available in Mississippi in 2017.

Keep in mind you may generally enroll in a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan if you have Part A andPart B. You may enroll in a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan if you have Part A or Part B.

If you decide to stay in Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), you may be able to choose a difference option, which is to sign up for a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan to help pay for Original Medicare’s out-of-pocket costs. Different Medigap plans pay for different amounts of those costs, such as copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles.

Mississippi resources for Medicare beneficiaries

Medicare beneficiaries in Mississippi can get assistance with their Medicare-related questions from a number of state agencies. Some of these include:

State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) is designed to answer seniors’ questions about health insurance. Whether it is Medicare, Medicaid, supplemental insurance or other coverage, volunteers are trained to answer questions, compare policies, organize paperwork and help with claims and filing appeals.

Mississippi Department of Human Services oversees the Agencies of Aging and Adult Services that provides services for older residents. The Division of Aging and Adult Services is divided into localized area agencies that provide personal counseling services and education to seniors.

Medicare statistical trends in Mississippi

Here are some interesting facts from CMS about Medicare coverage in Mississippi that may be of interest as you consider your Medicare coverage options.

CMS reported that for the more than 400,000 Mississippians with Medicare prescription drug coverage in 2017—

  • 88% of people have access to a plan with a lower premium than what they paid in 2016.
  • 47% of people get Extra Help with their Part D prescription drug premiums and out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs.

The number of people in Mississippi with Medicare coverage continues to grow: 576,141 people have Medicare as of January 2017 compared to 523,841 Medicare beneficiaries in 2012.

Original Medicare remains the coverage of choice for 84% of Medicare beneficiaries residing in Mississippi as of 2016, although Medicare Advantage and other Medicare plans have experienced incremental increases in membership of approximately 1% each year since 2012.

Statistical data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, “2017 MA Part D Landscape State-by-State Fact Sheet,“ September 22, 2016 and “Medicare Dashboard,“ Office of Enterprise Data & Analytics (OEDA), April 2017.

Data in this article was checked when the article was written and might not be updated as newer data becomes available.

This website and its contents are for informational purposes only. Nothing on the website should ever be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always consult with your medical provider regarding diagnosis or treatment for a health condition, including decisions about the correct medication for your condition, as well as prior to undertaking any specific exercise or dietary routine.


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