Finding Medicare Plans in Iowa
Iowans have a variety of Medicare options to choose from. But sorting through the different plans to find the right level of coverage can feel overwhelming – we don’t think it should be. We’ll help navigate you through the Medicare plans available in Iowa to find the coverage that’s right for you.
What Is Medicare And What Does It Cover?
Medicare is a federally sponsored health insurance program for people 65 and older and certain people under the age of 65 with a qualifying disability or illness. Medicare isn’t intended to pay 100% of medical expenses. Medicare beneficiaries still pay a portion of their medical bills through coinsurance, deductibles, and copayments.
There are four parts of Medicare:
Original Medicare Part A and Part B
Original Medicare is the federal component of Medicare and is comprised of two parts: Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance). Medicare Part A covers inpatient services, like hospital care, hospice care, and skilled nursing facility care. Medicare Part B covers outpatient medical services/supplies, like ambulance services, mental health care, and durable medical equipment. Part B also covers some preventive care services like flu shots, cardiovascular screenings, and a one-time “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit.
Original Medicare typically doesn’t cover long term care, most prescription drugs, hearing exams/hearing aids, vision, or dental care. For this reason, there are Medicare Advantage plans available through Medicare-approved private insurance companies to help you find the right amount of coverage for you.
Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C)
Medicare Advantage plans are available through Medicare-approved, private insurance companies as an alternative to Original Medicare coverage. Medicare Advantage plans provide the same benefits as Original Medicare Parts A and B and may also include additional coverage not provided by Original Medicare. Additional benefits offered by Medicare Advantage plans can include: dental, vision, and prescription drug coverage. Medicare Advantage plans that include prescription drug coverage are called Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MAPD) plans.
To enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan you must first be enrolled in both Part A and Part B of Original Medicare. Medicare Advantage plan premiums can start at $0 and increase depending on the level of coverage selected. If enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you will continue paying your Part B premium in addition to this plan’s premium. There’s a wide selection of Medicare Advantage plans available in Iowa, offering varying degrees of coverage.
Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (Part D)
Prescription drugs are not covered by Original Medicare Part A and Part B nor Medigap plans. Part D coverage is available to help cover the cost of prescription drugs. Medicare prescription drug plans come in the form of a stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug plan, which works alongside Original Medicare, or as part of a Medicare Advantage plan which are called Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans (MAPD).
Medicare Supplement Plans (Medigap)
As mentioned earlier, Medicare beneficiaries are still responsible for paying a portion of their Medical bills through coinsurance, deductibles, copayments, and medical services not covered by Medicare; this is where Medicare Supplement plans come in. Many people who decide to stick with Original Medicare Part A and B can also enroll in a Medicare Supplement Plan, also known as a Medigap plan. Medigap plans are available through Medicare-approved private insurance companies and work alongside Original Medicare to pay for things that Original Medicare doesn’t cover. If you plan to continue with Original Medicare, a Medigap plan is a consideration to help reduce your out-of-pocket expenses.
Am I Eligible For Medicare Plans In Iowa?
To qualify for Medicare you must be eligible for Social Security benefits. Most people become eligible for Medicare when they turn 65 years of age. You can also qualify for Medicare under 65 years of age if you have been diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), or if you have been a recipient of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for 24 months.
To qualify, you must be a citizen or permanent resident (having lived in the US for at least 5 years). You or your spouse must also have worked a job for 10 years that paid towards your Medicare through Social Security deductions.
If you are unsure about your eligibility for Medicare plans in Iowa or will be turning 65 in the next six months, we can help. Talk to a licensed insurance agent now by calling the number above.
When Can I Enroll In A Medicare Plan?
Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans
Your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) is your first opportunity to enroll in Medicare. This IEP is a seven-month period that starts three months before your 65th birthday month.
After your IEP, you can make changes to your Medicare Part C or Part D coverage during the Annual Election Period (AEP). The Annual Election Period occurs every year from October 15th to December 7th.
Key Fact: The General Enrollment Period provides you an opportunity to enroll in Original Medicare if you missed your IEP. This period occurs every year from January 1st to March 31st. Then, you’ll have an opportunity to select a Medicare Advantage Plan from April 1st through June 30th.
Medicare Supplement Plans
The best time to enroll in a Medigap plan is during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period. This period starts the month you are both 65 or older and enrolled in Medicare Part B. Once it has begun, this period continues through the following six months.
Important Note: If you enroll during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period, you’re guaranteed the Medigap plan of your choice. But if you miss this period, Medigap carriers can increase premiums or even deny you coverage entirely.
Special Enrollment Periods
A Special Enrollment Period allows you to enroll or make changes to your coverage outside of the normal times. Life events that can qualify you for Special Enrollment include moving outside of the plans coverage area, moving into or out of a care facility, and more. You can talk to one of our licensed insurance agents to see if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
How Do I Select a Medicare Plan?
We’ll help you navigate the Medicare plans available in Iowa to find the coverage that’s right for you. You can compare plans side by side online by using the form below. Need some help? Call us today to speak to a licensed insurance agent, Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 8 PM ET.
Additional Medicare Resources in Iowa
Iowa’s Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) provides free, confidential, and unbiased counseling for Iowans with Medicare, their representatives, and soon-to-be Medicare beneficiaries.
The Medicare Savings Program is available to Medicare beneficiaries in Iowa whose income falls below a certain level to help pay for Medical expenses, like premiums and deductibles.
Sources: Medicare.gov; www.therightcalliowa.gov; dhs.iowa.gov