If you live in Louisiana and are or soon will become eligible for Medicare, you may be wondering what your options are.
Medicare is a national government-sponsored health insurance program for people age 65 and over, as well as for people of any age who have certain health conditions.
There are several options available for residents of the Bayou State. Read on to learn more about Medicare in Louisiana.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reported the following information on Medicare trends in Louisiana for the 2021 plan year:
- A total of 884,146 residents of Louisiana are enrolled in Medicare.
- The average Medicare Advantage monthly premium decreased in Louisiana compared to last year — from $14.23 in 2020 to $13.86 in 2021.
- There are 94 Medicare Advantage plans available in Louisiana for 2021, compared to 83 plans in 2020.
- All Louisiana residents with Medicare have access to buy a Medicare Advantage plan, including plans with $0 premiums.
- There are 12 different Medigap plans offered in Louisiana for 2021
Medicare is made up of several different parts, which we explain below.
Parts A and B come directly from the federal government and are considered original Medicare.
You can think of Part A as hospital insurance. It covers:
- inpatient care you receive when admitted to a hospital
- limited skilled nursing facility stays
- some limited home health services
- hospice care
Part B covers basic medical services and supplies that you get on an outpatient basis, such as when you see your primary doctor or a specialist.
Original Medicare pays a portion of inpatient and outpatient healthcare costs, but not all of them. If you only have parts A and B, you’re responsible for paying a certain amount out of pocket when you see a doctor.
Medicare Advantage in Louisiana
For the most comprehensive coverage, you may want to consider a Medicare Advantage plan. Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans are full replacements for original Medicare. You can purchase them from a private insurance company.
Part C plans provide all the same coverage for hospital and doctor’s services as parts A and B.
Medicare Advantage plans may also include coverage for dental, vision, and hearing, plus wellness and discount programs. And they typically offer significant savings on out-of-pocket costs you might pay if you have only original Medicare.
If you’re shopping for Medicare Advantage plans in Louisiana, you have a lot of options to choose from. Keep in mind that not all plans are offered in all areas. Here is a list of companies that offer Medicare Advantage plans in Louisiana:
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana
- Lasso Healthcare
- Peoples Health
- Vantage Health
Medicare Advantage plan offerings vary by county, so enter your specific ZIP code when searching for plans where you live.
Medicare supplement plans in Louisiana
You can increase your coverage to help pay for copays, coinsurance, and deductibles. Medigap plans, also known as Medicare supplement plans, can help cover copays and deductibles.
Many companies offer Medigap plans in Louisiana. In 2021, some of the companies offering Medigap plans throughout the state include:
To be eligible for Medicare plans in Louisiana, you must fulfill at least one of the following requirements:
- be age 65 or older
- be of any age and have certain qualifying disabilities
- be of any age and have end stage renal disease (ESRD) or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
When can I enroll in Medicare Louisiana plans?
Your initial Medicare enrollment period begins 3 months before your 65th birthday and lasts for 3 months after it.
You can enroll in Medicare Advantage plans in Louisiana during the yearly Medicare Advantage open enrollment period, which lasts from January 1 through March 31. You can also change your plan options during Medicare open enrollment from October 15 through December 7.
Tips for enrolling in Medicare Plans in Louisiana
When choosing a Medicare plan, it’s important to think about your unique health needs. You may want to consider some of these questions:
- Do you need more coverage than what’s available through original Medicare? Depending on your health needs, adding on plans or choosing a Medicare Advantage plan may save you some money.
- What is the plan’s cost structure? How much are the premiums? How much can you expect to pay when you go to the doctor or need a prescription medication?
- What is the provider network like? Does it include doctors and hospitals near you or your preferred providers? What if you need care when you’re traveling?
- What is the satisfaction level of current or former members? You can often find reviews online. You may also want to consider asking family members, friends, or acquaintances who are Louisiana Medicare members what they think of their coverage.
- What type of plan is it? Will you need to choose a primary care physician or get referrals for specialty care? Some people prefer working with a trusted physician who oversees their care, such as with a Medicare Advantage Health Maintenance Organization (HMO). Other people would rather have the freedom to seek specialty care on their own, such as with a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO).
The following resources can help you learn more about Medicare plans and coverage options in Louisiana:
- More than 800,000 Louisiana residents are enrolled in Medicare.
- There are several private insurance companies offering various types of Medicare Advantage and Medigap plans throughout the state.
- Overall, monthly premium costs have decreased for 2021 Medicare Advantage plans in Louisiana.
- There are also several Medigap plan options if you live in Louisiana and are looking for additional coverage.