Medicare is a national health insurance program offered through the federal government. It’s available to people age 65 and over, as well as those with certain disabilities or health conditions.
Read on to learn about your Medicare options in Wyoming.
Medicare is made up of several different parts.
Parts A and B are the ones you can get directly from the federal government. These parts are what’s known as original Medicare.
You can think of Part A as hospital insurance. It helps cover costs for inpatient healthcare services you get when you’re in a hospital, a skilled nursing facility, or hospice. It also helps cover costs for limited home health services.
If you or a spouse paid into payroll taxes during your working years, then you likely won’t need to pay a premium for part A.
Part B helps pay for outpatient health care services and supplies you get when you go the doctor’s office, including preventive care. You do have to pay a premium for part B. The amount depends on factors including your income.
While original Medicare helps pay for many services, Medicare coverage isn’t 100 percent. You still have to pay copays, coinsurance, and deductibles, which can add up if you need to seek healthcare frequently.
Keep in mind there’s no yearly out-of-pocket cap. And original Medicare doesn’t offer coverage at all for services like dental, vision, hearing, or long-term care.
Additional coverage options
Over the years, original Medicare has expanded to include coverage you can purchase from private insurers to add to or replace your original Medicare plan.
Medicare supplement plans (sometimes called Medigap) help fill the gaps that original Medicare doesn’t cover. These plans may help lower copays and coinsurance. They could also offer coverage for dental, vision, or other types of care.
You can purchase Medicare supplement plans in addition to the original Medicare (parts A and B) you get from the government.
Part D is a certain type of plan that applies specifically to prescription drugs. These plans help cover the costs of prescription medications.
Medicare Advantage plans, sometimes called Part C, offer an “all-in-one” alternative to getting original Medicare plus supplemental coverage. These plans are available from private insurance companies and include all the same benefits as original Medicare.
They typically also offer the same types of benefits you might get through supplemental coverage, including prescription drug plans. Since all of this is included in a single plan, you can get a more streamlined member experience.
Plus, Medicare Advantage plans often include extras, such as health and wellness programs and member discounts.
The following companies offer Medicare Advantage plans in Wyoming:
- Lasso Healthcare
- United Healthcare
Plan offerings vary by county and ZIP code. So, what’s available to you will depend on where in Wyoming you live.
You’re eligible to enroll in Medicare plans in Wyoming if you’re:
- 65 years old or over
- younger than age 65 and have a qualifying disability
- any age and have end stage renal disease (ESRD), which is kidney disease that’s progressed to the point of requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant
- Any age and have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also called Lou Gehrig’s disease
If your Medicare enrollment is based on your age, your initial enrollment period begins 3 months before the month of your 65th birthday and continues for 3 months after.
During this time, you can fill out the online application on the U.S. Social Security Administration website to begin the process of enrolling, even if you don’t plan on retiring yet. It usually makes sense to at least enroll in Part A at this time, since most people qualify without having to pay a premium.
If you’re still covered through an employer-sponsored health plan, Part A will coordinate benefits with that plan, which can help save you money.
You also have the option to enroll in Part B, Medicare supplement insurance, or a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan at this time, instead of insurance you qualify for through your or your spouse’s employer.
But it’s your choice. If you decide to continue with the employer-sponsored plan, you’ll qualify for a special enrollment period later on.
You can also sign up for Medicare or switch plans during an open enrollment period each year. For original Medicare, this period is from October 1 through December 7. For Medicare Advantage, the open enrollment period is from January 1 through March 31.
When selecting a Medicare plan, it’s important to weigh your options. While original Medicare offers the same coverage for everyone, Medicare Advantage plans can be structured in different ways. The plan that’s best for you depends largely on your individual situation and preferences.
You’ll want to take into consideration:
- Cost. How much are the plan premiums? How much can you expect to pay when you see a doctor? How much will your share of the cost be when you fill a prescription?
- Provider network. Does the plan include doctors and hospitals that are convenient to you? What if you need to see a doctor while you’re traveling? Are your doctors included?
- Plan design. Will the plan require you to choose a primary care provider? Will you need referrals to see specialists?
- Reviews. What are other people saying about the plan? If it’s a Part C or Part D plan, what star rating did it receive?
If you’d like to learn more about enrolling in Medicare plans in Wyoming, the following organizations can be useful resources:
When you’re ready to take the next step toward enrolling in a Medicare plan, these are good starting points:
- Do some more research into plans available in your Wyoming county. It can help to work with an agent who has expertise in selling Medicare plans. That person can explain the advantages and disadvantages of each plan option and how they apply to your specific situation.
- Complete the application on the U.S. Social Security Administration website. It takes only about 10 minutes and doesn’t require any documentation upfront.
This article was updated on November 20, 2020, to reflect 2021 Medicare information.
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