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Medicare in Mississippi
By the numbers
Here are some statistics about Medicare beneficiaries in Mississippi as of 2015, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services*:
Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Part A and/or Part B (not enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans): 472,274
Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans: 84,720
Total number of Medicare beneficiaries in Mississippi: 556,994
About Medicare in Mississippi
Original Medicare is a government-sponsored health insurance program available to qualified Americans aged 65 and over and those under 65 with certain disabilities or health conditions, such as end-stage renal disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. You must be a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident of at least five continuous years to be eligible. It's made up of Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Medicare Part B (medical insurance).
You don't have to do anything to sign up for Medicare if you qualify for automatic enrollment -- that is, if any of the following applies to you:
You're already receiving retirement benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB). You'll be enrolled in Original Medicare when you turn 65.
You've been receiving disability benefits from Social Security or the RRB, even if you're under 65 years old. You'll be enrolled in Original Medicare after you're received disability benefits for 24 straight months.
You have ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease) at any age. You'll be enrolled in Original Medicare the same month that you start receiving disability benefits.
Please note that if you have end-stage renal disease (ESRD), you might qualify for Medicare even if you're under 65 years old. If you have kidney failure, have had a kidney transplant, or need regular dialysis, contact Social Security (or the Railroad Retirement Board, if applicable) to find out whether you qualify for Medicare and how to apply.
The Social Security Administration can be reached at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY users can call 1-800-325-0778) Monday through Friday, from 7AM to 7PM.
The Railroad Retirement Board can be reached at 1-877-772-5772 (TTY users call 1-312-751-4701) Monday through Friday, 9AM to 3:30PM.
Medicare plan options in Mississippi
If you want to enhance your Medicare coverage, you may have various Medicare plan options in Mississippi.
If you decide to stay with Original Medicare, you need to be aware that it doesn't cover prescription medications in most situations. You also need to know that Original Medicare does have out-of-pocket costs associated with it, such as copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles.
You can sign up for a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan to help with your medication costs. Available from private insurance companies approved by Medicare, Medicare Prescription Drug Plans each have their own lists of covered prescription drugs, called formularies. Before signing up for a Prescription Drug Plan, check to see if its formulary lists the prescription medications you're taking. The formulary may change at any time. You will receive notice from your plan when necessary.
You may also have the option of getting a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan to help pay for your Original Medicare out-of-pocket costs. In most states, including Mississippi, there are 10 standardized plans, although not every Medigap plan may be available everywhere in Mississippi.
Another choice you may have in Mississippi is to get your Original Medicare coverage through a Medicare Advantage plan from a private insurance company approved by Medicare. Medicare Advantage plans include the same coverage as Medicare Part A and Part B (except for hospice care, which Part A still covers), but many plans may offer additional benefits, such as routine dental care and prescription drug coverage.
No matter which Medicare plan option you may choose, you'll still need to continue paying your Medicare Part B premium every month, along with any premium your plan may charge.
Medicare resources in Mississippi
Medicare Savings Programs in Mississippi: Mississippi beneficiaries can apply for programs through Mississippi Medicaid that offer financial assistance. Some programs may offer discounts on expenses that aren't covered by Medicare, such as premiums, deductibles, and copayments.
Mississippi State Health Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program (SHIP): SHIP is a program sponsored by the Mississippi Department of Human Services and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The program can answer your questions about various topics related to health insurance.
*Statistical data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, "On its 50th anniversary, more than 55 million Americans covered by Medicare" as of July 28, 2015.