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Medicare in Nebraska
By the numbers
Here are some statistics about Nebraskans enrolled in Medicare as of 2015*:
Total number of Medicare beneficiaries in Nebraska: 185, 386
Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Part A and/or Part B in Nebraska: 271, 448
Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan in Nebraska: 39, 218
Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Part D in Nebraska: 271, 073
Many American citizens and legal permanent residents of at least five continuous years are automatically enrolled in the Original Medicare program when they turn 65 if they've been receiving retirement benefits or, at any age, if they qualify by disability or through having end-stage renal disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease). Original Medicare includes Medicare Part A, which is hospital insurance, and Part B, which is medical insurance.
Original Medicare doesn't include most prescription drug coverage, and there are out-of-pocket costs associated with Medicare Part A and Part B. You can enroll in optional health insurance plans to get this coverage.
Medicare Part D is prescription drug coverage available from private, Medicare-approved insurance companies. A stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan can work alongside your Original Medicare coverage.
To help with Original Medicare's out-of-pocket costs, you can apply for a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan, also available from private insurance companies. There are 10 standardized Medigap plans in most states, including Nebraska. Each standardized Medigap plan covers a different level of Medicare out-of-pocket costs, such as deductibles and copayments.
Instead of staying with Original Medicare, you may have the option of receiving your Medicare coverage through a Medicare Advantage plan. These plans are available through private insurance companies that have contracts with Medicare, and they're required to include the same benefits as Medicare Part A and Part B (except for hospice care, which Medicare still covers). Most Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage, and many offer additional benefits, such as routine vision and hearing care.
No matter what Medicare plan option you may choose, you need to continue paying your Medicare Part B monthly premium. You must live within the plan's service area. And there are certain time periods when you can enroll in the plan options described above; follow the link for the option you're interested in to learn when you can enroll.
Medicare resources in Nebraska
Medicare Savings Programs in Nebraska: For low-income beneficiaries that live in Nebraska, there are programs that offer discounts on expenses like premiums and coinsurance. Any beneficiary can apply to a Medicare savings program to see if he or she qualifies for financial assistance. For information, see the Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services website.
Nebraska State Health Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program (SHIP): The Nebraska Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) is a free counseling service to help beneficiaries who would like more information about Medicare. They offer both online resources and community events.
*Source: 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.