Medicare Plans in Tennessee
The great news is that there are many Medicare plans in Tennessee to choose from. But sorting through all of the options to find the right coverage can be draining. We don’t think it has to be! We’ve done the research and created this guide to help navigate you through your options and find the right plan for you.
Who’s eligible for a Medicare Plans in Tennessee?
To qualify for Medicare, you must be eligible for Social Security benefits. Most people first become eligible for Medicare when they turn 65 years old.
If you’re 65 or older, you may qualify for Medicare if:
- You are a citizen or permanent resident (having lived in the US for at least 5 years), and
- You or your spouse worked at a job that paid towards your Medicare through Social Security deductions for at least 10 years.
If you’re under 65, you may qualify for Medicare if you have:
- Been diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)
- Received Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for at least 24 months
If you’re unsure about your eligibility or will be turning 65 within the next six months, we’re here to help. You can view local plans online or call us to speak with a licensed insurance agent today.
What are the Medicare Plans in Tennessee
Orginial Medicare Part A & Part B
Original Medicare is the governmental component of Medicare, which has two parts:
Part A (Hospital Insurance) covers inpatient services, like hospital care, hospice, skilled nursing facility care, and nursing home care (as long as custodial care isn’t the only care needed).
Part B (Medical Insurance) covers outpatient services and supplies, like mental health, ambulance services, and durable medical equipment (blood sugar monitors, walkers, canes, etc). Part B also covers certain services that prevent or detect illnesses early, like flu shots, cardiovascular and diabetes screenings.
Original Medicare doesn’t cover everything. Services generally not covered by Original Medicare include:
- Long term care (custodial care)
- Most outpatient prescription drugs
- Hearing aids
- Eye exams and eyeglasses
- Most dental care and dentures
- Routine foot care
- Cosmetic surgery
Medicare doesn’t cover everything and isn’t intended to pay 100% of your medical bills. Medicare beneficiaries typically pay a portion of medical expenses in the form of deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments. For this reason, there are many additional Medicare plans available in Tennessee to choose from and expand your coverage.
Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C)
Medicare Advantage plans are provided by Medicare-approved private insurance companies and work as an alternative to Original Medicare (Parts A and B). These plans must provide the same coverage as Original Medicare (with the exception of hospice care, which remains covered by Part A). They can also provide additional benefits, such as dental, vision, and prescription drug coverage. Medicare Advantage plans with 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 parts of Original Medicare. Premiums for these plans can start at $0, increasing with the level of coverage selected. You’ll need to continue paying your Part B premium in addition to your Part C premium.
Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (Part D)
Prescription Drug coverage is generally not covered by Original Medicare or Medigap Plans. Stand-alone Prescription Drug plans, offered by Medicare-approved private insurance companies, work alongside Original Medicare (Parts A and B) to add prescription drug coverage. With these plans, a tier system is used to grade medications, and copays/coinsurance for each medication are set in accordance with their tiers. Drugs graded in the lowest tiers have the lowest copays/coinsurance, and vice versa. Each plan provides a drug formulary for you to see which tier(s) your medications fall into. This allows you to compare plans and select one with the best overall value for your specific prescription needs.
Medicare Supplement Plans (Medigap)
Medicare Supplement plans add an additional layer of coverage to your Original Medicare by filling in coverage gaps. Medigap plans are provided by Medicare-approved private insurance companies and work alongside your Original Medicare to help reduce your out-of-pocket costs by paying certain healthcare costs, like copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles.
When Can I Enroll In A 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, starting three months before your 65th birthday month.
You can then make changes to your Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription Drug coverage during the Annual Election Period (AEP). This period runs from October 15th to December 7th every year.
Medicare Initial Enrollment Period
7-Month Initial Enrollment Period | Begins 3 months before the month you turn 65
*Signing up for Parts A and B during months 5,6, and 7 may result in delayed coverage.
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.
Additional Medicare Resources in Tennessee
The State Health Insurance Counseling Project (SHIP) provides free, unbiased assistance and counseling regarding Medicare and other health insurance related questions.
The Medicare Savings Program is available to Medicare beneficiaries whose income falls below a certain level to help pay for Medical expenses, like premiums and deductibles.
Sources: Medicare.gov; www.tn.gov