10,000 Americans celebrate their 65th birthday every day – proof of the scale of new beneficiaries entering the Medicare program.
If you are an Iowa resident about to turn 65, it is time to start thinking about your Medicare enrollment. You leave yourself open to avoidable surcharges by delaying, so it’s best to complete enrollment right away.
Yes, changing healthcare coverage can be intimidating, but Medicare isn’t as complex as it might seem. Remember, you’ve been paying into your Medicare fund your entire working life – it’s time to reap the benefits!
Iowa Medicare Insurance Trends
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reported the following information on 2021 Medicare trends in Iowa:
- There are 637,393 Medicare enrollees in Iowa.
- The average Medicare Advantage monthly premium slightly increased from $9.46 in 2020 to $9.86 in 2021.
- There are currently 55 Medicare Advantage plans available for 2021.
- Roughly 97% of Medicare recipients in Iowa can purchase a Medicare Advantage Plan. About 96% can buy a plan with $0 premiums.
- Residents of Iowa can choose from 12 different Medigap plans.
Medicare Offered in Iowa
Medicare is here to save you money and isn’t as complicated as it might seem. With our experts by your side, we’ll find a plan in Iowa to match your needs and budget.
Medicare is a government-funded program available to the elderly and those with disabilities to provide coverage for hospital costs and general health care expenses such as doctor visits. Medicare consists of Part A, which covers hospitalization costs; Part B provides coverage for medical services rendered by doctors outside hospitals.
Medicare Part A does not usually require payment of a premium, but there are exceptions. Medicare Part B generally requires the beneficiary to pay for premiums depending on their annual income and other factors like age or disability status.
Medicare Advantage combines the benefits of Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) and supplemental plans in a single plan. Medicare Advantage plans have at least the same coverage as Part A and Part B, plus Part D and other healthcare services not found in Original Medicare, such as prescription drugs, hearing, vision, or dental coverage.
One significant benefit of Medicare Advantage is that it has annual out-of-pocket spending limits. Once you reach this limit, your coverage will pay 100% for any additional care needed during the given year. There’s no cost associated with a need arising in one month after exhausting all funds if they happen to occur before or during the next full calendar year.
As of September 2020, there were 161,300 Iowa residents with private Medicare coverage.
Medicare Advantage plans can be purchased from Medicare-approved private carriers. Each plan comes with different benefits and costs, so it’s important to compare thoroughly. Iowa Medicare Advantage options include plans from the following private insurance companies:
- Aetna Medicare
- Medical Associates Health Plan, Inc.
Medicare Supplement Plans
Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) comes with out-of-pocket costs the plan holder is responsible for, including deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance. Medicare Supplement Insurance plans (also known as Medigap plans) fill in these gaps by covering a portion of the expenses.
Medicare Supplement plans in Iowa only work with Original Medicare and are not compatible with Medicare Advantage. Supplement plans typically do not provide coverage for prescription drugs, but beneficiaries can enroll in a stand-alone Medicare Part D plan instead. Iowa Medicare Advantage options include plans from the following private insurance companies:
- AARP – UnitedHealthcare
- Colonial Penn
- Garden State
- Great Southern
- State Farm
Iowa Medicare Enrollment
Iowa citizens are eligible for Medicare if they are U.S. citizens above 65 years old or are under 65 but are permanently disabled, have end-stage renal disease, or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Use Medicare’s online eligibility tool if you are unsure if you qualify.
- You are 65 or older, and you or your spouse worked and paid Medicare taxes for at least 40 quarters.
- You are under age 65 and collect benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board for at least 24 consecutive months.
- You have ESRD or ALS.
Enrollment Period Dates
Initial Enrollment Period
This is a seven-month window that allows you to sign up for a plan
- Begins 3 months before the month you turn 65
- Ends 3 months after the month you turn 65
Medicare Open Enrollment Period
This is when you can sign up for a plan, switch a plan or leave a plan
- Begins Starts October 15th
- Ends December 7th
Special Enrollment Period
Special enrollment periods allow you to enroll outside the regular enrollment periods under specific circumstances.
General Enrollment Period
This is when you can sign up for Medicare Part A and/or Part B if you didn’t sign up when first eligible or if you’re not qualified for a Special Enrollment Period.
- Starts January 1st
- Ends March 31st
Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period
This is when you can switch or leave a Medicare Advantage Plan
- Starts January 1st
- Ends March 31st
Iowa Enrollment Tips & Advice
When shopping for the right Medicare plan for you, it can be overwhelming to narrow down your options. Consider the coverage costs, coinsurance, copayments, and deductibles, as well as your personal needs. A Medicare Advantage plan may be right for you if you need specific benefits, such as dental care or vision care!
How Do I Enroll in a Medicare Plan?
Iowa Medigap and Medicare Advantage is an excellent option for those looking to save money. If you have any questions about Iowa Medicare and your eligibility for supplement or advantage plans, speak to one of our licensed agents today. Our agents will discuss your Medicare options and help find a plan that works for you.