Medicare Plan Options
If you have basic health care needs, Original Medicare provides reliable coverage for hospital and medical bills. However, the base plan may not be right for everyone. If you have more complex health needs or just want more robust coverage, several private health insurance companies in Kansas offer plans that can fill in the gaps and cut down on your out-of-pocket expenses. Many of these companies also administer Kansas’s Medicare Advantage program, which is another way for you to get Medicare benefits.
Original Medicare is the basic federal health insurance plan that you become eligible for when you turn 65 or if you have certain disabilities. It’s a fee-for-service plan, meaning that it outlines what it pays and what you pay for specific services, and it can be used at any health care provider that accepts its payment terms. Original Medicare features two parts. Part A covers inpatient hospital stays and nursing home care, while Part B covers the care you get in your doctor’s office, such as preventative care and outpatient services.
Medicare Advantage Plans
For those looking for more comprehensive coverage, Medicare Advantage may be a great option. These plans are administered by private insurance companies. Medicare Advantage Plans have the same coverage as Original Medicare and often feature benefits such as prescription drug coverage or vision or dental insurance. Similar to the health coverage you likely had before turning 65, the plans may have deductibles, in-network providers, maximum out-of-pocket limits, and rules about getting care from specialists.
Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage Plans
Medicare prescription drug coverage plans, or Part D, can be added to your Original Medicare policy to help you control your prescription drug costs. Like Medicare Advantage Plans, these options are offered by private insurance companies. Each plan has its own list of medications that it covers, so if you take medications, it’s a good idea to make sure your prescriptions are covered before you commit. By signing up for Part D when you first become eligible for Medicare, you can avoid late enrollment penalties later on.
Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans
With Original Medicare, you’re responsible for covering a portion of most hospital and medical expenses. If you experience an injury or illness, these out-of-pocket fees can quickly add up and become burdensome. To help you control those costs, many health insurance companies provide Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans, or Medigap. These plans can help pay for some expenses that Medicare doesn’t pay, including copays, coinsurance, and deductibles.
Medicare in Kansas by the Numbers
|People enrolled in Original Medicare||Average plan cost||Annual state spending per beneficiary||Spending per beneficiary compared to the national average|
|430,131||Plan A: $0 to $471 per month*
Plan B: $148.50 per month**
Medicare Resources in Kansas
Kansas is home to several agencies and programs that provide the information and assistance you need to make informed decisions about your health insurance coverage. Through the following agencies, you can access information about your Medicare benefits, get free assistance on comparing Medigap and Medicare Advantage Plans, and learn more about cost-saving programs. These agencies may also advocate on your behalf to resolve issues such as billing problems and denied coverage.
Senior Health Insurance Counseling for Kansas
SHICK is the statewide Senior Health Insurance Program. Through this free program, you can talk to a trained volunteer who can answer questions about Medicare, including eligibility requirements, enrollment periods, and benefits. Counselors can help you review the Medigap and Medicare Advantage Plans available in your region and compare out-of-pocket costs and benefits to find the best plan for your needs and budget. They can also help you find a prescription drug plan that provides coverage for your medications.
Contact Information: Website | 800-860-5260
Kansas Senior Medicare Patrol
SMP is a statewide initiative that helps cut down on Medicare fraud, abuse, and waste. It’s staffed primarily by volunteers who organize community events that provide information on topics such as how to protect yourself from identity theft. Volunteers work one-on-one with you to help you spot billing errors and discrepancies in your billing statements. They also field complaints from Medicare beneficiaries, family members, and health care providers who believe they’ve been a victim of fraud or medical identity theft.
Contact Information: Website | 800-432-3535
Central Plains Area Agency on Aging
The Central Plains Area Agency on Aging is the AAA that serves seniors in Wichita and the surrounding area, which is the most populous region of the state. This agency can connect you with Medicare resources to help you prevent or address fraud and identity theft, understand your rights as a beneficiary, and find out what your policy covers. The agency can also connect you with SHICK counselors who provide one-on-one assistance in person or over the phone.
Contact Information: Website | 855-200-2372
Kansas Insurance Department
The Kansas Insurance Department regulates insurance in the state and provides you with information about Medicare plans provided by private insurance companies. Through this department, you can get information about coverage and the prices of Medigap policies with the free online tool. This tool provides customized information such as estimated premium rates for Medicare Supplement Insurance. The department’s website also links you to cost-saving programs.
Contact Information: Website | 785-296-3071
Kansas Legal Services
Kansas Legal Services provides free civil legal aid to income-qualifying Kansas residents. Its legal professionals work in coordination with the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services and the Area Agencies on Aging to help Medicare beneficiaries obtain the benefits they’re entitled to. Through this nonprofit agency, you can get information and assistance with accessing Medicare Savings Programs. It can also provide representation and guidance if your insurance company cancels your policy or denies a claim.
Contact Information: Website | 800-723-6953
Learn More From Our Sources
- Medicare | What’s Medicare? Last accessed May 2021
- Medicare | How do Medicare Advantage Plans work? Last accessed May 2021
- Medicare | How to get prescription drug coverage Last accessed May 2021
- Medicare | Part D late enrollment penalty Last accessed May 2021
- Medicare | What’s Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap)? Last accessed May 2021