Understand Medicare in New York
Medicare, the United States federal medical insurance program, provides coverage for more than 2 million people in New York who qualify for Medicare. You can get Medicare if you’re 65 or older or have a qualifying disability.
Your disability typically qualifies if you’ve received at least 24 Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) disability insurance payments. You can also enroll in Medicare Advantage Plans if you have End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Most people have premium-free Part A but, if you have to buy it, the cost can reach up to $499 per month in 2022. Part B costs $170.10 per month but can be more if you have higher income. There are 173 Medicare Advantage Plans in the state that are an alternative to Original Medicare. Learn more about your Medicare options in New York.
Medicare Plans in New York
|Compare ratings of New York’s Medicare plan providers:|
|Insurance company||Medicare rating||A.M. Best rating||BBB rating||NCQA rating||J.D. Power ranking|
|Aetna||4 stars||A||A+||2.5 to 4.5 stars||5 out of 10|
|Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield||4 to 4.5 stars||A+||A+||Not rated||Sixth out of 10|
|Cigna||4 stars||A-||Not rated||2.5 to 4.5 stars||Seventh out of 10|
|Humana||4 stars||A-||A+||1.5 to 4.5 stars||Third out of ten|
|UnitedHealthcare||3.5 stars||A-||A-||4 stars||Fourth out of 10|
Medicare Plan Options in New York
Residents of New York have multiple Medicare plans to choose from. Many are tiered to help New Yorkers find the plan that is best suited to your lifestyle and medical needs. For example, seniors and individuals with disabilities who don’t need much coverage can apply for Original Medicare. New York’s Medicare Advantage program might be a better option if you need more comprehensive insurance. Some Medicare policies offer additional prescription drug add-ons or supplementary coverage.
|Original Medicare (Parts A and B)||Original Medicare is the basic Medicare plan, which is a fee-for-service form of insurance. It has two parts: Part A hospital insurance and Part B medical insurance. Part A covers hospital stays and periods spent at skilled nursing facilities, lab tests an individual has performed, and hospice care. Part B covers doctor’s office visits and home health care services. It may also cover some preventive care, such as screenings for cancers and mental illnesses, including depression. With Original Medicare, you’ll pay a deductible along with your share of the fees incurred during an inpatient or outpatient visit:
|Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C)||Medicare Advantage plans, also known as Part C, are an alternative to Original Medicare offered by private insurance companies. These plans include both Part A and Part B coverage, except for hospice care. Most services are provided by network providers, and you may need primary care physicians, referrals for specialists, and prior authorizations for treatment and medications. Medicare Advantage offers additional coverage for essential needs, such as prescription drugs, dental and vision care. Some Medicare Advantage Plans also cover gym memberships and transportation to and from medical appointments. Part C may also pay for adult day care services:
|Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage Plans (Part D)||Many Medicare Advantage policies add Part D drug coverage automatically to their package, but you can also add Medicare prescription drug coverage to Original Medicare. Medicare prescription drug coverage is offered to all Medicare enrollees, but you may have to pay a penalty if you wait to enroll after being initially eligible. Medicare Part D plans may not all cover the same drugs or have the same costs as Medicare Advantage policies. Standalone Part D coverage is provided by Medicare-approved private insurers. Most plans require a deductible and a copay for each prescription drug:
|Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans (Medigap)||Some New York seniors purchase a Medicare Supplement Insurance policy, also known as Medigap. These plans are intended to fill in the gaps Original Medicare doesn’t cover. Some of these gaps include medical coverage while overseas, Part A and Part B copays, and excess Part B charges. Medigap doesn’t pay for anything related to Medicare Advantage. You cannot have a Medigap plan and a Medicare Advantage Plan at the same time.
Medicare in New York by the Numbers
|People enrolled in Original Medicare||Average plan cost||Annual state spending per beneficiary||Spending per beneficiary compared to the national average|
|2,055,281||Plan A: $0 to $499 per month*
Plan B: $170.10 per month**
*Most people pay no premium, but this can vary depending on how long they paid Medicare taxes.
**This is the average number, but it can vary based on income.
Medicare Resources in New York
Getting support can help when you’re making Medicare decisions. New York has numerous locations where enrollees can receive help through the State Health Insurance Program (SHIP), also known as New YorkCares. New YorkCares has counselors throughout the state that work with local nonprofits and public health agencies, as well as Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs), to provide seniors with Medicare information.
Health Insurance Information, Counseling and Assistance Program (HIICAP)
HIICAP employs more than 500 trained counselors across New York state who can answer your Medicare questions, including about Original Medicare, Medicare Supplement Insurance and Medicare Advantage plans. You can also get help with long-term care insurance questions. Information is free to seniors as well as their families and caregivers.
Contact information: Website | (800) 701-0501
Senior Medical Patrol (SMP)
New York SMP connects state seniors with trained volunteers who can help them identify and report Medicare fraud or abuse. SMP also offers free education and information about Medicare, including how to choose a Medicare plan, to seniors and their families and caregivers.
Contact information: Website | (800) 333-4374
New York Area Agencies on Aging (AAA)
Each local New York Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) provide services to seniors living within the Agency’s county. Each county has a local office where you can receive information about your health care choices and other Medicare resources. AAA offices also offer other senior services, such as transportation to doctor’s appointments, meal assistance and help with your will, estate planning or health care proxy.
Contact information: Website | (518) 474-5731
Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC)
Sponsored by the New York Department of Health, EPIC helps low- and moderate-income seniors pay for Medicare Part D prescription drug plans. Seniors aged 65 and over who qualify for the program can get help with Part D out-of-pocket costs. There is no asset test to qualify, but you must fall within certain income ranges to receive assistance.
Contact information: Website | (800) 332-3742