Understand Medicare in Wisconsin
Medicare, the United States federal medical insurance program, provides coverage for over 1.2 million people in Wisconsin 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 $506 per month in 2023. Part B costs $164.90 per month but can be more if you have higher income. There are 126 Medicare Advantage Plans in the state that are an alternative to Original Medicare. Learn more about your Medicare options in Wisconsin.
Medicare Plans in Wisconsin
|Compare ratings of Wisconsin’s Medicare plan providers:
|A.M. Best rating
|J.D. Power ranking
|6th out of 9
|Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield
|4 to 4.5 stars
|5th out of 9
|8th out of 9
|2nd out of 9
|4th out of 9
Medicare Plan Options in Wisconsin
Residents of Wisconsin have multiple Medicare plans to choose from. Many are tiered to help Wisconsin seniors find the plan that is best suited to their lifestyle and medical needs. For example, seniors and individuals with disabilities who don’t need much coverage can apply for Original Medicare. Wisconsin’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 Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin by the Numbers
|People enrolled in Original Medicare
|Average plan cost
|Annual state spending per beneficiary
|Spending per beneficiary compared to the national average
|Part A: $0 to $506 per month*
Plan B: $164.90 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 Wisconsin
Getting the facts about how Medicare works is important. When they have questions, older adults and their caregivers can consult with a variety of Wisconsin organizations that can help guide them or put them in touch with the appropriate resource. Other good resources include the state’s Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) and local public health agencies, along with nonprofit groups that offer services and programs for seniors.
Wisconsin Department of Health Services
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services offers a listing of Programs and Services for Older Adults. Among those included are Aging and Disability resources, Area Agencies of Aging , and Family Caregiving Support.
Contact information: Website | (608) 266-1865
Wisconsin Aging Advocacy Network
The Wisconsin Aging Advocacy Network is a joint effort between individuals and associations working together to make policy improvements to benefit senior residents.
Contact information: Website | (715) 677-6723