Best Cheap Medicare in Louisiana

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Contributor, Benzinga
Updated: February 11, 2020

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As you near retirement age, you likely find yourself faced with many decisions about your future. From financial planning to determining your new schedule, you’ll have a lot of tough choices to make. 

Knowing your healthcare options is another important decision you should tackle as early as possible. Medicare is a popular option for those over 65, so you’ll want to learn as much as you can about this government healthcare program before deciding if it’s right for you.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the basics of Medicare in Louisiana and offer reviews of the top 5 Medicare companies in the state, so you can make a well-informed choice.

Best Medicare in Louisiana:

What is Medicare?

Medicare is a national health insurance program funded through the federal government for seniors 65 and older. You may also be eligible for Medicare at an earlier age if you suffer from a serious disease or have a permanent disability.

While Medicare is similar to the health insurance you may have through your employer, there are some key differences. The first difference is that Medicare is split into 4 parts. You can enroll in 1 or a combination of these parts.

Part A: Often called “hospital insurance,” Part A ensures you’re covered if you’re admitted to a hospital for inpatient or outpatient services. This part of Medicare covers overnight stays, emergency care, surgery, home healthcare, hospice and nursing facility services. If you visit the hospital frequently, have a disease that needs to be monitored often or simply want peace of mind just in case, you’ll want to look into enrolling in Part A.

Part B: The next part of Medicare, Part B, covers standard outpatient services like doctor’s visits, checkups and some diagnostic and routine testing. Preventive care visits are also covered under Part B.

Part C: If you’ve been wondering why Part A and B are separate, then Part C may be the answer. Part C of Medicare combines many of the offerings from Part A and B into 1 package referred to as Medicare Advantage. Not all states offer Medicare Advantage, but luckily, Louisiana does. Some Medicare Advantage plans offer prescription coverage as well (Medicare Part D), but not all do.

Part D: The final part of Medicare is Part D, also known as “prescription coverage.” This coverage offers reduced rates on prescription drugs to help you mitigate costs. There are many Medicare Part D plans out there, so you should explore each before making a choice.

While many seniors opt for some form of Medicare on its own, you may want additional protection if you’re at risk of developing an expensive disease or if you simply want peace of mind. Medicare offers many protections, but it doesn’t cover every expense that might arise. To ensure you’re always covered financially, you might want to explore supplemental Medicare insurance, also known as Medicare Gap insurance, which can provide additional healthcare protection.

Legalities of Medicare in Louisiana

Although Medicare is funded by the federal government, its policies are offered through different insurance providers across Louisiana. It can be confusing to navigate from provider to provider or to know exactly what’s needed before applying. Luckily, Louisiana has an assistance program, SHIIP (Senior Health Insurance Information Program) ready to help. SHIIP is run by volunteers who can offer counseling on Medicare options and help choose the parts of Medicare that are most relevant to your health.

Types of Medicare Plans

Just like the health insurance plans you’re used to, there are many different Medicare plans to choose from. Your location in Louisiana could impact the type of Medicare available, but you should understand the different types, in case you’re able to choose.

HMO: Health maintenance organization (HMO) Medicare plans come in 2 forms: HMO and HMO POS. The traditional HMO Medicare plan allows you to obtain medical care from a selected network of doctors and physicians. Exceptions can often be made for emergency or urgent care visits, as well as for dialysis services. Typically, you can choose to see a doctor outside of your network, but your out-of-pocket costs will be higher. HMO Medicare plans also require you to obtain a referral from your primary physician for specialty care or services.

HMO POS plans offer a little more flexibility for out-of-network care. While these plans allow you a bit more freedom to choose your own healthcare provider, you will still pay higher fees for out-of-network doctors. You’ll also need to meet two deductibles (both HMO and POS deductibles) before Medicare will begin covering your expenses.

PPO: Preferred provider organization (PPO) Medicare plans are policies offered by private insurance companies. Similar to HMOs, PPOs also have in-network doctors that you’ll be able to visit for discounted fees. If you go outside the network, you can expect to pay more.

PFFS: Private-fee-for-service (PFFS) Medicare plans are the most flexible option if you want full control of selecting your healthcare provider. These plans let you visit any physician or medical care center, as long as they accept your Medicare plan. There are some PFFS that do also provide in-network options at a discounted price.

SNP: Special needs plans (SNPs) are Medicare plans for those with disabilities. SNP Medicare plans are customized to fit an individual’s specific disability to ensure they receive the services they need most.

How to Sign Up for Medicare in Louisiana

Unless you meet certain healthcare requirements, Medicare’s open enrollment policy normally allows you to sign up 3 months before your 65th birthday through 3 months after. 

Once you’re ready to enroll, you can register in 3 ways:

  • Visit the Social Security website.
  • Call the Social Security office at 800-772-1213. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST.
  • Go to your local Social Security branch. You can find Social Security office locations in Louisiana by entering your ZIP code here.

From here, you’ll choose the Medicare Parts you want to enroll in (A, B, C, D or a combination). If you have additional questions on the signup process, you can also take a look at this online Medicare checklist.

Average Cost of Medicare Advantage Plans in Louisiana

The cost of your Medicare Advantage plan will vary based on your Part, provider and location. You can find average costs for your state online at Medicare.gov. You’ll need to enter your ZIP code and answer a few questions to get started. 

To help you better idea the average costs of Medicare, we’ll look at a few options for Medicare Advantage in Louisiana from Medicare.gov, using ZIP code 70801 (Baton Rouge).

Plan NameCompany Plan TypeHealth & Drug Costs
Humana-Ochsner Network)HumanaMedicare Advantage (with prescription coverage)$0 per month*
Peoples Health Choices 65 #14 (HMO)
People’s HealthMedicare Advantage (with prescription coverage)$0 per month*
Aetna Medicare Freedom Plan (PPO)AetnaMedicare Advantage (with prescription coverage)$0 per month*
Vantage BASIC (HMO-POS)Vantage HealthMedicare Advantage (with prescription coverage)$0 per month*
Blue Advantage (HMO)Blue Cross Blue ShieldMedicare Advantage (with prescription coverage)$0 per month*

*This cost does not include the required Part B monthly premium of $144.60. You can learn more about this cost at medicare.gov.

Best Medicare Advantage Providers in Louisiana

Now that you understand the different types and parts of Medicare, you can start shopping for a provider who offers the services that are most important to you. Since Medicare Advantage combines 2-3 parts of Medicare, we’ve compiled the most popular Medicare Advantage carriers below broken into helpful categories.

Humana Medicare Advantage
Best For
  • Medicare Advantage Plans

1. Best Overall in Louisiana: Humana

Humana has a large number of Medicare plans available in Louisiana for low prices. Not only does Humana offer a good selection of Medicare Advantage products, it also has copays and drug deductibles starting at $0, saving you hundreds.

Humana also offers Medicare Advantage plans that cover transportation costs and fitness benefits. It also provides low deductible plans, starting as low as $3,700 (in-network).

Peoples Health | Medicare
securely through Peoples Health | Medicare's website

2. Most Affordable in Louisiana: People’s Health

People’s Health may be a smaller healthcare company, but its Medicare services are top-notch in Louisiana. People’s Health has comprehensive Medicare Advantage plans that offer discounts on the standard Part B monthly premium, saving you more than most healthcare providers.

People’s Health Medicare Advantage coverage offers $0 copays for primary care, reduced copays for specialty care and no copays on generic drugs. On the downside, this provider often has higher deductibles, starting at $6,700 (in-network) and does not typically pay for health transportation expenses.

Aetna Health Insurance
Best For
  • Member support

3. Best for Flexibility: Aetna

Aetna is a major name in the healthcare industry, offering a large selection of Medicare Advantage options in Louisiana. It offers several policies that allow you to choose a doctor in or out of network, with different deductibles for both (typically $6,400 in-network and $10,000 out-of-network).

It also has generous copay policies for in and out-of-network care, starting at $0 per month. It does, however, have a yearly health plan deductible of $150 and does not offer discounts on the standard Part B premium.

Vantage Health Plan
securely through Vantage Health Plan's website

4. Best for Basic Coverage: Vantage Health 

If you’re looking for no-frills coverage that offers everything a basic Medicare Advantage Plan should have, Vantage Health may be your best option.

Vantage Health has a few basic Medicare Advantage Plans that provide in and out-of-network coverage, reasonable copays and a prescription drug plan. It also has no yearly health plan deductible, unless you are seeing out-of-network physicians.

Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Advantage
Best For
  • Wide network of doctors, hospitals and specialists across the U.S.
securely through Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Advantage's website

5. Best for Low Copays and Deductibles: Blue Cross Blue Shield

If you visit the doctor’s office frequently, require prescriptions often or have a specialist you see throughout the year, copays may be your main concern.

Blue Cross Blue Shield offers many Medicare Advantage options, all with low copay options. Many copays start at $0 and remain consistently low across each plan. Deductibles also start at just $4,900 for in-network coverage.

Retire With Peace of Mind in Louisiana

Planning for your future can be an exciting time in your life. Make sure you have all the healthcare information you need to make an informed decision about Medicare. Research different parts, look into different providers and decide which benefits are most important to you before rushing into a decision.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q
1) Q: What are the different parts of Medicare?
A

Medicare has 4 parts named Parts A, B, C, and D. Part A provides hospitalization coverage while Part B provides outpatient coverage, like doctor visits. Parts A and B make up Medicare’s core coverages. Part C is provides private-market Medicare plans, called Medicare Advantage Plans. Part C coverage often includes additional benefits. Medicare Part D provides coverage for prescription drugs. Get a Medicare Insurance Quote through the top providers here.

Q
2) Q: Is Medicare free?
A

Because there are 4 parts to Medicare, there can be different cost structures. Most people won’t have to pay for Medicare Part A (hospitalization). Eligibility for premium-free Part A is based on your work history during which you paid Medicare taxes. Many people do pay a monthly premium for Medicare Part B, however, which covers outpatient medical services, like doctor visits. Deductibles also apply to services covered under Medicare Parts A and B, so you’ll pay a part of the annual cost.

Medicare Parts C and D are optional coverages and have premium costs of their own. Medicare Part C refers to Medicare Advantage Plans that offer additional coverage in exchange for a monthly premium. Part D, the prescription plan, reduces the cost of medications but also requires a monthly premium. Subsidies may be available for low income households to help reduce overall Medicare costs.

Q
3) Q: Do I need to sign up for Medicare?
A

If you signed up for Social Security before age 65, you were enrolled in Medicare automatically but benefits will begin at age 65. In most cases, there are penalties for not enrolling at age 65, so it pays to sign up on time. Click here to get a medicare quote in minutes from the best providers. 

If you have employer coverage, you may be able to delay Medicare coverage while your work plan is still in force. However, the size of the employer determines whether you’ll pay a penalty for not enrolling at age 65. Employees (and their spouses) of companies that offer group health insurance to 20 or more people are usually exempt from late sign-up penalties if they are covered by the employer’s plan.