You’ve hit your golden years, so now it’s time to do what you want with your life. Your first step? Take care of your health. Medicare is the right tool to keep you healthy at 65 and beyond.
The Best Medicare in Nebraska:
- Best Overall in Nebraska: Humana
- Most Affordable in Nebraska: Aetna
- Best for AARP Members: UnitedHealthcare
- Best Newcomer: Bright Health
What is Medicare?
Created to give people 65 and older health insurance, Medicare is a national health insurance program funded by the federal government. Medicare also provides health insurance to people with permanent disabilities, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and end-stage renal disease.
You can choose 1 or a combination of the 4 parts of Medicare. Let’s review your options:
Part A: Part A helps you with hospital expenses. You’ve probably heard it referred to as hospital insurance. Inpatient care, overnight hospital stays, skilled nursing facility care, home health care and hospice care are hospital-related expenses.
Part B: This supports your outpatient medical expenses and is also called medical insurance. Part B covers expenses like visits to a nurse or doctor, medical services like X-rays and dialysis, tests and some medical-related equipment.
Part C: A combination of Parts A and B and usually Part D, Part C is an all-in-one plan. It’s often called Medicare Advantage. Benefits in this “part” come through private health plans. Although Medicare Part C usually includes prescription drug coverage, it doesn’t always. You’ll need to make sure that the plan you choose includes prescription coverage. If it doesn’t cover prescriptions, you’ll want to check into Part D.
Part D: Part D covers your prescription medications. Similar to private health plans, you get lower rates on your prescription drugs. However you choose to cover your health expenses, with Medicare Parts A and B or C, you’ll want to review Medicare Part D plans.
Health insurance is a big (but necessary) expense. You’ll want to make sure that you enroll in your ideal health plan if you’re retired or close to it. The U.S. government funds Medicare, but you’re still responsible for premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. Medicare supplemental insurance is a good way to ease the health care cost burden. Also known as Medigap, Medicare supplemental insurance helps you with coverage where traditional Medicare may lack.
Legalities of Medicare in Nebraska
Medicare can be difficult to understand. To help make things simple, Nebraska’s Department of Insurance offers the Nebraska Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP). Funded by federal grants, SHIIP helps educate Nebraskans about Medicare.
SHIIP provides counseling and assistance to seniors when choosing the plan or combination of plans to best fit their needs and budget. Family, friends and caregivers can also take advantage of SHIIP services when helping a Medicare-eligible enrollee. The counselors are independent and act as objective guides for the enrollment process. You can find a local SHIIP office or call 1-800-234-7119 to schedule an appointment.
Types of Medicare Advantage Plans
Medicare-approved private companies offer Medicare Advantage Plans. Medicare pays these companies to cover your Medicare benefits. Medicare Advantage Plans provide Medicare Parts A and B coverage. Usually, Medicare Advantage provides Part D coverage as well.
Medicare Advantage is offered in different plan types. The following are the types of plans available.
Health maintenance organization (HMO): In most HMOs, you can only go to doctors, other health care providers or hospitals predetermined by the plan. You need to stay within the plan’s network. In an emergency, however, you can go anywhere. For tests or to see a specialist, you’ll need a referral from your doctor.
Preferred provider organization (PPO): PPOs are a little more permissive than HMOs. You still get access to a network, but you have the option to go outside of the network. You’ll pay a higher price if you leave the network.
Private fee-for-service (PFFS): Similar to regular Medicare, you can go to any doctor or hospital. You just need to be sure it accepts the PFFS plan’s terms for payment. A PFFS determines how much it will pay and how much you’ll pay for services.
HMO point-of-service (HMO-POS): You can get some services outside of the network with this HMO plan. But if you leave the network, the price you pay increases.
Medical savings account (MSA): This plan combines a high-deductible health plan with a bank account. Medicare deposits money into the account. You use the money in the account to pay for your health care. Importantly, MSA plans don’t provide prescription drug coverage. If you want coverage for prescription drugs, you’ll need to enroll in Medicare Part D.
How to Sign Up for Medicare in Nebraska
You’re eligible for Medicare when you turn 65. But, you need to sign up 3 months from your 65th birthday even if you don’t plan to retire and receive benefits at 65. You can enroll in Medicare Parts A and B. You can skip Part B coverage so you won’t have to pay the premium.
Enroll for Medicare through the Social Security Administration. Medicare.gov and ssa.gov both supply you with helpful information and guides when you’re ready to sign up. Here are the basic steps to enroll for Medicare:
- Go to ssa.gov.
- Choose Part A and Part B or Part C.
- Use the Medicare checklist to help you get the most out of your coverage.
Average Cost of Medicare Advantage Plans in Nebraska
Enter your ZIP code and answer a few questions on Medicare.gov’s plan finder to find available plans. The plan finder lets you compare up to 3 plans at a time. Our table below shows results after entering the ZIP code for Omaha (68134).
|Star Rating (Out of 5 Stars)
|Aetna Medicare Premier Advantra (HMO)
|AARP Medicare Advantage (HMO-POS)
|Bright Advantage Flex (PPO)
|(too new for rating)
|Blue Cross Blue Shield Nebraska MA Choice (HMO-POS)
|Blue Cross Blue Shield Nebraska
|HumanaChoice H5216-085 (PPO)
The annual premium includes the monthly Part B premium of $144.60. The table doesn’t include doctor visit copays, maximum out-of-pocket amounts, etc.
Best Medicare Insurance Providers in Nebraska
When you choose a Medicare Advantage plan, start by assessing your needs and your wallet. After that, take a look at the plans available to you. Here are some of the best in Nebraska.
1. Best Overall in Nebraska: Humana
Humana “meets you where you are” and helps you get to where you want to be. And get to where you want to be, Humana Medicare Advantage HMNO and PPO plans offer a considerable amount of coverage including doctor and specialist visits, preventive care (including vaccines), outpatient services, emergency transportation and medical supplies and equipment.
It also provides an over-the-counter medication allowance, tools and resources to help you manage your meds and rewards for healthy habits. Humana earned accreditation from the National Center for Quality Assurance (NCQA) and has ranked number one in member satisfaction.
2. Most Affordable in Nebraska: Aetna
Aetna, one of the largest Medicare Advantage providers in Nebraska, is highly accessible and provides benefits that work for you. It offers HMO, PPO and HMO-POS plans. Aetna also goes beyond to enhance your lifestyle and add convenience.
You can get your prescriptions delivered to your door, membership in the SilverSneakers health and fitness program and care management help. No-cost over-the-counter medications and meal delivery after a hospital stay tips the scales. Plans on medicare.gov earn 3.5 stars or better for quality and performance. NCQA rates Aetna Medicare plans 3.5 and 4 (out of 5) on its list of top Medicare plans in Nebraska.
3. Best for AARP Members: UnitedHealthcare
If you’re an AARP member, it makes sense to take advantage of all the benefits membership offers.
Exclusive access to UnitedHealthcare (UHC) Medicare Advantage plans is one of those perks. UHC provides one-on-one help when choosing and using a plan. In addition to free vision and dental exams, low or no copays for prescription drugs and doctor visits, many plans include 24-hour nurse line and house calls. Both AARP and UHC promote wellness through RenewActive.
UHC Medicare Advantage plans earn a 3.5 rating from NCQA.
4. Best Newcomer: Bright Health
Bright Health is a relative newcomer on the health insurance provider scene. It provides a fresh perspective to health care with a technology bent. It handles the complex stuff so you can focus on you.
In Nebraska, Bright partners with the Nebraska Health Network to offer HMO and PPO plans. Expect dental, vision and hearing coverage as well as coverage for prescriptions. And because a healthy mind is as important as a healthy body, Bright offers mental wellness services, too.
Together, Bright and Nebraska Health Network strive to bring you quality, easy-to-manage care at that’s value-priced.
5. Best for Wide Coverage: Blue Cross Blue Shield Nebraska
Serving Nebraskans for more than 75 years, Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) Nebraska is dependable and respected. As one of the largest health insurance providers in the state, more than 60,000 Nebraskans are enrolled in an HMO or PPO BCBS Medicare Advantage plan.
But don’t let its size cause you concern. Its size helps, and the availability of services and BCBS provides predictable coverage and costs. Plus, local employees are at the ready to help with enrollment, benefit and claims questions.
Get the Best Medicare in Nebraska
The best Medicare plan for you is out there. Finding it takes 1 part assessment and 1 part research. Let Benzinga guide you toward the possibilities. Once you’ve settled on the right formula for you, sit back and enjoy your golden years.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) Q: What are the different parts of Medicare?
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.
2) Q: Is Medicare free?
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.
3) Q: Do I need to sign up for Medicare?
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.