Wyoming has the 2nd-highest average premium cost of insurance in the country, and many of its residents are grateful for programs like Medicare. Wyoming Medicare insurance offers health coverage to seniors over 65, as well as those workers with certain disabilities. It is a federally funded program, and if you live in Wyoming, various assistance programs make Medicare even more affordable for you.
Medicare beneficiaries start with Original Medicare, which has Part A and Part B. Part A is typically premium-free for beneficiaries, and Part B has an income-based payment scheme for premiums. For those who earn less than $85,000 a year, the premium for Part B is only $134 a month. That’s much lower than Wyoming’s average premium of $662 per month.
Both Part A and Part B come with deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance costs. In return, Part A provides hospital insurance which covers services such as inpatient care. Part B provides medical insurance with covered services such as outpatient care, durable medical supplies, and preventive services.
Original Medicare coverage is insufficient for some beneficiaries, and these beneficiaries can purchase supplemental plans to add more benefits for their Medicare coverage. The most common supplemental plan adds coverage for Medicare prescription drugs, and this is the coverage known as Medicare Part D.
Other plans can also cover many other healthcare services that are not covered by Original Medicare. There are even plans that help cover the out of pocket expenses associated with Medicare Part A and Part B.
These plans can be purchased from Medicare-approved private carriers. A supplemental plan will require a separate premium aside from the premiums required by Original Medicare. These plans are also known as “Medigap” policies.
Instead of obtaining Original Medicare and then purchasing supplemental plans, Medicare beneficiaries can instead buy a comprehensive Medicare Advantage Plan. These are also available from Medicare-approved private health insurance companies.
All Medicare Advantage Pans carry Original Medicare coverage. However, they also offer different sets of extra benefits such as Medicare Part D and coverage for various healthcare services not covered by Part A and Part B. These plans will also have different costs.
A Wyoming has a poverty rate of 11.2%, which means that a significant number of Medicare beneficiaries cannot easily afford even the comparatively lower cost of Medicare coverage. The Wyoming state government has Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs) that provide financial support for these low-income beneficiaries.
The MSP with the greatest assistance package is the program for Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries. This program pays for almost every Medicare expense. It pays for the premiums of Part A and Part B and also pays for deductibles, coinsurance, and copays. An individual can qualify for this QMB program with a monthly income of $1,032. The combined monthly income limit for a married couple is $1,392.
The Specified Low Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB) program pays for just the Part B premiums, but those who qualify for the SLMB program can also continue to receive other Medicaid benefits. To qualify, an individual cannot earn more than $1,234 a month while a married couple should have a combined income of less than $1,666 a month.
The program for Qualified Individuals (QI) also pays for just the Part B premium. It has limited funding so late applications may not be granted, and beneficiaries of this MSO cannot receive Medicaid benefits. To qualify, an individual must earn less than $1,386 a month while married couples have a monthly income ceiling of $1,872.
These 3 MSPs (QMB, SLMB, and QI) also have an asset limit, which does not count the house and car of the beneficiary. The limit is $7,560 for individuals and $11,340 for married couples.
Qualifying for any of these 3 MSPs also qualifies the beneficiary for the Low-Income Subsidy (LIS) program, which helps pay for Medicare Part D.
The last MSP is for Qualified Disabled and Working Individuals, which pay for the Part A premium. An individual can qualify by earning less than $4,132 a month with assets of no more than $4,000. Married couples have a limit of $5,572 for the monthly income and $6,000 for assets.
The Wyoming State Health Insurance Information Program (WSHIIP) offers free and objective counseling for Medicare beneficiaries regarding health insurance matters. To contact WSHIIP, call 800-856-4398.