Birthday celebrations are a big deal, especially those milestone birthdays. It’s just as important to celebrate 65 as it is to celebrate 18. Both are significant years that usher in a lot of changes. When you turn 65, it’s time to revisit your health insurance options – you can now enroll in Medicare. But what if you already have Medicaid (called Medical Assistance in Minnesota)? Here’s what you need to know, including next steps and reviewing insurance options.
Next steps for getting Medicaid coverage at age 65
Once you turn 65, you may become eligible for Medicare – it’s time to choose a Medicare plan! Does that mean you have to stop your Medicaid coverage to enroll? Not necessarily. Medicaid covers important services that meet your health needs as you get older. In addition to medical, dental and prescription drug coverage, it also includes long-term care and home- and community-based services. Why lose that if you don’t have to?
The good news is that you may be able to have both if you’re eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. That’s why this period is a critical time to review your options. A dual eligible plan is a great choice for those with limited income who need more coverage.
However, Medicaid eligibility is different from state to state. In Minnesota, your local county will determine if you can enroll based on your situation.
Sign up for Medicare
Since you can have Medical Assistance and Medicare at the same time, it’s a good idea to sign up for Medicare as soon as you’re eligible. If you’re getting Social Security benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will automatically sign you up for Medicare Parts A and B. If you aren’t getting Social Security, you’ll need to apply for Medicare through the SSA.
Need a refresher on Social Security and Medicare? Learn how Medicare and Social Security are different – and how they can work together.
Review Medicare and Medicaid options in your county
Different health plans are available based on where you live. If you already have Medicaid, you’ve most likely been in touch with a county worker who has helped you with your plan. As you approach your 65th birthday, your county worker will automatically enroll you in a new Medicaid plan.
Your options at age 65 as a Minnesota resident include the Medicaid-only plan called Minnesota Senior Care Plus (MSC+) or the Medicare and Medicaid plan called Minnesota Senior Health Options (MSHO).
- Determine if you are dual eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. If you are, MSHO combines the services of both programs and may be a good choice for you. With MSHO, you don’t need to worry about coordinating coverage between both programs and can have it all in one.
- Understand what’s covered in each plan type
- Compare MSHO vs. MSC+ plans to decide which plan is best for you
Work with a long-term care social worker
If you are in a nursing home or assisted living, the facility’s social worker can help you and your family complete the steps to get the right plan. The social worker is a helpful resource between you and the county worker.
Get more info on Medicaid eligibility after age 65
If you think you’re eligible for an MSC+ or MSHO plan, you can get information from:
- Your County Human Services office
- The Minnesota Department of Human Services website or call 800-657-3739
- Your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP); the Senior LinkAge Line® is the SHIP in Minnesota and offers free, independent health plan consulting at 800-333-2433, TTY 711, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday
- The sales team at an insurance company that offers MSHO plans