Medicare is a federal health care program providing coverage to people aged 65 and over, as well as younger individuals who are living with certain disabilities. The program includes several components covering different aspects of medical care. Original Medicare comprises Medicare Parts A and B. Part A focuses on hospital stays, nursing homes, hospice care and some aspects of home health care. Part B covers medical supplies, outpatient services and preventative care. In addition to this, seniors can optionally add Part D coverage, which is a program that helps with the cost of prescription drugs.
Medicare Advantage Plans are offered by private insurance providers in each state and offer the same coverage as Original Medicare Parts A and B. This program is also known as Medicare Part C. Insurance providers have to meet certain minimum standards of coverage with their Medicare Advantage Plans but can also provide additional services, such as vision and dental care, hearing aids or prescription drug coverage. Medicare Supplemental Plans, or Medigap, are offered by private companies to Original Medicare users to help reduce the out-of-pocket expenses faced by customers.
In 2003, Medicare Part C was introduced, and it has seen increasing participation in Utah every year since its launch. As of the 2022-23 period, Utah experienced a 7.67% growth in Medicare Part C enrollees, slightly outpacing the national growth rate of 6.9% for Medicare Advantage. As for the broader picture of Medicare in Utah, out of the state’s 3.4 million residents, just over 449,000 are enrolled in some form of Medicare as of 2023. Within this group, the majority have opted for the Original Medicare program. The total Medicare expenditure in Utah for the year 2023 approached $2.4 billion, averaging $5,345 per enrollee.
This guide covers the different Medicare programs available to Utah residents. It offers information about how seniors can customize their Medicare coverage and provides a list of useful resources to help seniors make informed health insurance decisions. This guide is meant to help seniors and families looking for high-quality health care and provide helpful information about Medicare, Medicare Advantage and pricing.
Original Medicare provides a good level of basic coverage and is suitable for many older adults. However, some seniors may prefer a more tailored policy. Utah residents have several options when it comes to customizing their Medicare coverage. In addition to the coverage options provided by the federal government, Medicare beneficiaries can purchase tailored policies from private insurance companies.
Original Medicare is open to seniors aged 65 and over, along with those under 65 years old but with certain disabilities or end-stage kidney disease. It includes two parts. Part A covers inpatient hospital care, nursing home and skilled nursing care, hospice and home health care. Part B pays for medically necessary services and supplies such as durable medical equipment, mental health services and transportation.
Medicare participants must pay an annual deductible of $1,660 for Part A and $244 for Part B in 2023. After this, Medicare covers eligible services at 80%. Beneficiaries pay the remaining 20% out of pocket.
Who Should Consider Original Medicare
Original Medicare may be a good option for those who:
Medicare Advantage combines coverage from Parts A and B into a single plan with one monthly premium. The amount paid, and coverage limits and policy details, vary between insurers. Medicare Advantage Plans in Utah are available as HMOs, PPOs, PFFS plans and special needs plans (SNPs) for chronically ill enrollees with special coverage needs. Unlike Original Medicare participants, Medicare Advantage enrollees do not qualify for Medigap supplemental policies, but they may rely on Medicaid for supplemental coverage if they meet the program’s limits on income and assets.
Who Should Consider Medicare Advantage
Medicare Advantage may suit seniors who:
The Top 10 Medicare Advantage Plans in Utah
Many insurance companies in Utah have Medicare Advantage plans. The following table lists 10 of the most popular providers in the state, ranked by enrollment and updated in August 2023. Most providers have more than one plan option, so the costs listed here are a range, and the enrollment figures for each provider take into account all of the plans it offers. See more information about Medicare Part C plans on the Medicare Advantage Plans in Utah page.
|Medicare Star Rating
|Monthly Cost Range
|$0 – $37
|Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
|$0 – $48
|$0 – $38
|Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah
|$0 – $149
|$0 – $63
|Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield
Original Medicare doesn’t pay for most prescription drugs through Part A or B coverage. Instead, seniors purchase separate prescription drug policies, also called Part D coverage. Medicare contracts with private health insurance companies to provide this coverage. There are multiple plans to choose from with varying monthly premiums, which beneficiaries pay in addition to their Original Medicare premiums. While seniors don’t have to purchase prescription drug coverage when they’re first eligible for Medicare, not obtaining this coverage at this time may result in late enrollment penalties they pay for as long as they have Medicare if they enroll later.
Each prescription drug plan has its own formulary, or list of covered drugs. Formularies are typically split up into tiers. The tier a medication is in determines how much the insurance company pays and how much the beneficiary pays for it. Lower-level tiers are usually made up of generic and low-cost brand name drugs, while higher tiers are composed of more expensive brand name and specialty drugs. In most cases, the lower the tier, the lower the policyholder’s cost-sharing responsibility.
Who Should Consider Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage
Seniors who may benefit from prescription drug coverage include those who:
While Original Medicare provides coverage for many medical costs, seniors may still have significant out-of-pocket expenses. These may include copays, coinsurance and deductibles. Seniors may be able to reduce their cost-sharing obligations by purchasing a Medigap plan. These plans can only be used with Original Medicare. It’s illegal for private insurance companies to sell Medigap plans to those with Medicare Advantage plans.
For more information on Medigap plans, seniors can refer to the Best Medicare Supplement Companies of 2023 page.
Who Should Consider Medicare Supplement Insurance
Good candidates for Medigap may be those who:
Understanding eligibility, enrollment periods and coverage options for Medicare in Utah can be a challenge for some seniors. The following organizations offer help and support for seniors and their loved ones as they try to select the best Medicare plans for their needs. They help beneficiaries understand the plan options, enroll in prescription drug coverage or select Medicare or Medigap coverage that suits their circumstances.
The Council on Aging oversees a variety of services for older adults in Utah, including the state’s Area Agencies on Aging. Each Agency covers one or more counties, providing supportive services to seniors, including advice about benefits, health insurance options counseling and support to enroll in Medicare and its associated programs. Low-income seniors can also request assistance with Medicaid and home and community-based services waivers.
The Senior Health Insurance Program, or SHIP, is a free national program that helps seniors understand their health insurance options. Trained volunteers offer advice to seniors and those approaching Medicare enrollment age. These advisors are not on commission and provide vendor-neutral advice, so seniors can feel confident they’re choosing an insurance provider that will meet their individual needs.
The Social Security Administration is a national agency that oversees benefits in the United States. It offers a wealth of information about Medicare benefits and Medicaid, as well as other support that seniors may qualify for depending on their age and income. There are several SSA offices in Utah that seniors can visit in person.
The Senior Medicare Patrol is a free service run by the Division of Aging and Adult Services. Volunteer patrol members meet with seniors and their loved ones to help them understand the Medicare system, reduce Medicare fraud, identify health care service errors and prevent abuse. The Patrol helps ensure all seniors in the community get access to the health care they’re entitled to.
The Division of Aging and Adult Services is a state service that works to link the national Administration on Aging and the state’s Area Agencies on Aging. It runs a range of programs to support seniors, including the Medicare Fraud program, SHIP and legal services to assist with benefits appeals and other issues. The DAAS also oversees the Long-Term Care Ombudsman.