Everybody knows there’s something special about turning 65. For most of us, it’s when we qualify for Medicare, the federal health insurance program for seniors. But for many Montanans, Medicare is only part of the picture of covering your healthcare costs as you age. Montanans can also buy a supplemental insurance policy to cover expenses that Medicare doesn’t– like deductibles and your share of doctors or hospital bills. Some Montanans choose to buy a Medicare Advantage plan, which rolls the services provided by Medicare Part A and Part B into one plan administered by a private health insurance company.

Add it all up and there’s a lot to consider as you approach 65.


We get a lot of questions from Montanans navigating their way through Medicare. To help Montanans understand all their retirement insurance options — and how to plan for them — we wrote “The Road to Medicare: Planning Your Drive to 65.” We also compiled our Top Eight Questions below:

Most people will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A; if you are not working, you should enroll in Part B three months before your 65th birthday, the month of your birthday or up to three months after your birthday.
Check with your benefits administrator at work to determine if your employer health plan requires you to enroll in Part B; you may be able to delay enrolling in Part B without penalty until you retire.
You can, but the new plan or company may not write a policy for you if you have any serious health conditions. As a result, you may have a waiting period for pre-existing conditions.
Open enrollment lasts for 6 months beginning on the first day of the month in which the individual is 65 years of age and enrolled in Medicare Part B.
Some individuals may qualify for coverage with a Medicare Advantage Plan. The companies that offer Medicare supplement policies to people over age 65 also offer coverage to those under age 65 in certain instances. For a list of companies that offer this type of insurance, see our Medicare Supplement Rate Guide.
The State of Montana operates a free help program to assist Medicare beneficiaries and their families understand and enroll in Medicare programs. Called the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (or SHIP), this state-wide program offers trained, in-person assistance throughout the state. Call 1-800-551-3191 for more information or check out the SHIP website.
You have the right to buy Medigap Plan A, B, C, F, K, or L that’s sold by any insurance company in your state.

You can/must apply for a Medigap policy no later than 63 calendar days from the date your coverage ends. Plan G is not a guarantee issue for special enrollment periods.

Medicare Supplement Insurance

Medicare is divided up into parts. Each part covers different services and carries different out-of-pocket costs for you. You can buy insurance that fills in the gaps. Confused yet? Don’t worry. We write a shopper’s guide every year with up-to-date figures about changes in Medicare and what you can expect to pay for out-of-pocket care. We also regulate all Medicare Supplement insurance sold in Montana and publish a yearly price comparison booklet where all plans sold in Montana are compared side-by-side. You can find all of these resources below.

Montana also offers trained, in-person assistance at locations throughout the state to answer questions you can’t answer on your own.

The Benefit Chart of Medicare Supplement Plans is available here from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, beginning on page 52.

Insurance Problems?
Call us at 1-800-332-6148

Reading Up on Medicare?
Grab our shopper’s guide and price comparison booklet.

Medicare Supp Price Comparison (pdf)

This guide gives you a general idea of rates available in Montana. The annual premium rates listed in this rate guide reflect data from surveys completed by the insurers in the Spring of 2018. Only those insurers who respond to the survey are included in this guide. Rate change requests submitted after the publication date are not reflected in this guide. Rate changes occur throughout the year and are applied to your policy generally at your renewal date. For the most specific and accurate information, please contact the individual insurance companies.

Rates by Age for ages under 65-69 are available here.
Rates by Age for ages 70-79 are available here.
Rates by Age for ages 80-89 are available here.
Rates by Age for ages 90-99 are available here.

Our Shopper’s Guide (pdf)

The Consumer’s Guide to Medicare Supplement Insurance is a joint effort of the Office of the Montana State Auditor, Commissioner of Securities and Insurance (CSI) and the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) to assist seniors in understanding Medicare and Medicare Supplement insurance.

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