There is nothing surprising or new about the expensive gaps in Medicare health coverage. What can we do about it, though? Every single year, these medical cage fights get more and more expensive, and the end cost can be human life. The result can be dire, literally or financially. And in Arkansas, seniors face challenges that others don’t have.

Senior Medicare in Little Rock: Facts and Figures

  • There are 27,109 senior citizens living in Little Rock right now
  • There are 9 hospitals in the Little Rock area where seniors can get emergency and/or in-patient care
  • 21% of Arkansas seniors have a Medicare Advantage plan
  • 29% of seniors have a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan
  • Which leaves 50% of seniors potentially uninsured or underinsured against costly Medicare coverage gaps!

The risks for certain diseases raises with age. Most of these sorts of diseases will last for the rest of your life, and require constant, daily care. Symptoms can be controlled, and maybe some may even improve; the more likely option is that these diseases will compound and continue to worsen over time. Not only is your health at stake, but your financial safety as well. Medical costs rise every year, and evidence shows they will continue to increase. To make matters worse, chances are good that you will experience one or more of these diseases at the same time, which can double or triple your medical bills in an instant.

Disease Prevalence (in Little Rock)
Arthritis 26%
High Blood Pressure 38%
Coronary Heart Disease 6%
Diabetes 12%
Kidney Disease 3%

Healthcare Costs in Little Rock, AR

It is absolutely vital to understand how costly these diseases are to mitigate. Prescription drugs, testing equipment, out-patient care, doctor appointments; it adds up frighteningly fast. Compound that with the fact that medical costs are on the rise each year. A doctor’s appointment next week costs more than the same doctor’s appointment last year. Thanks to miraculous advances in medicine, seniors are living longer lives than ever before. But they’re also racking up more and more debt, and a great deal of it is medical. This is precisely why it is so important to ensure your coverage is right for you going into your elder years.

Disease Prevalence (in Little Rock) Annual Cost of Treatment
Arthritis 26% $291
High Blood Pressure 38% $354
Coronary Heart Disease 6% $8,906
Diabetes 12% $2,163
Kidney Disease 3% $7,699

Medicare Advantage Savings in Little Rock, AR

Some private insurance plans are approved by the government but not government provided. These are designed for seniors who are enrolled in Medicare, and are often referred to as Medicare Part C or Medicare Advantage. And your premium costs aren’t paid entirely out of pocket, either. The government gives their portion of your annual/monthly premium thanks to subsidies from the Medicare fund, and you only have to pay the remaining amount. In some cases, Medicare Advantage plans can be available at $0 a month. These plans are required to offer at minimum the same as Medicare Parts A and B. However, most offering these plans have dental and vision coverages available for additional premium amounts as well.

Medicare Advantage plans can offer coverage better suited to the needs of seniors with chronic illnesses, according to the statements of seniors interviewed. Every ailment, but especially those that are constant and prolonged until the end of life, requires management in order to ensure quality of life. This includes prescriptions, testing devices, unusually frequent doctor trips, and more. As these conditions progress, costs continue to rise. Fortunately for seniors, there are Medicare Advantage plans which can cover more than Medicare, even when Medicare includes extras like Part D. To be prepared for your future, you have to get ready today with Medicare Advantage.

Medicare Advantage plans can cover more than Medicare Parts A and B combined, with extras. Several plans allow the choice to add vision or dental coverage for minimal premium costs. Thanks to the government assisting with some or potentially all of the premium, seniors can get a much more comprehensive Medicare Advantage plan at (or close to) $0 a month out-of-pocket. There will still always be certain things that insurance doesn’t cover, such as copays or coinsurance, which must be the responsibility of the insured.

Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Savings in Little Rock, AR

Medigap is yet another type of Medicare gap insurance policy. Medigap works similarly to Medicare Advantage plans in that it tries to account for holes in Medicare. Common conditions (kidney or heart disease, for example) can create bills upwards of five figures. That’s just for the stay in the hospital and treatments administered in-patient. If you had to take an ambulance, that’s extra. Oh, and at a certain cutoff, Medicare plans stop paying. After a few days, it all becomes an out of pocket cost to you, and has to come out of your own funds. Medicare Supplement plans can stop that from getting out of control.

There are four different Medigap plans tailored for those sorts of coverages related to Medicare Part A hospital costs. These plans are called A, D, K, and L. Additional plans cover gaps gaps in Part B as well, but we will discuss those below. It is important to know that if you don’t need gap coverage for Medicare Part B, buying a plan that only covers gaps in Part A will have a lower premium and save you even more.

The other Medigap plans (B, C, F, G, M, and N) are designed to cover the various gaps in both Part A as well as Part B. The more comprehensive the coverage you choose, the higher the cost is likely to be. However, this means that you will have less out-of-pocket costs to pay, so it could save you money in the long run. It depends on your specific insurance needs and illnesses. Note that Plan F is retiring in 2020, and will not be offered for new Medicare enrollees after that.

What gaps are in Medicare Part B? Part A is hospital stays and inpatient care, so all that is left for B is just everything else. Outpatient procedures, specialist visits, therapeutic gear, medical tools, or other necessities. These are all allegedly covered under Medicare Part B, but there are always exceptions like copays and coinsurance which they often fall into. That is why there are Medigap plans designed to handle those sorts of costs.

Medicare Advantage has choices for most popular prescriptions, dental needs, and vision care, for an optional premium. Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) does not. Medicare offers Part D, which can be purchased with or without any other Medicare parts. A quick internet search for Little Rock and the words “dental”, “vision”, or “insurance” should yield several alternatives too, many of which can be quite cost-saving.

For Little Rock elders, it is more important than ever that you have the right amount of health coverage, and at a price you can manage. It protects your savings, your family, and you from any unnecessary burden. Health costs rising is beyond any one person’s control. But, we can control how we get ready for the future. A policy to protect you from Medicare coverage gaps is the best way to do exactly that, and we will gladly help you find your best policy for your needs.

Medigap Plan Minimum Monthly Premium Maximum Monthly Premium Average Estimated Monthly Premium (Part B Premium Included)
Plan A $89 $250 $305
Plan B $113 $302 $343
Plan C $115 $316 $351
Plan D $119 $246 $318
Plan F $132 $347 $375
Plan F (high deductible) $32 $171 $237
Plan G $112 $309 $346
Plan K $49 $139 $230
Plan L $108 $197 $288
Plan M $107 $195 $287
Plan N $72 $243 $293
by Lindsay Malzone, Lindsay Malzone is the Medicare expert for She's been contributing to many well-known publications as an industry expert since 2017. Her passion is educating Medicare beneficiaries on all their supplemental Medicare options so they can make an informed decision on their healthcare coverage.