There are plenty of gaps that Medicare Parts A and B don’t cover; that fact is no longer a secret to anyone. But how do you cover those gaps without breaking the bank? Fortunately, there exist supplemental insurance policies for the purpose of covering those. Medicare Advantage and Medigap policies are two such ones. As a Georgia senior, there are undoubtedly plenty of questions you might have about insurance. The purpose of this article is to help answer some of them so that you can make smart decisions about your healthcare coverage.

Senior Medicare in Augusta: Facts and Figures

  • There are 25,800 senior citizens living in Augusta right now
  • There 8 hospitals in the Augusta area where seniors can get emergency and/or in-patient care
  • 34% of Georgia seniors have a Medicare Advantage plan
  • 20% of seniors have a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan
  • Which leaves 46% of seniors potentially uninsured or underinsured against costly Medicare coverage gaps!

It is an unfortunate fact that seniors become more at risk of being afflicted with particular types of disease as they reach a certain age. These are often the lingering and persistent sort, requiring immediate care from the time of diagnosis to end of life. They often worsen over time, making medical costs climb as years pass. There is far too much evidence to prove that seniors are very likely to suffer more than just one of these illnesses at a time as well. This can mean medical costs doubling and tripling in a moment. The following are the more prevalent chronic diseases in Augusta.

Disease Prevalence (in Augusta)
Arthritis 28%
High Blood Pressure 41%
Coronary Heart Disease 7%
Diabetes 14%
Kidney Disease 4%

Healthcare Costs in Augusta, GA

As sad as it is to say, when chronic disease becomes a reality, money is a critical factor. Prescriptions, blood testing equipment, hospital visits, doctor’s office sessions; they all add up. As the years pass, they keep adding up into an insurmountable mountain of debt. Seniors are living longer than ever, which is phenomenal. But quality of life at that age diminishes when carrying the weight of seemingly endless medical debt. It is more important now to see that you have enough protection for the next phase of life. Cost effective, comprehensive, useful healthcare is the most important preparation for the future.

Disease Prevalence (in Augusta) Annual Cost of Treatment
Arthritis 28% $280
High Blood Pressure 41% $288
Coronary Heart Disease 7% $7,338
Diabetes 14% $2,158
Kidney Disease 4% $6,264

Medicare Advantage Savings in Augusta, GA

Medicare Advantage is approved by the federal government as a form of private health insurance. It is available to seniors who are eligible for Medicare, even if they are not enrolled in a Medicare plan currently. Rather than the government paying directly for your medical bills, they send their payment towards your premium, and you owe the difference. In some cases, this can be as low as zero. Legally, these plans have to cover at least Parts A and B of Medicare, but several Medicare Advantage plans offer additional coverages for an additional premium.

Surveyed seniors have said they feel the coverage under the Medicare Advantage plans is superior to what they had under Traditional Medicare, particularly for chronic diseases. These diseases often require on-going care, sometimes in the form of treatment or to stave off symptoms and improve overall quality of life. These conditions worsen while costs continue to rise, leaving many patients worse than ever. Medicare Advantage can be more comprehensive than coverage offered by Medicare, even with Part D.

Medicare Advantage plans can cover as much as Medicare Parts A and B, and sometimes even more. They include doctor visits and testing equipment, as well as offer prescription options. A majority of the plans on offer have an option to include a variety of expenses – even things like dental and vision. Because the government pays a part of the Medicare Advantage costs, many elders can enjoy a monthly premium potentially as low as $0. Coinsurance and copays are patient responsibilities along with the usual out-of-pocket costs, but thanks to these plans, they will be incredibly reduced.

Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Savings in Augusta, GA

Another type of policy available is called Medigap, which is a different Medicare supplement. Medigap plans work differently than a Medicare Advantage policy, but can still save plenty of money, especially when covering gaps in Part A. The worst chronic conditions, like heart or kidney disease, can cost tens of thousands just to stay in the hospital and be treated while there. These hospital stays can be unexpectedly long, and after a number of days, Medicare stops covering the stay completely. You have to have backup coverage or face paying exorbitant costs to keep receiving care.

A, D, K, and L are Medigap Plans designed to cover the gaps in Medicare Part A. Other Medigap plans have Part A coverage included too, but include extras that are explained below. If Medicare Part B costs are not something you think you’ll need, you don’t need to worry about purchasing them. This can save you a lot in premium costs. If the hospital stays from Part A are your main concern, then Plans A, D, K, and L may be the ones to consider first.

The plans previously referred to that weren’t discussed in depth are Medigap Plans B, C, F, G, M, and N. These plans are the ones which cover Medicare Part A and B gaps. More comprehensive coverage naturally leads to higher premiums every month as well, but less out-of-pocket costs when the time comes to use the policy. Plan F is being retired after the year 2020.

Medicare Part B covers most medical aspects that Part A cannot, or at least it is intended to. This normally includes outpatient procedures, office visits, and testing equipment like blood sugar meters. Coinsurance and copays will remain the responsibilities of the patient. These costs can be hard to pay as well, but thankfully there are plenty of choices to help reduce them.

Medicare Supplements like Medigap do not provide coverage for prescriptions, dental, or vision care. Traditional Medicare does offer Part D, which is specifically for the above items. With a quick online search using a few keywords, you can easily find alternate dental or vision in your area for a competitive price. So don’t be dismayed just because you can’t add these coverages directly to your Medigap plan – they are still available, albeit in a roundabout way.

The elderly living in Augusta, GA must know that supplemental Medicare coverage is no longer just optional; it’s vital. It protects your savings and your most important assets. Medical costs just keep rising for all, but especially for seniors. That is far beyond anyone’s control right now. But, what you can do is take action and prepare. Find a Medicare supplement policy that is right for your medical needs fits your monthly budget. We can help you find that policy now.

Medigap Plan Minimum Monthly Premium Maximum Monthly Premium Average Estimated Monthly Premium (Part B Premium Included)
Plan A $76 $254 $301
Plan B $121 $289 $341
Plan C $149 $328 $374
Plan D $126 $255 $326
Plan F $149 $299 $360
Plan G $119 $270 $330
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.