Healthcare costs are on the rise all over the country. Unfortunately, Lansing hasn’t been spared the results of rising prices. Thousands of seniors in the Lansing area have been caught in a phenomenon known as the Medicare coverage gaps. Medicare coverage gaps are the little-known medical benefits which Medicare refuses to provide, such as extended hospital stays or coverage for Part B excess charges. If you run into these, you can end up paying thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses in order to continue to receive access to healthcare. However, if you take the proper steps, you can secure your financial and personal independence against those coverage gaps. Two possible ways of doing so are to enroll in a Medicare Advantage coverage plan or to enroll in a Medicare Supplement coverage plan.
Facts and Figures
- There are 13,145 seniors living in Lansing right now.
- There are 9 hospitals in the Lansing area where seniors can get emergency and/or in-patient care.
- 34% of Michigan seniors have a Medicare Advantage plan.
- 22% of Michigan seniors have a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan.
- Which leaves 44% of seniors potentially uninsured or underinsured against costly Medicare coverage gaps!
More than two out of every five seniors in Lansing struggle to find reliable access to affordable healthcare. That means that there are just about 5,783 seniors who cannot reliably obtain treatment in the Lansing area without spending thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses. If you’re one of those thousands of seniors, then you need to be particularly well aware of age-related illnesses. Age-related illnesses are any illness or disease that becomes more prevalent in a population as the population ages. For example, as you grow older, your risk of developing arthritis increases significantly. On top of that, aging can cause your existing symptoms to worsen in both frequency and severity. Together, these two phenomena make for a snowballing effect of ever-increasing need for treatment.
|Disease||Prevalence in Lansing, MI|
|High Blood Pressure||31%|
|Coronary Heart Disease||6%|
Healthcare Costs in Lansing, MI
As your need for treatment increases, so too will the healthcare costs associated with paying for those treatments. With worsening symptoms comes worsening healthcare bills. If you happen to be lucky enough for your existing symptoms to stay exactly the same from one year to the next, you will most likely still find yourself paying more for the same level of treatment than you did the year before. That’s because medical costs are rising every year, without any regard for the amount of times that you need to see your doctor. Combined with the fact that seniors are living longer lives than ever before, the amount that you have to pay in out-of-pocket expenses over your lifetime can really add up.
|Disease||Prevalence in Lansing, MI||Annual Cost of Treatment|
|High Blood Pressure||31%||$288|
|Coronary Heart Disease||6%||$7,547|
Medicare Advantage Savings in Lansing, MI
More than a third of all Lansing seniors have already switched over to Medicare Advantage. Medicare Advantage is an insurance plan provided by a private insurer. That means that it totally replaces your Original Medicare coverage. However, it does not mean that you will lose any form of coverage. The law requires that all providers of Medicare Advantage plans provide the same minimum level of coverage as Original Medicare. On top of that, many providers will offer the option of adding additional benefits in exchange for you paying a little more in premiums. Of course, that “little more” often ends up being a total monthly premium of $0, since the government handles most or all of your Medicare Advantage premiums.
Many Medicare Advantage plans come with the option of adding prescription drug coverage. These plans are typically quite comprehensive, even going so far as to cover medical equipment like glucose monitors and testing strips, although the exact benefits vary from provider to provider. If you happen to be suffering from arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes, or any other illness that requires a heavy dependence on prescription medications, you might find that one of these comprehensive plans to be far better than what you could get through Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage. For seniors with these conditions who rely on Medicare Advantage for their prescription drug coverage needs, the savings can really add up over time.
To save even more money, you can add vision and dental care coverage directly to your Medicare Advantage plan. This is one of the key benefits of having an insurance plan that is privately provided. Neither Medicare Supplement Insurance nor Original Medicare insurance are capable of providing this benefit. In fact, neither of those two plans offer much benefit whatsoever when it comes to either vision or dental care coverage. For the most part, in order to obtain vision or dental treatments while on one of those two plans, you will have to have your physician label that treatment as a “medically necessary” or “emergency” procedure. With a Medicare Advantage plan, however, you can simply schedule an appointment and receive the treatment as easily as that.
Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Savings in Lansing, MI
Medicare Supplement plans, also known as Medigap plans, are designed to add additional coverage benefits to your Original Medicare plan without replacing it. A great analogy is that a Medigap plan functions like icing on a cake. The icing is protection from coverage gaps and the cake is all of the benefits of Original Medicare. All in all, there are ten plan types available for enrollment. Every one of them comes with its fair share of pros and cons, differences and similarities. However, one quality that they all share is that they are designed to help mitigate the expense of coverage gaps related to Medicare Part A, which can pose an insurmountable financial burden for seniors struggling with age-related heart or kidney disease.
The first group of plan types contains Medigap plan types A, D, K, and L. These plans, as mentioned above, make it possible to avoid the Medicare coverage gaps of Medicare Part A. That means that you can enjoy easy and affordable access to hospitalizations, blood transfusions, skilled nursing care, and other treatments without having to worry about how you’re going to pay for them. Unfortunately, if you have been experiencing out-of-pocket expenses as a result of Medicare Part B coverage gaps, you will not be fully helped by one of these four plans.
The second batch of Medicare Supplement plans, however, do provide ample benefits for both Medicare Part A as well as Medicare Part B coverage gaps. Medigap plan types B, C, F, G, M, and N all help to prevent you from being financially ruined by the coverage gaps of both of these parts of Medicare. That means that just about everything from your emergency services to extended hospital stays will be covered without risk of coverage gaps. Of course, the ever-changing nature of these plans makes it critically important that you speak to an expert before enrolling in one. For example, Medigap type F will not be offered to new Medicare enrollees after 2020. So, if you enroll in Plan F in 2020, remember that you will only have that plan’s benefits for as long as you decide to stay enrolled and pay your monthly premiums on time. Getting your plan cancelled due to lack of payment or switching plans means that Plan F will no longer be available to you.
To secure coverage for prescription medications, vision care, and dental care, there are a few more things that you need to do. Although this process can seem quite complicated, each step is relatively simple, provided that you have an expert to guide you. When it comes to prescription drug coverage, most seniors can have their needs satisfied by Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage. That plan does, of course, bear the risk of pushing you into another coverage gap – known as the Donut Hole – but that’s not something that many seniors struggle with. When it comes to vision and dental care, it can be simple enough to call a local insurance provider and ask to enroll in a bundled vision and dental plan. These plans can usually be enrolled in at any time, since there aren’t any open enrollment restrictions for them, and oftentimes run less than $100 per payment period.
As healthcare costs continue to rise and your risk of developing new or worsening symptoms increases every day, each minute makes it more important to take back your financial and personal independence when it comes to health insurance. By making the move from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage or Medigap insurance, you save yourself from the oppressive costs of Medicare coverage gaps while also expanding your overall coverage options. So what are you waiting for? Head over to Medigap.com today and get started on the path to protecting your future health.
|Medigap Plan||Minimum Monthly Premium||Maximum Monthly Premium||Average Estimated Monthly Premium (Part B Premium Included)|
|Plan F (high deductible)||$32||$57||$180|