Seniors in Minnesota are some of the best prepared when it comes to securing your access to healthcare. However, there remains about a quarter of the senior population that can’t say the same. If you’re one of the more than 3,700 seniors in the Rochester area who rely on Original Medicare to meet your healthcare needs, you probably already know about the high out-of-pocket costs of the Medicare coverage gaps. Medicare coverage gaps can cause you to pay thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses every single year. That’s why the overwhelming majority of seniors in the Rochester area have already switched to either a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medicare Supplement (a.k.a. Medigap) plan.

Facts and Figures

  • There are 16,491 seniors living in Rochester right now.
  • There are 10 hospitals in the Rochester area where seniors can get emergency and/or in-patient care.
  • 56% of Minnesota seniors have a Medicare Advantage plan.
  • 21% of Minnesota seniors have a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan.
  • Which leaves 23% of seniors potentially uninsured or underinsured against costly Medicare coverage gaps!

If you are one of the 23% of seniors who lack the proper insurance protection against high medical costs, you could wind up missing out on care that you both need and deserve as a result of your not having enough money to cover the out-of-pocket expenses. Unfortunately, this is a problem that only worsens with age. Healthcare professionals have linked a wide number of adverse health conditions to age. These so-called “age-related illnesses” come with a host of nasty symptoms that can significantly impact your life. Not only do you risk the development of new symptoms, you also risk the worsening of any and all existing symptoms. Over time, even your new symptoms will likely begin to worsen. The chart below lists a few of the most prevalent age-related illnesses in the Rochester area.

Disease Prevalence in Rochester, MN
Arthritis 23%
High Blood Pressure 31%
Coronary Heart Disease 5%
Diabetes 8%
Kidney Disease 2%

Healthcare Costs in Rochester, MN

With the development of new or worsening symptoms comes an increase in healthcare costs. To put it simply, the worse your symptoms become, the more you need to see the doctor. The more you need to see the doctor, the higher your annual bills become. Continuing to rely on Original Medicare to meet your healthcare needs would therefore result in a continual increase in out-of-pocket expenses as a result of the Medicare coverage gaps. In fact, your healthcare costs can increase even if your symptoms don’t change from year to year. That’s because medical costs are rising across the board as a result of a variety of economic factors. Since seniors are also living longer lives than ever before, there are more years in your life for these bills to pile up. Over time, they can create a significant, insurmountable hurdle between you and your health.

Disease Prevalence in Rochester, MN Annual Cost of Treatment
Arthritis 23% $291
High Blood Pressure 31% $354
Coronary Heart Disease 5% $9,286
Diabetes 8% $2,163
Kidney Disease 2% $8,399

Medicare Advantage Savings in Rochester, MN

More than half of seniors in Minnesota (and also in Rochester) have realized the potential for Medicare Advantage plans to help them avoid the out-of-pocket costs of Medicare coverage gaps. Although these plans are privately provided and not furnished by the government, the law still requires that they provide all of the same basic coverage options as Original Medicare, so you don’t have to worry about losing coverage. In fact, most providers of Medicare Advantage plans will also offer additional coverage options in exchange for increased payments each month. That being said, the government is willing to take care of all or most of your premiums each month, which means that you could potentially add on plenty of additional coverage options without paying any more than $0 per payment period.

If you suffer from arthritis, high blood pressure, and/or diabetes and are reliant on a large number of prescription medications, you might find that Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage simply doesn’t get you what you need. In that case, Medicare Advantage prescription drug coverage might be a great idea for you. Although the specifics of these plans vary from provider to provider, most of them will enable you to enjoy virtually unlimited access to prescriptions and will even provide comprehensive coverage for minor medical equipment like glucose monitors and testing strips. That can enable you to save thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars over the five- and ten-year periods.

In order to gain further improvements to your healthcare plan, you can even add dental and vision care coverage directly to your Medicare Advantage plan. Compared to the nearly nonexistent vision and dental care coverage options present in Original Medicare and Medicare Supplement Insurance, the benefits available from Medicare Advantage are widely held to be phenomenal. The ability to add dental and vision care coverage options directly to your plan is one of the main factors that sets Medicare Advantage plans apart from both Original Medicare and Medicare Supplement Insurance.

Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Savings in Rochester, MN

Whereas Medicare Advantage plans replace your Original Medicare plan, Medicare Supplement plans simply supplement your Original Medicare plan. This makes it easier to maintain the same plan without having to go through the hassle of making a major switch, but you do lose out on a couple key benefits. At the end of the day, it comes down to your personal requirements. Be sure to speak to an expert before making any decisions. There are ten different Medigap plan types available to choose from and each provides a different coverage plan for you to work with. Of course, they do have a few things in common. For example, all ten plans provide ample financial assistance related to Medicare Part A coverage gaps, which can be particularly difficult if you’re suffering from age-related kidney and/or heart disease.

The first four plans to consider are Medigap plans A, D, K, and L. These plan types provide a wide array of coverage options to ensure that you can safely afford all or most of the treatments listed under Medicare Part A. That includes things like hospitalizations, blood transfusions, and skilled nursing care. Unfortunately, neither of these plans provide any coverage options related to Medicare Part B coverage gaps. They only help with expenses related to Medicare Part A coverage gaps.

The next plans to consider are Medigap plan types B, C, F, G, M, and N. Whereas the above group of Medigap plans only provide assistance related to Medicare Part A coverage gaps, these plans provide assistance related to the coverage gaps of both Medicare Part A as well as Medicare Part B. That covers just about everything from ambulance rides to the end of your hospital stay and then some. Of course, it’s important to keep an eye on policy changes in the Medicare system in order to keep up to date. For example, the last year for Medigap Plan F will be 2020. As of 2021, Medigap type F plans will no longer be available for new or changing enrollees. But if you enroll before the deadline, you can get grandfathered into a policy.

In order to access prescription drug coverage, dental care coverage, and vision care coverage while on a Medigap plan, you are going to have to take a couple extra steps. Fortunately, those steps are quite simple. For prescription drug coverage, you can enroll in Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage. Many seniors find that the coverage options therein are more than enough to meet their needs, although seniors who rely on large amounts of prescription medications might sometimes still find themselves falling into coverage gaps as a result of the Medicare Part D “donut hole.” For vision and dental care coverage, you can go through the simple process of enrolling in a private vision and dental plan. There are plenty of providers in the Rochester area who offer such plans and the best part is that you don’t have to wait for an Open Enrollment Period like you do for medical insurance. Simply contact the provider and enroll.

It is more important than ever before for seniors in Rochester to enroll in either a Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare Supplement plan. As medical costs continue to rise alongside your increasing risk of developing new or worsening symptoms, the risks of going without proper health insurance coverage grow larger every day. Fortunately, taking back control of your health insurance and your finances has never been easier. Simply log on to and start shopping for a plan that is right for you.

Medigap Plan Minimum Monthly Premium Maximum Monthly Premium Average Estimated Monthly Premium (Part B Premium Included)
Plan K $77 $122 $235
Plan L $133 $171 $288
Plan M $140 $180 $296
Plan N $111 $245 $314
Medigap Extended Basic Plan $185 $597 $527
Plan F (high deductible) $53 $121 $223
Medigap Basic Plan $121 $269 $331
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.