It is fairly common knowledge by now that Medicare Parts A and B are almost as holy as uncle Buck’s target after shooting practice. But how does one cover these gaps effectively without breaking the bank? Thankfully, there are types of insurance for the sole purpose of providing in those cases. They’re called Medicare Advantage and Medigap policies. As a North Carolina senior, you probably have a ton of questions about the topic of gap insurance. And we’re here to provide answers.
Senior Medicare in Greensboro: Facts and Figures
- There are 39,198 senior citizens living in Greensboro right now
- There 8 hospitals in the Greensboro area where seniors can get emergency and/or in-patient care
- 17% of North Carolina seniors have a Medicare Advantage plan
- 25% of seniors have a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan
- Which leaves 58% of seniors potentially uninsured or underinsured against costly Medicare coverage gaps!
Becoming more vulnerable to disease is part of aging. It happens to everyone. And worse, most of the diseases we become more vulnerable to are chronic and will require treatment for the rest of our lives. This only makes medical costs even worse. Also, it is entirely possible that we will have more than one major disease at the same time, compounding difficulties and expenses. The chart below outlines the prevalence of the most common chronic diseases plaguing seniors in Greensboro:
|Disease||Prevalence (in Greensboro)|
|High Blood Pressure||34%|
|Coronary Heart Disease||6%|
Healthcare Costs in Greensboro, NC
On top of so many affected seniors, there are the prices of associated care to consider. Medical drugs, various pieces of equipment, hospital stays, in-home care, and regular visits are all factors which stack up over time, leading to a huge bill. The expense of medical care is on the rise every year, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing any time soon. With seniors living longer lives, this can mean even bigger bills, and more of them. There is no time to wait. You have to know if your coverage is enough in order to protect the things you have spent a lifetime working to get.
|Disease||Prevalence (in Greensboro)||Annual Cost of Treatment|
|High Blood Pressure||34%||$356|
|Coronary Heart Disease||6%||$7,399|
Medicare Advantage Savings in Greensboro, NC
While Medicare Advantage is not government-issued, it is government-approved. Technically, Medicare Advantage is a separate, private insurance plan, but with very unique benefits. Insurance costs aren’t paid for by the government, but instead they redirect your intended costs to Medicare Advantage, and any remainder becomes the patient premium. This cost can be, in many cases, as low as $0 a month. Medicare Advantage must cover at least the same as Medicare Parts A & B, but many outside insurers offer add-on benefits for a higher premium.
Medicare Advantage plans can offer many seniors better coverage options for their chronic ailments. Diseases like diabetes, arthritis, and high blood pressure are generally progressive and last until end-of-life, plus require extra effort to manage. Drug tests, prescriptions, equipment, additional doctor visits; all of these things can and do culminate over time, resulting in a higher bill. Medicare Advantage can be more effective than just Medicare plans alone. Over time, as these conditions continue to get worse, bills will continue to pile up. Even with Medicare Part D, you can get more coverage and save more money with some Medicare Advantage plans. It’s important to start budgeting now for the inevitable cost.
A cost effective drug plan is only part of what can be added to your Medicare Advantage plan. Doctor appointments, equipment of the medical or pharmaceutical variety, and an economical prescription system, are all options for different Medicare Advantage plans. Even more give the choice to incorporate dental or vision benefits into their packages, as an extra boon. The federal government which would be providing Medicare then instead redirects the funds to the Medicare Advantage plan of your choice. That means you could receive even more coverage for no additional cost! However, copays and coinsurance will still always be the responsibility of the policy holder. And with any insurance policy, there will be some expenses that just aren’t covered.
Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Savings in Greensboro, NC
Medigap is another type of Medicare Supplement Insurance. It works similarly to Medicare Advantage and can save money in covering gaps in traditional Medicare Part A. The most common conditions (heart disease, for example) can cost upwards of five figures just for the hospital stay and administered in-patient treatments alone. At a certain cutoff, Original Medicare plans stop paying, and any remaining balance must come from the patient’s own pocket. A Medicare Supplement Insurance plan can stop that.
Right now, there are four plans designed to cover the gaps in Part A of Traditional Medicare. These plans are: Plans A, D, K, and L. Other plans cover gaps in Part A as well as gaps in Part B, which will be discussed below. If you don’t think you will have extended Medicare Part B costs and are largely concerned with Part A, then you will be able to save even more, as plans which cover only Part A gaps are available at a lower premium. This could save a considerable amount as well over time.
However, if you anticipate needing help with the gaps in Part A and Part B, there are Medigap plans B, C, F, G, M, and N. These cover differing aspects of Traditional Medicare Parts A and B. As always with any insurance, more coverage results in more premium payments. Still, it is important to note that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. More coverage also means less out of pocket expenses, so paying a higher premium could actually save money in the long run. Plan F is only available for a limited time, as it will be retiring in 2021.
But what gaps are there in Medicare Part B? We know Part A is hospital stays and inpatient care, so what is left for B? Nearly everything else. Any outpatient procedures, specialist check-ups, medical or therapeutic gear, supplies or necessities. These are all supposed to be covered under Medicare Part B, but of course, there are always exceptions like copays and coinsurance. Still, there are Medigap plans designed to pitch in with those sorts of costs.
Medicare Supplement Insurance does not have coverage for medical drugs, dental, or vision care, unlike Medicare Advantage. Traditional Medicare does offer Part D, which is coverage specifically for the above mentioned items, whether or not any other original plan is purchased. With a quick search through your preferred search engine, you can likely find alternate dental or vision coverage in your area for an affordable price.
For Greensboro seniors, having budget-friendly Medicare is integral to securing a comfortable, livable retirement, not to mention protecting any accrued savings. It is sad to say, but medical costs seem to only continue rising over time, and it is due to factors far beyond our control. But what we do have control over are the ways in which we prepare. Find a Medicare supplement insurance plan that will help you when you need it most, and keep you safe from pricy gaps. We want to help make that happen.
|Medigap Plan||Minimum Monthly Premium||Maximum Monthly Premium||Average Estimated Monthly Premium (Part B Premium Included)|
|Plan F (high deductible)||$26||$80||$189|