More than half of all seniors in North Charleston, South Carolina, rely on Original Medicare to meet their healthcare needs. If you’re one of those thousands of seniors, then there are a few things that you should know. First, you could soon find yourself paying thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses every single year as a result of the Medicare coverage gaps. Second, those expenses are projected to rise with age. And third, there are two ways that you can safely secure your financial future. Either you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage insurance plan or you can enroll in a Medicare Supplement (a.k.a. Medigap) Insurance plan.

Facts and Figures

  • There are 11,210 seniors living in North Charleston right now.
  • There are 8 hospitals and medical centers in the North Charleston area where seniors can get emergency and/or in-patient care.
  • 24% of South Carolina seniors have a Medicare Advantage plan.
  • 22% of South Carolina seniors have a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan.
  • Which leaves 54% of seniors potentially uninsured or underinsured against costly Medicare coverage gaps!

Despite the fact that living in North Charleston leaves seniors like yourself with a vast number of medical centers and hospitals at which to receive treatments, more than half of all seniors in the area still go without the proper health insurance that makes receiving those treatments possible. In fact, there are currently an estimated 6,053 seniors in North Charleston who cannot say that they enjoy reliable access to affordable healthcare. That is a problem that multiplies as you age, creating new problems in just about every aspect of your life. For example, aging can lead to the development of any number of age-related illnesses. These illnesses can then lead to the development of new symptoms and the worsening of your old symptoms in terms of both frequency and severity. Over time, the issues can present both a significant risk to your finances as well as your overall independence and health. The chart below showcases the percentages of seniors who have one of the five most notable age-related health conditions in the North Charleston area.

Disease Prevalence in North Charleston, SC
Arthritis 26%
High Blood Pressure 36%
Coronary Heart Disease 6%
Diabetes 13%
Kidney Disease 3%

Healthcare Costs in North Charleston, SC

Healthcare costs in North Charleston are just about as awful as they are across the rest of the country. That is, if you are a beneficiary of Original Medicare. As your symptoms worsen in frequency and severity and you develop additional age-related illnesses, you’re healthcare costs are bound to increase. As you then begin to seek out additional treatment options, your healthcare costs will increase even further. Finally, regardless of whether or not your symptoms change or you seek out additional treatments, your healthcare costs will still continue to increase as the result of rising medical costs throughout the entire country. These three factors have led many to refer to the longer senior lifespan as being “bittersweet” – sweet because you can live longer, happier lives. Bitter because these longer lives make for more time for the aforementioned factors to lead to bigger medical bills and larger debts.

Disease Prevalence in North Charleston, SC Annual Cost of Treatment
Arthritis 26% $280
High Blood Pressure 36% $288
Coronary Heart Disease 6% $7,283
Diabetes 13% $2,158
Kidney Disease 3% $6,451

Medicare Advantage Savings in North Charleston, SC

Medicare Advantage plans function by entirely replacing your Original Medicare plan. Contrary to popular belief, Medicare Advantage plans are not actually provided by the government. Instead, they are private plans provided by private providers. That being said, the law requires that each of these plans covers the same minimums as Original Medicare in order to ensure that you receive the highest possible quality of care. In addition, most Medicare Advantage providers are also willing to offer additional coverage options in exchange for your paying higher premiums. Since the government tends to take care of all or most of those premiums for you, you can potentially add on all of the additional options that you need, want, and deserve all without having to pay a single penny in premiums.

Most seniors will choose to add Medicare Advantage prescription drug coverage options to their array of insurance plans. That’s because these plans tend to be so comprehensive as to not only cover any and all of your prescription requirements but also cover your minor medical equipment, such as glucose monitors and testing strips. If you happen to be suffering from arthritis, high blood pressure, and/or diabetes, then the benefits that you could reap with one of these plans can really add up over time.

Medicare Advantage plans also enable you to enjoy access to vision and dental care coverage without having to worry about coverage gaps. Moreover, these plans can be added directly to your Medicare Advantage plan, meaning that you don’t have to seek outside assistance in order to ensure that your treatment options are covered, which is the case for beneficiaries of either Original Medicare or Medicare Supplement insurance plans.

Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Savings in North Charleston, SC

Though slightly less common in North Charleston than Medicare Advantage plans, Medigap plans are nonetheless a wonderful option for thousands of seniors looking to avoid the high out-of-pocket costs of Medicare coverage gaps. That’s where the name “Medigap” comes from. These plans are designed to bridge the coverage gaps in Medicare Part A and/or Medicare Part B in order to ensure that you can enjoy reliable and affordable access to the healthcare that you both need and deserve. For example, one common link that each plan shares is that they all provide coverage related to Medicare Part A coverage gaps, which tend to be ludicrously expensive for seniors suffering from age-related heart and/or kidney disease. Generally, the ten available plans from which you can choose are divided up into one of two categories.

The first category into which Medicare Supplement plans tend to be divided is the category that covers Medicare Part A coverage gaps and Medicare Part A coverage gaps alone. Those plan types are A, D, K, and L. These plans can be perfect for you if you don’t qualify for Medicare Advantage premium reimbursement and don’t have to pay out-of-pocket as a result of Medicare Part B coverage gaps. Unfortunately, these plan types are utterly useless for seniors who only pay Medicare Part B coverage gaps and are only half useful for seniors who pay both Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B coverage gaps.

The second category into which Medicare Supplement plans tend to be divided is the category that covers both Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B coverage gaps. These plan types are B, C, F, G, M, and N. These plans make it possible to enjoy worry-free access to just about all kinds of care, including things such as hospitalizations and emergency services. That being said, there are a few important changes coming to the Medigap system at the end of 2020. One of which is the fact that Medigap Plan F will no longer be available for new enrollees. In order to obtain similar coverage options, you will need to enroll in a similar plan, most likely from this category. Many seniors find that Medigap type C is close enough to meet many of the same needs.

When it comes to prescription medications and vision and dental care coverage, there are a couple things that you have to do in order to avail yourself to those coverage options. First, try to enroll in Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage. Those plans tend to be decent enough to enable many seniors to have access to the prescriptions that they need, though they do come with the risk of additional coverage gaps. Next, look into private insurance providers who service the North Charleston area and enroll in one of their plans. Not only are vision and dental insurance plans the cheapest on the market, you can also enroll in them at any point in time since there are no open-enrollment periods for either vision or dental insurance.

All of these factors add up to the fact that there is no greater time than now to take the necessary steps to protect yourself, your finances, and your independence from the high out-of-pocket costs of the Medicare coverage gaps. By waiting another year, you force yourself to endure the continued risk of developing new or worsening symptoms, facing rising medical costs, and contending with the massive out-of-pocket expenses incurred as the result of Medicare coverage gaps. So don’t wait a second longer. Head over to today and get started on your path to retaking control of your health insurance needs.

Medigap Plan Minimum Monthly Premium Maximum Monthly Premium Average Estimated Monthly Premium (Part B Premium Included)
Plan A $60 $192 $262
Plan B $86 $247 $302
Plan C $95 $314 $340
Plan D $84 $276 $316
Plan F $100 $308 $340
Plan F (high deductible) $29 $138 $219
Plan G $90 $284 $323
Plan K $42 $87 $200
Plan L $72 $123 $233
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.