Arlington, Virginia can be one of the greatest places to live. There are plenty of nice communities, great places to relax, and plenty of affordable healthcare options. But few seniors living in Arlington are aware of how incredibly expensive life can become when you’re trapped in the Medicare coverage gap. These out-of-pocket costs can quickly run up into the tens of thousands of dollars over only a few short years, derailing any of your retirement savings accounts and potentially forcing you back into the workforce. Of course, a few of the aforementioned affordable healthcare options (namely Medicare Advantage and Medigap) can resolve this issue, but you have to make sure to be proactive enough to obtain them. Let’s take a quick look at how the numbers stack up in Arlington.

Facts and Figures

  • There are currently 25,177 seniors living in Arlington, Virginia.
  • There are a total of 6 hospitals in the Arlington area where seniors can get emergency and/or in-patient medical care.
  • 17% of Virginia’s seniors have a Medicare Advantage plan.
  • 24% of Virginia’s seniors have a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan.
  • That leaves 59% of Arlington’s seniors potentially uninsured or underinsured against costly Medicare coverage gaps!

Just by looking at the figures above, it’s easy to think that healthcare isn’t much of a concern in Arlington. However, what these figures really show is that not even half of Arlington’s seniors are able to easily afford the healthcare that they both need and deserve. For the 59% of Arlington seniors who don’t have any form of protection against the common enemy of Medicare coverage caps, spending thousands of dollars out of pocket each month is an all to frequent aspect of life. To make matters worse, these issues only become more frequent and more severe with age. A large number of diseases have a strong correlation with age. This means that, as you grow older, your likelihood of developing one of these adverse health conditions increases exponentially. The chart below shows five of these primary age-related illnesses and their prevalence among the senior population in the Arlington area.

Disease Prevalence in Arlington
Arthritis 19%
High Blood Pressure 26%
Coronary Heart Disease 4%
Diabetes 7%
Kidney Disease 2%

Healthcare Costs in Arlington, VA

By further analyzing the statistics in the “prevalence” chart above, we can see that more than 6,500 seniors in Arlington suffer from high blood pressure, an illness that can result in an additional $2,400 per year in the best of cases. The chart below lists this cost as well as those of the four other aforementioned illnesses. Unfortunately, because each of these diseases are what we call “age-related illnesses,” which means that the frequency and severity of each of them will increase as you age, the healthcare costs associated with each of these five diseases skyrockets over time. Because of the fact that modern advancements in health sciences have enabled seniors to live longer, happier lives, these costs will pile up overtime. This has the unfortunate effect of increasing your dependence on your retirement savings later in life, a time when those savings are less capable of supporting increased withdrawal amounts.

Disease Prevalence in Arlington Annual Cost of Treatment
Arthritis 19% $280
High Blood Pressure 26% $288
Coronary Heart Disease 4% $8,105
Diabetes 7% $2,158
Kidney Disease 2% $6,973

Medicare Advantage Savings in Arlington, VA

If the government, via Medicare, isn’t giving you the coverage and financial support that you need and deserve, you might want to consider switching to Medicare Advantage. Medicare Advantage plans are neither government-owned nor government-controlled, meaning that they are subject to the same market forces that helped you create your retirement savings in the first place. With Medicare Advantage plans, you no longer need to worry about getting caught in the no-man’s-land of Medicare coverage gaps because many of these plans are specifically designed to provide coverage even in the worst of times. Furthermore, you don’t have to worry about losing specific benefits when switching to Medicare Advantage from original Medicare, because Medicare Advantage plans are required by law to provide all of the same benefits as original Medicare. In fact, some companies even allow you to add additional coverage options by paying a little more. While this might seem like something that you just can’t afford, it’s important to note that the government provides quite a large number of options that could enable you to “pay a little more” while actually paying premiums as low as $0.

A few of the additional coverage areas that are among the most popular improvements over Original Medicare are the options that Medicare Advantage plans offer for prescription drug coverage as well as other miscellaneous costs. This means that, depending on the plan that you select, you would be able to enjoy access to any number of prescription drugs whenever you need them. On top of that, you would even be able to have your insurance cover the costs of any glucose monitors, testing strips, or other frequently needed medical items, making Medicare Advantage a great option for anybody suffering from chronic illnesses such as diabetes or kidney disease. Over the course of five years, these plans could save you thousands of dollars.

Of course, the benefits of Medicare Advantage over original Medicare don’t stop there. These plans also come with the option to add vision and dental coverage to your Medicare plans, allowing you to save even more money over both the long and short terms. This is a benefit that is unique to Medicare Advantage plans, as Medicare Supplement (Medigap) and original Medicare do not allow such additional options. Instead, with one of the latter two policies, you would be forced to rely on outside support.

Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Savings in Arlington, VA

Medicare Supplement policies, known more commonly as Medigap policies, function considerably differently from Medicare Advantage policies. For starters, they don’t cover as much but they are far easier to qualify for. Medigap plans are also incredibly easy to customize. Since there are so many different plan types, you can easily find one that works well for you. For example, if you’ve noticed that you’ve been spending only small amounts on prescriptions or dental care but quite a bit of money on hospital bills and other Medicare Part A expenses that are now coming almost exclusively out of your own pocket as a result of the Medicare coverage gap, then you might benefit from a few of the more customized Medigap coverage plans.

A few Medigap plans that focus exclusively on Medicare Part A expenditures are Medigap supplement plans A, D, K, and L. These plans function in unison with your original Medicare policy, hence the phrase “Medicare Supplement.” However, these plans don’t help out whatsoever with Medicare Part B expenses, meaning that they might not be of much use to you if you’re spending significant sums of money on both Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B expenses. These plans would be almost completely worthless for anybody who spends only a small amount on Medicare Part A but a large amount on Medicare Part B coverage gaps.

In either of those cases, you would stand to benefit the most from healthcare policies that cover both Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B expenses. Fortunately, due to the high volume of Medigap plan types on the market, there are countless options for you to choose from. A few such options include Medigap supplement plans B, C, D, F, G, M, and N. Each of these plans are quite a bit different from the others, despite the fact that they provide many of the same benefits with the same end goal in mind. For example, Medigap Plan F will no longer be available after 2020, meaning that you should hurry and purchase Plan F insurance before it is no longer available. For these reasons, you should be sure to contact a Medigap expert before locking yourself into a plan that you might not enjoy or that might not be useful for your needs.

Although Medigap plans can save you a considerable amount of wealth on most Medicare Part A and/or Medicare Part B expenses, they can’t save you much of anything on other expenses. One of the most common complaints against Medigap insurance policies is that they don’t provide prescription drugs, vision care, or dental care. While this is true, it is important to keep in mind that each of these coverage categories are among the cheapest categories available on the private market. In many cases, your chosen Medigap plan could be easily supplemented by an affordable private insurer’s policies in each of these areas for less than $100 a month.

Amid the increased prevalence of age-related illnesses in Arlington, steadily rising healthcare costs, and lifespan-lengthening healthcare discoveries, it is more important now than ever before to be proactive in securing your healthcare needs and protecting yourself against untimely accidents. Nobody likes to lose their independence and be forced to fall back on their family for support. So don’t! Take your healthcare into your own hands and begin shopping online for coverage options at today.

Medigap Plan Minimum Monthly Premium Maximum Monthly Premium
Plan A $76 $180
Plan B $95 $201
Plan C $127 $390
Plan D $116 $189
Plan F $128 $273
Plan F (high deductible) $24 $61
Plan G $101 $215
Plan K $40 $80
Plan L $73 $111
Plan M $109 $128
Plan N $84 $173
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.