Almost everyone has heard by now that Medicare Parts A and B have almost as many holes as your one cousin’s old beater car. But how do we cover those gaps effectively without breaking the bank? Thankfully, there are insurance policies for the purpose of providing in those cases: Medicare Advantage and Medigap policies. As a Hoosier senior, there are surely plenty of questions you have about the topic of insurance. And guess what? We’ve got answers!
Senior Medicare in Fort Wayne: Facts and Figures
- There are 35,862 senior citizens living in Fort Wayne right now
- There 10 hospitals in the Fort Wayne area where seniors can get emergency and/or in-patient care
- 26% of Indiana seniors have a Medicare Advantage plan
- 29% of seniors have a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan
- Which leaves 45% 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 Fort Wayne:
|Disease||Prevalence (in Fort Wayne)|
|High Blood Pressure||32%|
|Coronary Heart Disease||7%|
Healthcare Costs in Fort Wayne, IN
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 Fort Wayne)||Annual Cost of Treatment|
|High Blood Pressure||32%||$356|
|Coronary Heart Disease||7%||$9,078|
Medicare Advantage Savings in Fort Wayne, IN
The federal government has approved Medicare Advantage, which is a non-government administered private health insurance plan. The costs of your individual insurance are not directly paid for by the government, but instead the government pays their share towards your monthly premium and you pay the remaining medical costs on your own. Legally, your insurance must cover at least the identical benefits you would get if on state-mandated Medicare Parts A & B. Most non-government insurers add additional benefits like vision or dental, for a premium.
Seniors with chronic ailments have stated that they feel the coverage is better for their needs with Medicare Advantage plans. Most chronic diseases – for instance, arthritis, high blood pressure, and diabetes – demand constant management and effort to control. This can include medications, equipment for testing, and an increased number of doctor and hospital visits, among others. Sadly, these conditions tend to get progressively worse, which ends up costing more and more as time goes by. There are Medicare Advantage plans which can cover even more than a Medicare plan which includes extras, like Part D. It is time to start saving with Medicare Advantage, in order to be prepared when the time arrives.
Not only do Medicare Advantage plans cover as much as Medicare Parts A and B; they can potentially cover even more. This can be doctor visits, various equipment, a prescription plan, or a combination of the three, plus more for most Medicare Advantage policies. Also, most plans come with the option to add dental or vision coverage to the policy you select. The government in turn subsidizes your monthly premium, allowing you to get a deep discount on Medicare Advantage plans. There is even the potential for a payment of $0 a month. Copays and coinsurance will still be patient expenses, and out-of-pocket costs will apply for the few items that your insurance does not cover.
Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Savings in Fort Wayne, IN
Medigap is another type of Medicare Supplement Insurance. They work 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 (or at least soften the blow substantially).
Currently, there are four different plans tailored for exactly the above coverages. These plans are: Plans A, D, K, and L. There are additional plans which cover gaps in Part A as well as gaps in Part B, but we will discuss those in a moment. For now, it is important to understand that if you do not need the gap coverage for traditional Medicare Part B, buying a supplement plan which only covers gaps in Part A will come with a lower premium, thus saving even more money.
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. 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 if you act now, you might be able to get its comprehensive benefits before the plan is totally phased out.
Medicare Part B has its own gaps as well. Part A handles hospitals and inpatient procedures; Part B is supposed to cover most of everything outside of that. This includes outpatient operations, check-ups from doctors, even some small pieces of medical equipment. However, the co-pays, coinsurance, and yearly premiums for Medicare Part B can be incredibly costly over time, so much so that it can become unmanageable quite quickly. Fortunately, there are many Medigap plans which account for this and are designed to help reduce Medicare Part B expenses so patients don’t get bogged down financially.
Medicare supplement insurance does not provide for Rx drugs, dental, or vision, unlike Medicare Advantage. However, Original Medicare does allow seniors to choose a Part D plan, which provides for prescription drugs and the associated costs. This is offered whether or not you choose a Medicare supplement insurance plan. With a little research, it is easy to find affordable dental and vision plans for seniors in your area. Discounts for the elderly are especially available in most locations.
For seniors living in Fort Wayne, just like you, purchasing the most affordable Medicare Supplement Insurance is absolutely necessary. Not only does it protect any retirement savings, it also grants peace of mind. Sad as it is, medical costs are continually on the rise, and they do not show signs of decreasing any time soon. It’s beyond your control, but one thing that is in your hands is how well you cover yourself with a comprehensive insurance plan. We want to help you find that supplemental Medicare gap coverage plan today.
|Medigap Plan||Minimum Monthly Premium||Maximum Monthly Premium||Average Estimated Monthly Premium (Part B Premium Included)|
|Plan F (high deductible)||$24||$900||$598|