Life in Lake Charles can be a paradise, but not when it comes to the high out-of-pocket costs of getting healthcare. For thousands of seniors in the area, reliable access to affordable and effective healthcare treatments is simply not an option, due to the nature of Medicare coverage gaps. Medicare coverage gaps are often associated with hospital expenses, end-of-life care, or Part B excess charges. They can add up to thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses every year or possibly every month – if you’re not careful. However, by enrolling in either a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement (Medigap) insurance plan, you can ensure that those Medicare coverage gaps no longer pose you any substantial threat. Let’s take a quick look at the numbers to show that you are not alone in this struggle.
Facts and Figures
- There are 12,151 senior citizens living in Lake Charles right now
- There are 10 hospitals in the Lake Charles area where seniors can get emergency and/or in-patient care
- 33% of Louisiana seniors have a Medicare Advantage plan
- 17% of seniors have a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan
- Which leaves 50% of seniors potentially uninsured or underinsured against costly Medicare coverage gaps!
Although the majority of seniors in the Lake Charles area have decent (or better) access to healthcare, nearly one out of every two seniors still doesn’t have the ability to access the quality healthcare and treatment options that they both need and deserve. Unfortunately, the problem only grows worse with age. As you get older, your odds of developing an “age-related illness” increase. On top of this exponentially rising risk of developing a new illness, your existing conditions are likely to become more severe as well. That means that the more than 6,000 uninsured or underinsured seniors in Lake Charles might be caught by surprise and completely incapable of paying for treatments for a variety of new health conditions. The chart below shows just how prevalent a few of the most common age-related illnesses are in the Lake Charles area.
|Disease||Prevalence in Lake Charles|
|High Blood Pressure||42%|
|Coronary Heart Disease||8%|
Healthcare Costs in Lake Charles, LA
Comparatively speaking, Lake Charles’ seniors are still relatively healthy – but that could change any day as more and more people move into the senior age bracket and up in their years. The thing about age-related illnesses is that, not only does the risk of developing one or more increase with age, both the frequency and severity of their symptoms increase as well. Further complicating this is the fact that seniors are living longer now than ever before. Thanks to advances in modern medical sciences, people can sometimes live upwards of 100 years. While this is undoubtedly a gift from the great scientific minds to the seniors of today, it is also a curse bestowed upon the seniors of tomorrow. Why? Because this longer lifespan correlates strongly with an increased amount of time during which the frequency and severity of age-related illnesses can further worsen. The chart below provides a conservative estimate of the costs of the aforementioned illnesses in healthier, younger seniors.
|Disease||Prevalence in Lake Charles||Annual Cost of Treatment|
|High Blood Pressure||42%||$354|
|Coronary Heart Disease||8%||$7,340|
Medicare Advantage Savings in Lake Charles, LA
By now, you’re well aware of the medical costs and expenses that could crush your standard of living if left unchecked. That’s where Medicare Advantage comes in. The fact that more than 4,000 seniors in Lake Charles have turned to Medicare Advantage shows that it has something of value to offer. Unlike the state-sponsored coverage of Original Medicare, which can have problematic coverage gaps, Medicare Advantage is privately owned and operated. This means that your benefits are protected by law against wrongful termination. Furthermore, despite the fact that Medicare Advantage plans replace your Original Medicare plans, these plans are required by law to provide all of the same benefits as your Original Medicare plan. Of course, they frequently offer even more, but it’s nice to know that the parts that you enjoyed about Original Medicare aren’t going anywhere!
If you happen to be spending a significant amount of money on prescription drugs, this next section is going to be more important to you than if you don’t require many prescriptions. Medicare Advantage plans frequently offer you the ability to finance prescription drug coverage, something that neither Original Medicare nor Medicare Supplement insurance can offer. Moreover, this drug coverage can often be extended to cover medical tools and equipment, such as glucose monitors and testing strips, necessary for treating chronic illnesses, enabling you to save significant amounts of money over the five- and ten-year periods.
Medicare Advantage plans can save you even more money if you decide to add on additional coverage options for vision and dental care. For the most part, these additional coverage options are optional; however, as we mentioned before, these plans can potentially cost you absolutely nothing, depending on whether or not you qualify for the better government subsidies. The option of adding vision and dental insurance to your Medicare Advantage plan is something that is wholly unique to Medicare Advantage. Original Medicare and Medicare Supplement insurance plans do not even offer this additional coverage category.
Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Savings in Lake Charles, LA
Whereas Medicare Advantage plans function to entirely replace your Original Medicare plan, Medicare Supplement (a.k.a. Medigap) plans function to supplement and add additional benefits to your existing Medicare plan without changing the original plan itself. This means that you won’t have to worry about delays in coverage as a result of transitioning to a Medicare Supplement insurance plan, although you will have to deal with multiple providers unless you find a provider of a Medigap plan who is willing to facilitate your Original Medicare concerns as well.
The more limited category includes Medicare Supplement insurance plans of types A, D, K, and L. The primary purpose of these plans is to insure you against the costly Medicare Part A coverage gaps, which can pose insurmountable barriers to anybody who suffers from a chronic health condition that requires frequent emergency and/or in-patient care. Unfortunately, these plans provide their benefits solely to Medicare Part A coverage gaps and do little to nothing for Medicare Part B coverage gaps. This means that, if you have been paying significant amounts of money in the form of Medicare Part A coverage gaps but little to nothing in the realm of Medicare Part B coverage gaps, one of these plans could potentially be everything that you need.
If you need a healthcare option that bridges the coverage gaps inherent in both Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B, then you’ll want to look at Medicare Supplement insurance plans B, C, F, G, M, and N. These plans are designed to cover not only Medicare Part A but also Medicare Part B coverage gaps so that you don’t have to worry about going over on either. Unfortunately, one of the more preferable plan types, Medigap Plan F, is being discontinued in 2021. In order to obtain Plan F benefits, you are going to have to consider a similar Medigap plan, or enroll in Plan F before the deadline in order to get grandfathered in.
There are a few major costs that all Medigap plans have in common, though. As we mentioned earlier, there is no way to receive prescription drug coverage or dental and vision coverage through a Medigap plan. But does this mean that you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket for those three categories of care for the rest of your life? Not at all! You can simply supplement your Medigap plan by enrolling in a separate plan (or plans) that covers these three categories. As a general rule of thumb, it tends to be a good idea to ask your Medigap provider if they also provide separate plans that cover the three other categories together so that you can limit your total number of providers.
At the end of the day all of this hassle will be well worth it. By selecting a healthcare insurance plan that adequately protects you against the costly Medicare coverage gaps, you protect far more than just your healthcare. In fact, you protect your financial wellbeing, your psychological health, and even your personal independence against any unforeseen circumstances that may arise in the future. But you have to act as soon as possible. Given the nature of age-related illnesses, a month of procrastination may prove disastrous. So don’t wait! Head over to Medigap.com today and begin speaking with experts on which plan is right for you. Your future self with thank you!
|Medigap Plan||Minimum Monthly Premium||Maximum Monthly Premium||Average Estimated Monthly Premium (Part B Premium Included)|
|Plan F (high deductible)||$38||$82||$196|