Coverage gaps in Medicare Parts A and B can cost even the most prepared retirees and dip into life savings. So how can intelligent seniors keep their hard-earned money and stay out of crushing debt in the later years of life? This isn’t just wanting to live a cushy retired life; in many cases these debts can drive people from their homes and cause significant burdens. In St. Louis, there are more challenges than most in finding the right coverage.
Senior Medicare in St. Louis: Facts and Figures
- There are 36,643 senior citizens living in St. Louis right now
- There 10 hospitals in the St. Louis area where seniors can get emergency and/or in-patient care
- 31% of Missouri seniors have a Medicare Advantage plan
- 27% of seniors have a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan
- Which leaves 42% of seniors potentially uninsured or underinsured against costly Medicare coverage gaps!
Aging makes everyone more at risk for particular diseases. Most of which will last for the rest of our lives, and require increasing amounts of care. Some may get better, but the more likely option is that they’ll continue to worsen with time. Not only will your health be at stake, but your financial security as well. Medical expenses are on the rise every single year, and fiscal evidence shows they will likely continue well into the future. There is also the potential that you might experience more than one of these diseases at the same time, doubling your medical bills.
|Disease||Prevalence (in St. Louis)|
|High Blood Pressure||36%|
|Coronary Heart Disease||7%|
Healthcare Costs in St. Louis, MO
Of course, all of us are concerned with getting the proper care and the cost of that care. Prescriptions, monitors, patient care while in the hospital, outpatient, general visits, all of these add to the entire cost. Seniors are living longer, but at times that can become just more time to pay more bills, since medical costs continue to rise annually. Considering those two factors, it’s understandable how costs can quickly become unmanageable for even those who have saved ahead of time. It is vital to be informed about today’s health care options for seniors, in order to protect your life and health into your golden years.
|Disease||Prevalence (in St. Louis)||Annual Cost of Treatment|
|High Blood Pressure||36%||$356|
|Coronary Heart Disease||7%||$7,506|
Medicare Advantage Savings in St. Louis, MO
There are some private insurance plans which are approved by the government, and yet not government provided, that are specifically for seniors who are currently enrolled in Medicare. Insurance costs aren’t paid directly by the government, but rather redirected to Medicare Advantage. The government pays their portion of the monthly premium, and the patient pays the rest. In many cases, Medicare Advantage plans are available starting at $0 a month. These plans are required legally to offer at least the same as Original Medicare Parts A and B. The majority of insurers offering these sorts of plans also have dental and vision coverages available as well.
Seniors with chronic ailments have mentioned 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 – mandate 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 St. Louis, MO
Medigap policies (additional Medicare supplement policies, which go by the nickname Medigap) have distinct differences from Medicare Advantage, but they can still save you plenty of money. This applies especially to the costly gaps in Medicare Part A. Hospital visits from coronary heart disease or kidney disease can end up totaling in the high five, low six digit range. And that’s just for a visit, not including all of the inpatient treatments you might need, or addition medications or services while you’re there. Long hospital stays aren’t covered by Medicare. Neither are sometimes life-saving blood transfusions. It is only sane to have some sort of coverage to protect you from having to pay these sorts of costs out-of-pocket.
Medigap Plans A, D, K, and L are the ones designed to cover the pricey costs for the lack of coverage in Medicare Part A. The other Medigap plans have Part A coverage as well, but include extras that we’ll touch on in a minute. If Medicare Part B costs aren’t something you need, you then shouldn’t feel the need to purchase them, thus saving you more premium. If hospital stays from Part A is your concern, Plans A, D, K, and L are the ones you may wish to consider first.
However, if you anticipate needing help with the gaps in Part A and Part B, there are Medigap plans B, C, D, 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.
Traditional Medicare Part B covers any medical aspect that Part A cannot. This generally includes outpatient procedures, regular office visits, and medical testing home equipment. Responsibilities like coinsurance and copays will remain with the patient, as well as any premium. These costs too can be hard to handle, but thankfully there is no shortage of choices to help further reduce them.
Medicare Supplement Insurance does not cover any prescriptions, dental, or vision care, unlike Medical Advantage. But Traditional Medicare does have Part D available, which is specifically for purchasing medical drugs. Part D is available for purchase for anyone eligible for Medicare, whether or not they have any other Medicare plan currently as their main coverage. Also available online are hundreds of alternative medical plans for dental or vision in the St. Louis area, which can be found through a simple Google search.
For St. Louis seniors, it is imperative that they have the proper amount of health coverage, and at an affordable price for all. It protects you, your savings, and your family from any additional and unnecessary hardship or financial burden. Our health and rising costs to cover it are factors beyond any one person’s control. However, we can control how we prepare for the future. A Medicare coverage gap policy is the best way to do that, and we want to help you find the best policy for tomorrow’s needs, today.
|Medigap Plan||Minimum Monthly Premium||Maximum Monthly Premium||Average Estimated Monthly Premium (Part B Premium Included)|
|Plan F (high deductible)||$30||$93||$197|