A very sizable portion of Las Vegas residents are currently entering or enjoying their golden years. But spending your best years in Sin City has some unique cost of living challenges, healthcare being one of them. Living in Las Vegas and getting your health care needs met doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Below, we’ll go in depth about the different types of supplement insurance policies you can purchase to help protect you from costly gaps in Medicare coverage.
Senior Medicare in Las Vegas: Facts and Figures
- There are 90,894 senior citizens living in Las Vegas right now
- There are 11 hospitals in the Las Vegas area where seniors can get emergency and/or in-patient care
- 35% of Nevada seniors have a Medicare Advantage plan
- 13% of seniors have a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan
- Which leaves 52% of seniors potentially uninsured or underinsured against costly Medicare coverage gaps!
Most of your medical expenses past the age of 60 will revolve around chronic conditions. The chart below shows that high blood pressure is the most prevalent problem among seniors in Las Vegas; however, arthritis and diabetes are a close second and third, respectively. Maybe you don’t have any of these conditions right now, and you’re all the better off for it. But if you have one – or more – you’re going to have to plan in advance to manage your health care needs as you get older. And if you’re relying on Medicare 100% to help you take care of these expenses, you could be setting yourself up for a very expensive trap.
|Disease||Prevalence (in Las Vegas)|
|High Blood Pressure||28%|
|Coronary Heart Disease||7%|
Healthcare Costs in Las Vegas, NV
It may seem like your Medicare benefits are taking care of everything right now; but as your chronic health problems get worse over time, you will need more and more care to maintain your quality of life. Unfortunately, many seniors discover all too well that the more care you need, the less Medicare will help you pay for. Just take a look at the graph below to get an idea what seniors are spending on their health care for some of the most common diseases. Do keep in mind this is just the tip of the iceberg.
|Disease||Prevalence (in Las Vegas)||Annual Cost of Treatment|
|High Blood Pressure||28%||$108|
|Coronary Heart Disease||7%||$8,413|
Medicare Advantage Savings in Las Vegas, NV
Surprise medical expenses from the gaps in Medicare coverage don’t have to happen to you. There are two ways to protect yourself from these financial catastrophes, and Medicare Advantage in Nevada is one of them. Medicare Advantage is a private health insurance plan also known as Medicare Part C. The government evaluates and approves the plan for sale, then it pays a substantial share of the premium for you. But that’s about as deep as government involvement goes. The rest of your Medicare Advantage plan is between you and the private health insurance company who sells it to you. Some seniors have to pay a small monthly premium in exchange for their benefits – others may get lucky and end up paying $0 per month for their Medicare Advantage policy.
Each and every Medicare Advantage policy that someone tries to sell you must offer at least identical benefits to Medicare Parts A and B, or else it cannot legally be sold as Medicare. If you settle for the base policy by itself, you may not be protected from all the gaps in Original Medicare coverage. For that, you’ll have to talk to your Medicare Advantage insurance agent and make sure they sell you a policy which contains additional medical benefits that cover these coverage gaps. Some of these gaps have to do with end-of-life and hospice care, while others demand more financial responsibility from you in the event of extended hospital stays or massive blood transfusions. Regardless, be sure to discuss these uncovered gaps with your Medicare Advantage representative to make sure you are adequately and properly protected.
There’s one extra thing you should know about Medicare Advantage that sweetens the deal for a lot of seniors: these policies allow you to purchase extra special coverage which most Medicare supplements don’t. If you want, you will likely have the opportunity to add vision, dental, and/or prescription drug coverage to your Medicare Advantage policy. This gives you the advantage of managing all of your medical care under one plan with the same company – other supplement policies won’t allow you to do this. On the other hand, purchasing more coverage will make it more expensive. And your Medicare Advantage provider may limit the different optometrists, pharmacies, and/or dentists you are allowed to visit. It’s up to you to figure out whether or not the trade-off is worth it.
Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Savings in Las Vegas, NV
Conversely, you have Nevada Medicare Supplement Insurance policies to choose from. While a Medicare Advantage policy is a large, highly customizable private insurance plan from a private company, Medicare Supplement Insurance policies are smaller, standardized insurance policies which are not customizable. They still come from private companies, and they’re still designed to help you protect yourself from the gaps in Original Medicare. But they are specifically focused on those gaps – they do not replace your Medicare, nor do they deal with extra coverage like dental or prescription drugs.
Seniors who end up purchasing Medicare Supplement Insurance usually do so because a big, cumbersome private insurance plan full of bells and whistles they don’t need isn’t all that appealing. They might also be perfectly happy with the government managing their health care needs and don’t necessarily want that system replaced by a private insurance company. They may be healthier than most seniors, and feel that they don’t need to purchase the most comprehensive, Cadillac health insurance policy in order to stay properly covered. Indeed, Medigap policies are smaller and many companies who sell them make managing such policies simple and convenient for the average senior citizen.
There are 10 Medicare supplement policies in all, and they are standardized across all 50 states. This means that whether you’re in Nevada or Nebraska, Medigap Plan A will give you the same benefits. Plans A, D, K, and L focus on giving you medical benefits which cover the gaps in your Medicare Part A Hospital costs. Plans B, C, D, F, G, M, and N, on the other hand, cover your Part A benefits and add additional medical coverage for Medicare Part B costs. Medicare Part B expenses typically revolve around things like doctor visits, outpatient treatment, medical supplies, an excess charges like coinsurance or co-pays. The more coverage you feel you need, the more comprehensive of a plan you will want to purchase. But if you want something as comprehensive as Plan F, for example, you’ll need to hurry; that plan is being phased out in 2020 and will no longer be available after 2021.
For Better or Worse, there is no way to add extra coverage like dental, vision, or prescription drug coverage directly to your Medigap supplement. However, the federal government already has a solution in place for the prescription drugs: Medicare Part D. Most seniors who purchase a Medicare Supplement Plan will also likely enroll in Medicare Part D for assistance with their prescription drugs costs. Beyond that, you’ll have the freedom to find your own dental and/or vision insurance from a private provider near you. If you really want the best deal, be sure to ask about senior discounts so that you can get the most affordable rate.
It’s unfortunate that medical care is so expensive right now. What’s even more unfortunate is the fact that this isn’t going to change anytime soon – in fact, it will likely get worse in the near future. But there are easy and affordable ways you can protect yourself from many of the most expensive Medicare coverage gaps that seniors like you are vulnerable to. If you reach out and contact us today, we can connect you with a representative who will be happy to clear up any confusion you may have and point you in the right direction toward a Medicare supplement policy that is right for you.
|Medigap Plan||Minimum Monthly Premium||Maximum Monthly Premium||Average Estimated Monthly Premium (Part B Premium Included)|
|Plan F (high deductible)||$28||$80||$190|