Costly gaps in Medicare coverage under Parts A and B are nothing new. But what can be done about taking care of them? With more of us getting older, these sorts of trials aren’t just for some spare change. They can mean the difference between living and dying. As a resident of Alaska, you face some less-than-common challenges that most other seniors may not when it comes to choosing the most affordable insurance option for you.
Senior Medicare in Anchorage: Facts and Figures
- There are 27,404 senior citizens living in Anchorage right now
- There 7 hospitals in the Anchorage area where seniors can get emergency and/or in-patient care
- 1% of Alaska seniors have a Medicare Advantage plan
- 12% of seniors have a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan
- Which leaves 87% of seniors potentially uninsured or underinsured against costly Medicare coverage gaps!
Many seniors are afflicted with particular types of disease as they reach a certain age. Unfortunately, these tend to be the variety which are lingering and persistent, requiring care from diagnosis to end of life. Many can worsen over the passage of time, making medical costs skyrocket as the years pass. There is substantial evidence to suggest that seniors will likely suffer more than just one of these ailments at a time, too. That means costs doubling and tripling in a blink. Here are the more prevalent chronic diseases in Anchorage.
|Disease||Prevalence (in Anchorage)|
|High Blood Pressure||31%|
|Coronary Heart Disease||6%|
Healthcare Costs in Anchorage, AK
We cannot talk about chronic disease without talking about money. Medicine, equipment, hospital care, doctor’s visits; they all add up quickly. And they keep adding up as more time goes on. Seniors are living longer lives than ever, which is fantastic. But that quality of life quickly diminishes when crushed under the weight of unending medical debt. Now is more important than ever to ensure you have adequate protection for the next phase of your life. Affordable, comprehensive, helpful healthcare coverage is the most important preparation.
|Disease||Prevalence (in Anchorage)||Annual Cost of Treatment|
|High Blood Pressure||31%||$356|
|Coronary Heart Disease||6%||$8,949|
Medicare Advantage Savings in Anchorage, AK
The federal government has approved Medicare Advantage as a form of private health insurance. It is open to senior citizens who are eligible to be on Medicare, even if they are not currently enrolled in a Medicare plan. Instead of the government paying for your medical bills directly, they send their contribution towards your Medicare Advantage premium, and you only owe the difference. In many cases, this ends up being zero. These plans, by law, have to cover at least Medicare Parts A and B, and more cover additional in the form of vision or dental.
Medicare Advantage plans offer better coverage for the needs of seniors with these common chronic illnesses, according to the statements of those seniors themselves. Every illness, but especially those that are long-term and near the end of life, requires consistent management to alleviate symptoms and ensure a good quality of life. This can include prescriptions, testing items, frequent doctor visits, and more. As these conditions worsen, costs still continue to increase. Fortunately, there are Medicare Advantage plans which can cover even more than a traditional Medicare plan, even when said Medicare plan includes extras like Part D. To be ready for your remaining future, you have to prepare beforehand with Medicare Advantage.
Medicare Advantage plans cover every bit as much as Medicare Parts A and B, and then even more. They can include all of those doctor visits and pieces of equipment, as well as potentially a plan for necessary drugs. A majority of the offered plans are presented with an option to include any combination of the variety of expenses – even dental or vision. Since the government pays a portion of the Medicare Advantage premium, many seniors can enjoy an additional monthly premium starting as low as $0. Coinsurance and copays will still be patient responsibilities, as well as out-of-pocket costs, but they will be significantly reduced.
Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Savings in Anchorage, AK
Medigap policies can help to save so much money because they work differently than other policies, particularly when it comes to Medicare Part A. The most difficult conditions – like kidney failure or coronary heart disease – can cost upwards of thousands of dollars, even potentially reaching six figures. And that’s just for hospital stays and inpatient treatments, not including continuing care outside of the hospital setting. If you have to stay in the hospital for a prolonged period of time, or have a procedure like a blood transfusion, those aren’t covered either under Medicare Part A. That is why you need supplemental coverage like Medigap to fill in those holes in coverage and protect against costly additional medical expenses.
Right now, there are four plans designed to cover the gaps in Part A of Medicare. These plans are A, D, K, and L. They are designed to save you money, while keeping you protected. Other plans offered cover gaps in Part A as well as Part B, but more on that below. If you don’t expect Medicare Part B to have extraneous costs and are more concerned about hospital says and associated expenses, you should know that Medigap policies which cover only Part A gaps are less expensive than others. The lower monthly cost could save even more money over time.
Medigap Plans B, C, D, F, G, M, and N, are all created to cover the gaps in both Medicare Part A as well as various other aspects of Medicare Part B. The more thorough the coverage in your plan, the higher the premium is likely to be. But, this also means that you will likely have much less out-of-pocket costs, so it still could save you money in the long run. It all depends on your specific insurance product needs. Be certain to note that Plan F is set to retire in 2020, and will not be offered any longer as of 2021.
There are gaps in Medicare Part B as well to take into consideration. Part A is supposed to take care of hospital visits and inpatient care, and Part B should, in theory, take care of the rest. This isn’t always how things work, however. Copays and coinsurance remain the responsibility of the insured, as usual, and can add up to a considerable amount over time. There are a variety of different plans which can compensate for this so that patients like you don’t get overwhelmed with too many medical bills.
Medicare Advantage has coverage options for prescriptions, dental, and vision, for an additional premium. However, Medicare Supplement Insurance does not. Original Medicare offers Part D for these coverages, which can be purchased with or without any other Original Medicare parts. A Google search for Anchorage plus the terms “dental” or “vision” and “insurance” can yield several alternative options as well, many of which are quite cost-saving.
For all seniors in Anchorage, it is of the utmost importance that you understand the principles and advantages of a supplemental Medicare health plan. These can be the difference between living through your golden years or having them rust and turn to bronze years. The rising cost of medicine and care is out of control, but what we can control is how we prepare to face the inevitable. You absolutely have to find a Medicare supplement policy that fits your needs, yet doesn’t break the bank. We want to help you do exactly that.
|Medigap Plan||Minimum Monthly Premium||Maximum Monthly Premium||Average Estimated Monthly Premium (Part B Premium Included)|
|Plan F (high deductible)||$31||$73||$188|