Most people understand by now that Medicare Parts A and B are about as holy as most standard golf courses. But how does one take care of those gaps effectively without breaking the bank? The answer is simple! There are insurance policies for the sole purpose of providing in those instances. They are called Medicare Advantage and Medigap policies. As a Virginia senior, there are surely plenty of questions you have about the topic of insurance, especially gap coverage.
Senior Medicare in Virginia Beach: Facts and Figures
- There are 57,174 senior citizens living in Virginia Beach right now
- There 9 hospitals in the Virginia Beach area where seniors can get emergency and/or in-patient care
- 17% of VA seniors have a Medicare Advantage plan
- 24% of seniors have a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan
- Which leaves 59% 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 Virginia Beach:
|Disease||Prevalence (in Virginia Beach)|
|High Blood Pressure||30%|
|Coronary Heart Disease||5%|
Healthcare Costs in Virginia Beach, VA
Of course, it is vital to understand how expensive these diseases are to treat. Prescriptions, medical equipment, in- and out-patient care, doctor appointments; it all adds up. Not to mention, all medical costs in general are on the rise every year. A doctor’s appointment today is more expensive than the same doctor’s appointment at the same office with the same doctor this time last year. The upside is, thanks to advancing medicine, seniors are living longer. But they’re also incurring more and more medical debt. This means it is more important now than ever before to ensure your coverage is up to snuff going into your senior years.
|Disease||Prevalence (in Virginia Beach)||Annual Cost of Treatment|
|High Blood Pressure||30%||$288|
|Coronary Heart Disease||5%||$7,375|
Medicare Advantage Savings in Virginia Beach, VA
While Medicare Advantage is not government-issued, it is government-approved. Technically, Medicare Advantage is a separate, private insurance plan, but with very unique benefits. Insurance costs aren’t paid for by the government, but instead they redirect your intended costs to Medicare Advantage, and any remainder becomes the patient premium. This cost can be, in many cases, as low as $0 a month. Medicare Advantage must cover at least the same as Medicare Parts A & B, but many outside insurers offer add-on benefits for more premium.
Medicare Advantage plans can offer many seniors better coverage options for their chronic ailments. Diseases like diabetes, arthritis, and high blood pressure are generally progressive and last until end-of-life, plus require extra effort to manage. Drug tests, prescriptions, equipment, additional doctor visits; all of these things can and do culminate over time, resulting in a higher bill. Medicare Advantage can be more effective than just Medicare plans alone. Over time, as these conditions continue to get worse, bills will continue to pile up. Even with Medicare Part D, you can get more coverage and save more money with some Medicare Advantage plans. It’s important to start budgeting now for the inevitable cost.
With Medicare Advantage plans, you can receive much more inclusive benefits than traditional Medicare Parts A & B. They include visits to the doctor, necessary equipment, and potentially a valuable money-saving drug plan. A good portion of plans also include the option to add dental coverage or vision coverage to the policy. Because the government pays their portion of the monthly premium, the cost to seniors is drastically reduced, and in some cases can even be as low as $0 per month! Copays and coinsurance will still need to come from out-of-pocket, and there may be other items that are not covered by your insurance policy, no matter how broad it is.
Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Savings in Virginia Beach, VA
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 additional 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.
Other Medigap plans available are Plans B, C, D, F, G, M, and N. They cover Medicare Part A costs as well as differing portions of Part B. The more coverage your plan provides, the more the monthly premium will cost. But, this also means far fewer out-of-pocket surprises when situations arise, both for Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. A few dollars more in premium could save potentially thousands in medical bills. It is worth noting that Plan F will be retiring at the end of 2020, and you cannot enroll in it after December of 2020.
Medicare part B plans are supposed to take care of aspects that Part A does not, namely outpatient procedures, General Practitioner and Specialist visits, and some select pieces of medical equipment. Co-pays, coinsurance, and premiums for original Medicare part B can be difficult, however. There are many options to reduce this cost and help from the expenses getting overwhelming.
Medicare Supplement Insurance does not have coverage for medical drugs, dental, or vision care, unlike Medicare Advantage. Traditional Medicare does offer Part D, which is coverage specifically for the above mentioned items, whether or not any other original plan is purchased. With a quick search through your preferred search engine, you can likely find alternate dental or vision coverage in your area for an affordable price.
For Virginia Beach seniors, having budget-friendly Medicare is integral to securing a comfortable, livable retirement, not to mention protecting any accrued savings. It is sad to say, but medical costs seem to only continue rising over time, and it is due to factors far beyond our control. But what we do have control over are the ways in which we prepare. Find a Medicare supplement insurance plan that will help you when you need it most, and keep you safe from pricy gaps. We want to help make that happen.
|Medigap Plan||Minimum Monthly Premium||Maximum Monthly Premium||Average Estimated Monthly Premium (Part B Premium Included)|
|Plan F (high deductible)||$24||$61||$178|