Medicare is a health insurance plan for Americans over the age of 65. While it provides coverage to nearly all people in this age group, there are some costs it does not cover. People affected by this gap in coverage can purchase additional insurance which is known Medicare Supplemental Insurance or Medigap. For those looking for Medigap insurance, a life insurance company can provide a number of policies and choices.
Healthcare for an aging population
The number of Americans over the age of 65 is expected to double between 2010 and 2050, rising to 89 million people. By 2050, they will compose 20% of the total population. For older adults, the biggest healthcare expenses are due to chronic diseases like diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease. For a number of reasons including lifestyle and diet, the incidence of chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes is much higher in the U.S than in other countries.
As many as 87% of older Americans suffer from one chronic condition and 68% suffer from two or more. While Medicare provides coverage for most illnesses, there are some costs that are not covered. This gap in coverage can become costly. As many as 20% of all people surveyed last year reported out-of-pocket medical expenses of $2,000 or higher.
The Medicare gap
People affected by the gap in Medicare coverage can purchase additional insurance from private insurance companies. In 2016, Medicare paid only 55% of the cost of brand name drugs and 42% of the cost of generic drugs. Due to the gap in coverage, Medicare enrollees have to pay for part of their healthcare costs themselves. As of 2012, the average household spending on Medicare was $4,722.
Private insurance companies like a life insurance company also offer Medicare gap coverage. Medicare gap coverage is also known as Medicare supplemental insurance, and covers costs that Medicare does not. Medigap insurance policies can cover costs like medical and emergency costs while traveling. Medigap also covers co-pays for many Medicare expenses like hospital, skilled nursing facility, home health care, ambulance, durable medical equipment, and doctor charges.
Medicare works for older adults
Older adults are automatically enrolled in Medicare when they turn 65. As of 2014, total Medicare benefit payments amounted to $597.2 billion. With 39.7 million Americans over the age of 65 enrolled in 2013, Medicare works well on the whole, providing health insurance coverage for 98% of this demographic.
As well as health care expenses, Medicare aprovides free preventive health services like flu shots and screenings for cancer, diabetes, and other chronic diseases. Overall, about 69% of all Americans feel that Medicare works well. Among seniors who have direct experience, 80% believe that it serves them well.
For someone looking for Medigap coverage, the place to start is with a life insurance company. They can find a variety of health insurance policies to provide the kind of coverage they need.