Medicare has released the Medicare benefits changes for 2019. Generally, the benefit changes are relatively moderate. Following, is a brief outline of the Medicare benefits that have changed for 2019.
Monthly Premium for Medicare Part B
The standard monthly cost for Medicare Part B for 2019 will be $135.50. This is a modest increase from the $134.00 standard cost for 2018.
Interestingly, there is a segment of Americans that will not be affected by this increase at all. Around 2 million Medicare beneficiaries are shielded from such changes by the statutory "hold harmless" provision. The monthly premium amount they will be required to pay in 2019, is less because this provision limits specific increases in Part B premiums to be no greater than the increase in their Social Security benefits.
The hold harmless provision acts as a safety net for the segment of Medicare beneficiaries that can least afford increased healthcare costs.
Medicare Part A Deductible
Medicare Part A features a deductible that usually incurs a slight increase each year. In 2018 the deductible amount was $1,340. This year, the deductible will be increased to $1,364.
The Part A deductible applies to the first 60 hospital inpatient days during a benefit period. If the enrollee needs additional inpatient coverage during that same benefit period, there's a daily coinsurance charge. In 2019, after the first 60 days of inpatient care, the amount of medical fees that you are responsible for will be $341 per day for the 61st through 90th day of inpatient care. This is a somewhat significant increase from the $235 amount in 2018.
The coinsurance for lifetime reserve days has increased from $670 per day in 2018, to $682 per day in 2019.
You may not be aware of the Medicare part a deductible fees, as most Medicare supplement plans pick up most of these expenses.
Medicare Part B Deductible
The Medicare Part B deductible was $183 in 2017 and it remained at that level in 2018. For 2019, however, this deductible has increased to $185.
There is also an increase in what Medicare does not pick up for cost incurred within days 21 through 100, for skilled nursing facility services. In 2019, it's $170.50 per day, up from $167.50 per day in 2018.
For more information on Medicare changes, including changes to Medicare Part D coverage and Advantage Care, please give us a call.