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Seeing Clearly: Changes Coming to Medicare Premiums and Benefits to Be Aware of in 2020

Update Date: Dec 10, 2019 10:06 PM EST
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Changes Coming to Medicare Premiums and Benefits to Be Aware of in 2020
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With the New Year approaching quickly, some people are looking ahead to the changes coming to Medicare premiums, along with Medicaid plans overall. The fact is, there are a lot of changes coming and knowing what these are can help ensure you are prepared.

Medicare Costs for 2020

While Medicare Part D and Medicare Supplement Plans will experience some significant changes, overall Medicare costs will also change in 2020. In the coming year, Medicare Part A premium will be $458, but there are many people who still qualify for the premium-free Medicare Part A.

Changes are also coming to the Medicare Part B Premium. It will increase to $144.60, and the deductible for the Part B plan will increase to $198 in 2020. You can check out this site to learn more about these changes.

Understanding Medicare Part B Changes

Medicare Part B insurance offers recipient's access to several outpatient medical services, including preventative care. This type of care includes things like mammograms, colonoscopies, flu shots, and more. It also covers typical outpatient things, including home health care, chiropractic care, ambulance rides, lab testing, and doctor's visits.

Some of the changes coming to this coverage include:

Premiums for Part B Coverage

In 2019, the standard premium for Medicare B was $135.50 per month; however, as mentioned above, it's increasing to $144.60 in the coming year. COLA, the Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment is 1.6 percent for 2020. This increase will increase an average retiree's total benefits by approximately $24 per month, which is more than enough to cover the increased premiums seen in Part B (that apply to all enrollees), which are approximately $9.

If your COLA isn't enough to cover the total premium increase for your Part B insurance, the Part B premium can only increase by the total amount of the COLA. This is because the Part B premiums are withheld from the recipient's Social Security checks, and the net checks aren't allowed to decline from one year to the next.

Deductibles for Part B Coverage

In 2017, the Part B deductible was $183. It remained at that amount in 2018, but in 2019 it increased to $185. In 2020, this number is increasing again to $198.

You may have supplemental coverage that will pay this deductible. This includes things like Medigap plans F and C and employer-sponsored plans. The Medigap plans that cover this deductible are only available to enrollees who are newly eligible in 2019.

There are some Medicare Advantage plans that include low deductibles and copays that don't increase along with the Part B deductible, so the benefits designs have had varying fluctuations over the past few years.

Understanding Medicare Part A Changes

Medicare Part A is hospital insurance that covers things like home health care, surgery, lab tests, hospice, skilled nursing facility, and inpatient hospital care. There are out-of-pocket costs when someone requires care; however, most people don't pay a premium for the Part A benefits. The only time this isn't the case is if a person doesn't have 40 quarters of work history.

Premiums for Part A Coverage in 2020

Approximately one percent of enrollees in Medicare Part A has to pay a premium; however, the others receive it for free based on their work history. Over time, premiums for Part A coverage have followed an upward trend, but they are lower in 2019 than what they were in the year 2010.

For 2020, the premiums are going up. For people with 30+, but under 40 total quarters of work history, the cost is $252 per month, which is up from $240 per month in 2019. For those with under 30 quarters of work history, the premium for Part A is now $458 per month for 2020, which is an increase from the 2019 amount of $437 per month.

Deductibles for Part A Coverage in 2020

Part A coverage has a deductible that will apply to every benefit period, instead of the calendar year deductible, which is present in Part B and private insurance plans. Usually, the deductible will increase every year. For 2019, the amount was $1,364, but for 2020, it's increasing up to $1,408.

Coinsurance for Part A Coverage in 2020

The deductible covers the initial 60 days of inpatient care during a benefit period. If the enrollee needs more inpatient coverage during this period, there is a daily coinsurance charge. For 2019, this was $341 each day for the 61st to the 90th day of inpatient care, and this is increasing in 2020 to $352.

An Overview of Additional Changes in Medicare Plans for 2020

The information above provides a general overview of some of the most significant changes coming to Medicare Plans in the year 2020. There are others to be aware of, which include:

  • Medigap plans C and F are no longer able to be purchased by a newly eligible Medicare beneficiary

  • The Medicare Plan Finder tool has been recently updated (which hasn't been done in more than a decade)

  • For Medicare Part D and B, the premium adjustments have been inflation-adjusted with "high-income" now starting at $87K rather than $85K

  • Enrollment in Medicare Advantage is expected to continue to grow

  • The Part D donut hole is going to end with 2019

Understanding these changes will ensure that you are fully aware of what is happening in 2020.

Medicare Premiums: Are You Ready to Handle the Changes?

With all the changes coming to Medicare premiums and the Medicare insurance benefits altogether, understanding what they are is crucial to ensure you are covered. If necessary, work with the professionals for help and information.

Learn more about Medicare coverage and other important health-related information, by visiting our blog. 

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