Happy New Year. So many changes come with the New Year that it is hard to keep everything organized. I wanted to take a little time to give you a quick update on Medicare.
• The Medicare Part B premium: The standard premium amount for 2018 is $134 as it was in 2017. Many people will pay less than this depending on their Social Security; $130 is the average Part B Premium in 2018. Some people will pay more for their Part B in 2018 than they did in 2017; the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for Social Security is going up by two percent which will allow Medicare to increase some Medicare premiums as long as it is not by more than two percent. You will get a notification from Social Security as to what your premium will be for 2018.
• The Medicare Part A deductible (Part A is the Hospital or in-patient part of Medicare) will go from $1,316 per benefit period to $1,340 per benefit period.
• The Medicare Part B deductible will remain the same at $183 per year.
• The Medicare Part D (prescription) coverage gap also known as the do-nut hole is still closing with there scheduled to be no coverage gap starting in 2020. For 2018 those in the coverage gap will pay 35 percent of the cost of name brand prescriptions and 44 percent of generic drug costs.
• If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) and you would like to disenroll from that plan and return to Original Medicare, you have until February 14.
• Anyone on Extra Help can change their prescription or Advantage plan throughout the year, if you missed Open Enrollment we may still be able to help you.
• There are programs that could help those who have limited income and resources pay for the different parts of Medicare, call our office for more information.
• Finally new Medicare cards will be sent out starting in April. I know I keep saying this, but it is a huge undertaking for Medicare. The cards will be mailed to the address Social Security has on file for you.
As always for additional information or if you have questions, please call Aging Matters; 800-392-8771 or 573-335-3331.