CHANGES IN 2018 MEDICARE COSTS
by John Claeys
We, at Claeys Group Insurance, would like to take this opportunity to wish you a Happy New Year. With the new year comes hopes, dreams, and changes for the individual.
However, when speaking of Medicare, the new year may not bring hopes and dreams, but it will certainly bring changes. These changes include increases in Medicare deductibles, copays, and premium. If you are on Medicare, these changes could be significant for you and will be good for you to know—if, simply, to amaze your friends and family with your knowledge.
2018 MEDICARE PART A CHANGES
To begin, the Medicare Part A deductible has increased for 2018. But before we can understand what the increase means for you, we need to, first, understand what Medicare Part A is.
Medicare Part A provides coverage for hospitalization, hospice, home health, and skilled nursing. (For more specifics on this coverage, see How Does Medicare Work?) If you have Original Medicare without a supplement, that Medicare Part A deductible means that if you enter the hospital, you will pay a deductible of $1,340. This deductible applies for each benefit period hospitalization of days 1-60.
For 2018, the Medicare Part A deductible has been raised from the 2017 deductible of $1,316. That is change number one for 2018.
Change number two concerns the Medicare Part A copays. If, for example, you are hospitalized for an extended period, you will pay a per-day copay of $335 for days 61 – 90, which is an increase from the 2017 copay of $329. However, Medicare also covers hospitalization for days 91 – 150, but that experience comes with a 2018 copay of $670 for each day, while the 2017 per-day copay for that period was $658. (If your head is swirling in an attempt to grasp all of those numbers, hang in there, we will summarize with an easy-to-follow chart soon.)
2018 MEDICARE PART B CHANGES
Medicare Part B, which covers medical insurance (including doctor charges, outpatient medical [such as labs, tests, x-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and durable medical equipment], preventive services, and ambulance [among other things]), has its own deductible. This deductible, unlike the Part A deductible, is an annual deductible. For 2018, that deductible remains the same as it was for 2017—$183.
After meeting the Part B deductible, the individual with Original Medicare (without a supplement) will pay 20% of the remainder of his Part B costs for the rest of the calendar year. This remains the same as in 2017.
OVERVIEW OF 2018 MEDICARE CHANGES
To see these differences more clearly, see the chart below:
|Medicare Part A|
|Deductible (Days 1- 60)||$1,316||$1,340|
|Copay: Days 61 – 90||$329||$335|
|Copay: Days 91 – 150||$658||$670|
|Medicare Part B|
2018 MEDICARE PART B PREMIUM
While there are changes for 2018, not everything is changing. For example, the Medicare Part B monthly premium will remain at $134. (However, anyone enrolling onto Medicare Part B prior to 2016 has been grandfathered at a lower monthly premium.)
WHAT THESE CHANGES MEAN FOR YOU
So, what do these changes mean for you? If you have a Plan F Medicare supplement, none of the Part A and Part B changes (outside of the premium) will affect you, as you will still have zero out of pocket for hospitalization and other medical charges (including doctor charges). If you possess a Plan G supplement, your annual deductible will remain at $183, while other supplements will change according to their gaps in coverage. (To discover which Medicare supplement is best for you, see the article appropriately entitled Which Supplement Is Best for You?)
If you have Original Medicare, you will be directly affected by each of the changes for 2018. However, if you possess a Medicare Advantage Plan, these changes will not directly affect you, but they WILL affect Advantage Plans going forward. (If you possess a Medicare Advantage Plan, you may be interested in Keys to Your Best Medicare Advantage Plan.)
HOPE FOR GOOD CHANGES AHEAD FOR YOU
Changes are expected, and Medicare does not disappoint, as it offers changes each year. But, hopefully, any other change you experience in 2018 will be for your very best. We at Claeys Group wish that for you.
June 14, 2019
March 7, 2019