2019 Medicare benefit changes.


We've come to expect that every year there will be a few changes to the benefits that Medicare offers.  Usually, the change in benefits adversely affects the consumer.  2019 is no exception.  Fortunately, this time around, the expected annual changes in benefits are generally modest.  Following, is a brief outline of which Medicare benefits have changed, and for what amounts, for 2019.

The standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B in 2019 is $135.50.  This is a slight increase from the $134.00 standard premium in 2018.  As modest as this increase is, some will not be affected at all.  Approximately 2 million Medicare beneficiaries will be shielded from this premium change by the statutory "hold harmless" provision.  The monthly premium this segment of the Medicare community will have to pay, will not be affected because this provision limits specific increases in Part B premiums to be no greater than the increase in their Social Security benefits.  As for everyone else, we can take solace in the fact that this increase is indeed modest. 

Medicare Part A Deductible

Medicare Part A, has a deductible that generally increases each year.  In 2018 it was $1,340.  This year it is increasing 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 the lion's share 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.