Medicare Changes for Part A, Part B and Part D & the Social Security COLA Increase

The centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released the outlook for 2018 health coverage, which includes changes in Medicare Parts A & B premiums and deductibles [more pronounce on policyholders protected by ‘harmless provision’ and those who pay surcharges on Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount].

The standard Part B premium amount for 2018 will remain at $134, same as the amount paid the previous year. Likewise, annual deductible for all Medicare Part B beneficiaries is set to remain at $183 as it was in 2017.

The deductible is the amount paid before one enjoys the plan benefit.

We also know that social security benefit for the first time in years will increase by 2.0 percent following cost of living adjustment increase [COLA] as announced by Social Security Administration. This means that social security beneficiaries should anticipate an average increase of $25 in monthly benefit. How does this affect Part B beneficiaries protected by ‘Medicare hold harmless provision’? We’ll also look at the changes in IRMAA surcharges [Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount] as it involves higher income earners who pay additional charges to their premium.

The ‘hold harmless provision’ is a legal bound which prohibits increase to Medicare Part B premium if the cost of living adjustment in social security benefit has no significant increase. In 2017, Medicare Part B premium increased from $104 in 2016 to $134. There was only a slight increase in COLA at the time resulting in a .3 percent rise in social security benefit. The ‘harmless provision’ protected policyholders enrolled in social security benefit as their Medicare premium climbed slightly to $109.

However, in 2018, it is expected that the average increase of $25 in monthly benefit – due to COLA – will offset the premium increase for policyholders covered by ‘hold harmless provision.’

There’s also a significant change to the Income-Related Premiums, whilst other tiers of higher income earners have same surcharges as it was in 2017, Part B policyholders whose income range between $133,501 to $160,000 and 160,001 to $214,000 would now pay as surcharges 65% and 80% respectfully of their Part B program, climbing from initial 50% and 65% respectively.

Medicare Part A Premiums/Deductibles

Medicare Part A enrollees enjoy the following health coverage and benefits; skilled nursing facility, some home health care service and inpatient hospital. A large number of the beneficiaries of this policy do not have Part A premium; being covered by 40 quarters – at least – of Medicare-guaranteed employment.

The following are major changes from the figures we had in 2017:

There is an increase of $24 from $1316 the previous year as Part A deductible increase to $1340 per benefit period in 2018. There will be a cover for inpatient hospital care the first 60 days during a benefit period; however, in 2018 there is an increase of $6 in coinsurance payment from day 61 to day 90 resulting to a daily payment of $335. This is in contrast to $326 paid in 2017 for the same purpose.

In 2017 $658 was paid per day for lifetime reserve days, but in 2018 there’s an increase of $12 to the tune of $670 per day. Part A beneficiaries in a skilled nursing facility will now pay a coinsurance of $167.50 daily from day 21 to day 100. This is an increase of $3 from the amount paid for the same purpose in 2017.

Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan

Original Medicare Parts A & B premiums usually do not come with drug prescription benefits, so most beneficiaries also enroll in Part D to avoid over the counter full payment of drugs.

Major changes in Medicare Part D plan in 2018 are as follow:

The initial deductible is set to climb by $5 rising from $400 the previous year to $405 in 2018. Coverage limit will increase to the tune of $3750 which is in contrast with $3700 limit in 2017. Similarly, the total out of pocket threshold TROOP will also increase by $50 –moving up from $4950 the previous year to $5000 in 2018.

There are possibilities that there will be a change in figures due to new medical discoveries and government policies. Until that happens, you can browse reliable medicare sources and keep yourself updated about different plans.