2018 has brought many new changes for Medicare patients. If you have a Medicare plan, you should be aware of these changes. Here are some of the biggest changes that you will see this year, including information and resources regarding new Medicare cards that will begin to be mailed out in April.
Medicare Part A
Deductibles have increased to $1,340 per benefit period. The deductible for 2017 was $1,316.
Hospital coinsurance has also undergone a $6 per day increase for days 61-90 of hospitalization. Beneficiaries are covered for shared costs for the first 60 days. Beneficiaries in a skilled nursing facility saw an increase in their daily coinsurance for days 21-100 of $3 from 2017. Lifetime reserve days have increased from $658 to $670 per day.
Medicare Part B
The annual deductible for Medicare Part B has stayed the same for 2018, as have the standard premiums. However, there are a few major changes to take note of.
Those who are protected by the “hold harmless” provision saw an increase. The hold harmless rule applies if you collect Social Security benefits and your Medicare Part B premium is deducted from those benefits each month. Most Medicare beneficiaries are covered by this.
If you have a higher income and therefore pay the Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA), you may have also seen your premium increase.
IRMAA works in tiered income patterns. The first two tiers remained the same as far as premium surcharges. However, those who fall into higher tiers may be seeing higher premium surcharges in 2018 as a result of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA). The income levels in tiers three through five were changed this year, meaning you may have gone from paying 50% of Part B costs to 65% or even 80%.
Medicare Part D
The Part D deductible for Medicare patients will increase slightly in 2018 from $400 to $405. Beneficiaries should be happy to see a $50 increase in their initial coverage limit for Medicare Part D. The new limit for 2018 is $3750. The out-of-pocket threshold for Medicare in 2018 is $5,000, which is $50 more than in 2017. The maximum copay for 2018 is $3.35 for generic drugs and $8.35 for other drugs.
New Medicare Cards
In order to protect Medicare beneficiaries from medical identity theft, the centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) are removing social security numbers from Medicare cards and replacing them with unique Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) numbers. Starting in April 2018, the new Medicare cards with MBIs will begin the process of being mailed out in phases by geographic location. This process is expected to be completed by April 2019. Beginning January 1, 2020, only new cards will be usable.
10 Things Medicare Beneficiaries Should Know About Their New Medicare Cards
1. Your card is being mailed out based on geographic location, but your card could arrive at a different time from your neighbor’s.
2. Once you receive your new Medicare card, destroy the old one.
3. Only give your new Medicare card number to people you trust to handle your Medicare on your behalf.
4. Know that your new Medicare number is unique to you.
5. Your new card is paper, so if you ever need a replacement card, you can print one.
6. Always keep your new card with you.
7. Your healthcare facilities and providers will be asking for your new card at your next visit.
8. If you forgot your new card at home, don’t worry. Your healthcare provider or doctor can look it up online.
9. If you’re on Medicare Advantage, your plan ID card is still your main card for Medicare. Make sure to carry your ID card as well as your new Medicare card on you.
10. If you don’t receive your new Medicare card by April 2019, call 1-800-MEDICARE.
Original Article by David Haass