The Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services have recently announced how Medicare is going to change in 2018. While there are little changes, and most of the changes will be absorbed by enrollees Medicare Supplement coverage, it is still important to stay informed and understand what that supplement is paying for.
Original Medicare Part A
Part A of Original Medicare, which covers hospital expenses, will have some increases. The inpatient hospital deductible is increasing, to $1,340 from $1,316. This benefit covers the first 60 days in the hospital. The daily coinsurance for days 61-90 in the hospital is increasing from $329 to $335, and the daily coinsurance for lifetime reserve days, which starts on day 91, is increasing from $658 to $670.
Part A is also increasing for beneficiaries in skilled nursing facilities. For days 21 through 100, the daily coinsurance will increase to $167.50 from $164.50.
Most consumers with a Medicare Supplement will have these charges covered for them by the supplement.
Original Medicare Part B
Part B, which covers outpatient and doctors services, will not have a premium increase; it will be staying the same at $134 monthly for 2018. Some enrollees will have a Part B premium increase due to the fact that they were not paying this $134 because of the “hold harmless” provision. The “hold harmless” provision requires that if Social Security benefits were not increased in the past, Part B premiums cannot be increased either. Social Security benefits are increasing 2% in 2018 due to the Cost of Living adjustment, therefore, most enrollees Part B premium will now be $134.
Some people will pay a higher Part B premium due to IRMAA, or income-related monthly adjustment amounts. Since 2007, beneficiaries with higher incomes have paid a higher Part B premium. IRMAA affects about 5% of Medicare beneficiaries. If you are single and make over $85,000 a year or you are filing a joint return and make more than $170,000, you could pay as much as $428.60 a month for your Part B premium because of IRMAA. This is based on a scale, so the more you make, the more your IRMAA surcharges will be, but premium payments are capped at $428.60 a month right now.
The Part B deductible is also staying the same, remaining at $183. If you have a Medicare Supplement Plan G, you pay this out of pocket, and this amount is unchanged. If you have a Medicare Supplement Plan F, this deductible is paid for you. If you would like to learn more about Medicare Supplement plans, go to CardinalGuide.com/Medicare or read chapter 3 in “The Complete Cardinal Guide to Planning for and Living in Retirement”. To see premium comparisons of different Medicare Supplement plans, pick up “The Complete Cardinal Guide to Planning for and Living in Retirement Workbook”. Medicare Supplements can be switched any time during the year.
These changes will not have a huge impact on most Medicare beneficiaries due to the fact that Medicare Supplements are going to pay these increases. For more information on Medicare, how it works, IRMAA, supplement options, and to get a personalized Medicare Supplement rate quote, visit CardinalGuide.com/Medicare.
Hans Scheil is the author of “The Complete Cardinal Guide to Planning for and Living in Retirement” and the accompanying workbook. He can be reached at Hans@CardinalGuide.com.