Actually, there are a number of changes that could affect Medicare participants that are worth a mention here.
Higher Part B & D premiums for higher incomes: Medicare participants with an annual income of $500,000 or $750,000 for married couples will pay higher premiums for Part B and Part D.
- The standard monthly premium for Part B is $144.30
- Premium surcharges or increases begin at $87,000 in income for single persons, $174,000 for married couples.
- New income brackets have been added for individuals making $500,000 + or $750,000 and up for married couples. The Part B premiums for individuals in this group will be $490.50.
No New Participants for Medigap Plans C & F: Beginning in 2020, new (as in not previously enrolled Medicare) participants will no longer be able to purchase a Medicare Supplement/Medigap plan that includes your Part B deductibles.
- The standard Part B deductible, which is in addition to your Part B premium, is $197 per year in 2020.
- Therefore, Medigap plans that were referred to as Medigap C and F will be discontinued for 2020 for new enrollees.
- If you already have one of these plans, you will be able to keep them and have your Part B deductible covered, at least for the time being.
- You may recall that Medigap/Medicare Supplement Plans are denoted by letters A through N- just more letters to add to Medicare’s Alphabet Soup!
No More Donut Holes! If you already participate in Medicare, you likely know exactly what this is referring to; if you are new to Medicare, you are likely saying “What do donuts have to do with Medicare???”. To explain:
- The “Donut Hole” previously referred to a gap in all Prescription Drug Plans/Medicare Part D, where you became responsible for the entire cost of your prescriptions.
- Now, however, the “Donut Hole” has been closed, so that Prescription Drug Plan participants will pay 25% of the cost of their prescriptions until they reach the level of expenditures that is called “catastrophic”, or the maximum out-of-pocket that you could bear for the year. This max out-of-pocket is generally around $6350.
The news regarding premium increases and adjustments are not surprising, but the changes to the “Donut Hole” is one that will be appreciated by many subscribers, so at least there is a bit of good news to help offset some of the other variety.