Whether you’ve retired from your job or your employer doesn’t offer medical coverage, you should look for a suitable health insurance plan for your medical expenses. You can sign up for the national health insurance plan, Medicare, for healthcare coverage.
There are certain factors to consider when signing up for Medicare such as the monthly premium, prescription drug coverage gap, yearly deductibles, and making sure that your doctor accepts the Medicare plan.
In late 2017, the US government revised the insurance plan. Before you buy the insurance, you should fully understand these changes to determine whether or not this insurance policy will work for you.
Here’s what’s new in the Medicare insurance for 2018:
Medicare Part B Premiums
Medicare Part B plan covers the cost of medical equipment and other outpatient services that are essential for your treatment.
If you aren’t claiming Social Security benefits, you have to pay $134 in monthly premiums. For people collecting Social Security benefits, the premium was automatically deducted from the benefits until 2017. But with the recent changes, they have to pay higher premiums every year.
Medicare Part B Deductibles
In 2017, the Part B deductibles were increased to $183 and they remain unchanged in 2018. Some enrollees buy supplemental coverage plans, such as Medigap plans C and F, to pay their Part B deductibles.
But with the recent developments, new enrollees can’t purchase C and F plans of Medigap to pay Medicare Part B deductibles. As for the other advantage plans, the benefits remain unchanged.
The policyholders who pay the Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount may have noticed a significant increase in premiums. It’s because the government passed the MACRA Act which led to an increase in premiums for higher tiers.
Medicare Part D
Until 2017, the Part D deductibles were $400 for the insurance policyholders. However, due to the recent changes, deductibles have increased to $405. However, Medicare patients can benefit from a $50 increase in the initial coverage limit. Moreover, the out-of-pocket threshold is also increased by $50.
The good thing about the revised plan is that the Medicare plan aims to gradually close the doughnut gap. The enrollees have to pay only 44% of the actual cost of generic drugs and 35% cost of branded prescription drugs.
Revised Medicare Cards
Despite offering various benefits, Medicare cards became controversial when they caused a myriad of identity theft cases. In order to protect cardholders from this critical issue, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services decided to remove social security numbers from Medicare cards in 2018.
CMS started issuing the new cards in April 2018 and sends replacement cards to the mailing addresses of registered patients. It’s expected that they will complete the procedure by mid-2019. From January 2020, only the new cards will be accepted.
Whether you’re new to Medicare health insurance plans or have an enrollee for years, it’ll benefit you to stay up-to-date with the latest changes in the insurance plan.