2020 has finally arrived. January 1 not only brought New Year’s resolutions, but it also arrived with modifications to Medicare coverage. These changes are summarized very briefly below. For more in-depth information, please click on this link.

Changes to Medicare Part B (Medical Services and Supplies)

In 2019, the premium for Medicare Part B stood at $135.50 per month. This has gone up to $144.60 a month in 2020. However, the cost of living adjustment (COLA) for Social Security recipients has been set at 1.6 percent for 2020, which will increase the average benefit by approximately $24 per month. 

That’s more than sufficient to cover the premium increase. In addition to this change, the Part B deductible has increased from $185 to $198.

If you have supplemental coverage that covers your Part B deductible, click here to read about what will be different in 2020.  

Changes to Medicare Part A (Hospitalization Coverage)

Approximately 1 percent of Medicare Part A enrollees pay premiums; everyone else pays nothing. Going forward, you’ll be required to pay a premium for Part A if you don’t have a minimum of 40 quarters of work history (or a spouse with the same). 

Additionally, the Part A deductible has gone up from $1,364 to $1,408. This increase is applicable to all participants, although you may have a supplemental plan that covers all or part of this deductible.

Changes to Medicare Part D (Prescription Drugs)

For stand-alone Part D prescription drug plans, the maximum allowable deductible has increased from $415 to $435. Also, the expenditure threshold (where catastrophic coverage starts) has gone up significantly, rising from $5,100 to $6,350. Copays for people reaching the catastrophic level have also increased slightly.

The good news is that the Part D Donut Hole for brand-name or generic drugs has finally closed. Enrollees in standard Part D plans will pay 25 percent of the cost of drugs (after the deductible is met) until they have reached the catastrophic threshold.

Medigap Plans C and F No Longer Available to New Enrollees

Medigap Plans C and F (and the high-deductible Plan F) have been eliminated. However, people who became Medicare-eligible before 2020 and have Plan C or F can opt to keep it. A new high-deductible Plan G has been introduced to replace the high-deductible Plan F.

Inflation Adjustments for High-Income Brackets

Since income brackets were introduced, the high-income threshold has been set at $85,000 ($170,000 for a married couple). Beginning in 2020, this figure will be adjusted for inflation. Also, a premium surcharge applies to Medicare beneficiaries with earnings of at least $87,000 per year ($174,000 for a married couple).

Upgraded Medicare Plan Finder

The Medicare Plan Finder has been upgraded for the first time in a decade. The new tool includes increased automation and a wide range of other improvements.

Medicare Advantage Enrollment Will Continue to Increase

Approximately 22 million people are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans. Participation in these plans has been growing steadily over the last 15 years. The new Medicare Plan Finder tool is designed in a way that could boost the growth in Advantage enrollment even further.

Will Medicare Cover In-Home Health Care in 2020?

Unfortunately, Medicare coverage for in-home health care will still be very limited. However, some Medicare Advantage plans may provide more benefits. If you live in the greater Columbia area, Caring Healthcare can provide all your home care needs. We are waiting on the other end of the phone to talk to you about the kind of help you need. Call us today.