Like every year, the government makes changes to Medicare in order for it to run properly. It is very important for Medicare participants to keep up with the changes made every year. Here are a some of the key Medicare changes in 2017.
Premiums are Rising
If you qualify for free Medicare Part A coverage then your premiums will not rise. But if you are paying a premium for Part A, then you will see a slight rise in you costs. The maximum coverage cost is expected to rise from $411 to $413.
Premiums for Part B cover Doctor services, inpatient and outpatient medical and surgical services and supplies, physical and speech therapy, diagnostic tests, durable medical equipment, and other services. Part B premiums will also rise in 2017.
If you are already enrolled in Medicare and your premiums are deducted from your social security check, then you will be mostly protected from these rises. Because of the hold harmless provision, the premiums are limited to increase by only .3 percent.
For everyone else, the premiums will rise as usual. Premium increases are based on taxable income. The chart below summarizes the some of the major Medicare changes in 2017.
|File Individual Tax Return||File Joint Tax Return||File Married & Separate Tax Return||Monthly Cost (2016)||Monthly Cost (2017)|
|$85,000 or less||$170,000 or less||$85,000 or less||$121.80||$134.00|
|Above $85,000 up to $107,000||Above $170,000 up to $214,000||Not applicable||$170.50||$187.50|
|Above $107,000 up to $160,000||Above $214,000 up to $320,000||Not applicable||$243.60||$267.90|
|Above $160,000 up to $214,000||Above $320,000 up to $428,000||above $85,000 and up to $129,000||$316.70||$348.30|
|Above $214,000||Above $428,000||Above $129,000||$389.80||$428.60|
Part D premiums are also expected to rise by 4 percent in 2017.
Higher Deductibles and Co-payments
Even if you’re not paying a premium for Part A coverage, you are still paying to use the coverage. Below is a table summarizing the deductibles and co-payments of Medicare changes in 2017.
|Days 1-60: coinsurance costs per day||$0||$0|
|Days 61-90: coinsurance costs per day||$322||$329|
|Days 91 and beyond||$644||$658|
Part B deductibles are also rising. In 2016, the annual deductible was $166 per year while the 2017 deductible is rising to $183 per year. Once you have met your deductible, you are generally responsible the cost 20% of your Medicare services.
Part D deductibles vary by plan, but the cap was changed from $360 in 2016 to $400 in 2017. Some drug plans do not have a deductible at all which in that case, the deductible rise would not affect you.
Less Medicare Part D Choices
The number of Medicare Part D plans options are expected to drop by 16% in 2017. This will be the smallest number of options since Medicare Part D was introduced in 2006. Even with these changes, Medicare participants are still expected to have access to at least 18 plans in each state.
Medicare changes in 2017 will result in some cost increases and can be confusing and difficult to understand, so be sure to find the best plan for your needs.
If you are nearing or already 65 and would like more information on Medicare Plans in Washington State, please visit our Overview of Medicare, as well as our guide for those who are New to Medicare. For assistance in choosing a Medicare plan, contact us to get in touch with a licensed insurance agent today!