The Center for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) recently announced the 2010 Medicare changes, which will have some affect on all Medicare beneficiaries. Despite the fact that there is no cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security for 2010 (for the first time in 20+ years), there are some significant changes to Medicare deductibles, plan premiums, etc that you should be familiar with.
- New Medicare Deductibles
This is the area that affects the largest number of Medicare beneficiaries. The Medicare Part A deductible is increasing from $1060 (2009) to $1100 (2010), and the Medicare Part B deductible is increasing from $135 (2009) to $155 (2010). For those that have Medigap policies, which cover these deductibles, you will not have increased out of pocket costs at the doctor or hospital, obviously. However, if you do not have a Medigap plan to fill in these Medicare deductibles, you will pay these higher amounts beginning in January 2010.
- Part B premium increase
In many cases, the Medicare Part B premium is NOT increasing for 2010. If you currently are paying the standard Part B premium (in most cases, deducted from your SSI check) of $96.40, your premium will likely stay the same.
However, if you are new Medicare Part B enrollee (as of 1/1/2010) OR if you have an income over $85,000 (individual) or $170,000 (married couple), you will likely pay a higher amount. For those new to Medicare Part B, the new standard premium is $110.50, which is a 15% increase from the 2009 Part B premium.
- Changes to Medicare Supplement plans
The Medicare Supplement (Medigap) changes do not actually take effect until June 1, 2010; however, when they do, they will provide some new options and mark the end to some old options. Some plans, such as Plan J, will not be available to NEW applicants, whereas two new plans, M and N, will begin (Medicare Supplement Plans M and N). For a full outline of the new standardized plan chart, visit Medicare Supplements chart.
- Changes to Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage plans)
As you have probably already seen, if you are on a Medicare Advantage plan currently, the MA plans have changed a good bit for 2010. In most cases, premiums have gone up and there have been some reduction in benefits with some plans. Additionally, some of the major players in the MA marketplace have pulled out of the MA market. This is plan-specific and does not apply to all plans, but it makes it more important than ever to know what you have and know what else is available in your county.
- Changes to Medicare Part D
The Medicare Part D premiums have changed, in nearly all cases, for 2010. In doing so, the plan that was good for you in 2009, may not be as good for you in 2010. Again, this is plan-specific, and the only way to get an accurate picture of how this affects you individually is to do an analysis of your current plan against other options.
Overall, the changes to Medicare for 2010 will be disconcerting to some, causing an increase in out of pocket costs. However, for those with a Medigap plan and who stay on top of their Part D coverage to ensure they have the best possible plan for their unique situation, the impact of these changes can be minimized.
For a full analysis of options available to you, visit Medicare Insurance Quotes.