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Medicare Prices in 2018

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It’s good to know what Medicare prices to expect so you can plan your budget. Let’s take a quick look at Medicare prices in 2018.

Medicare prices in 2018: Original Medicare

Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) services often involve out-of-pocket costs from you, such as a deductible and coinsurance or copayments. Here’s a rundown of some Original Medicare prices.

Medicare prices in 2018: Part A, hospital insurance

  • Monthly premium – If you (or your spouse) worked for at least 10 years (40 quarters) while paying Medicare taxes, you generally don’t pay a premium for Part A.
  • If you worked 30-39 quarters: $232 per month
  • If you worked fewer than 30 quarters: $422 per month
  • Deductible – $ 1,340 in 2018. This is not an annual deductible, but applies to every benefit period. A benefit period starts when you’re admitted as an inpatient, and ends when you haven’t had inpatient care for 60 days in a row.
  • Coinsurance – The Medicare prices (in this case, coinsurance) you pay depends on the length of your inpatient hospital stay. The amounts below are per benefit period.
  • 0-60 days: $0 coinsurance per day
  • 61-90 days: $335 coinsurance per day
  • 91 or more days: $670 per day for each lifetime reserve day. These are days when Medicare Part A may cover your care after 90 days in the hospital, and you pay the copayment. You get up to 60 such days in your lifetime.
  • After all lifetime reserve days are used up, you’re responsible for all costs.

Please note: The coinsurance amounts listed above generally apply to inpatient hospital costs. Part A costs may be different for skilled nursing facilities and long-term care hospitals.

Medicare prices in 2018: Part B, hospital insurance

  • Monthly premium – Medicare prices can vary, but one expense you can typically count on is your Medicare Part B premium (assuming you have Part B). Most people have to pay a monthly premium for Part B, but the amount you pay depends on several things, including your income. The standard Part B premium in 2018 is $134, yet the average premium people pay for Part B is $130. Many beneficiaries pay less than the standard Part B premium. In most cases, you’ll pay $134 if any of these apply to you:
  • You’re billed for your Part B premium (instead of it being deducted from your Social Security benefits).
  • You don’t get Social Security benefits.
  • You’re enrolling in Part B in 2018 for the first time.
  • You receive both Medicare and Medicaid benefits. Generally Medicaid pays your Part B premium in this case.

If your income is higher than a certain amount (based on your tax returns from two years ago), you might have to pay the Part B standard premium and an income adjustment amount on top of that.

  • Annual deductible – $183 in 2018
  • Coinsurance/copayments – many covered services require a 20% coinsurance. Some services, such as many preventive services, are free.

If you’re worried that your Medicare out-of-pocket costs might get too high for your comfort, you might want to consider a Medicare Supplement plan. Medicare Supplement plans can help pay for your out-of-pocket costs from Medicare Part A and Part B. Learn about Medicare Supplement plans.

Medicare prices in 2018: Part D, prescription drug coverage

  • Monthly premium – This can vary among plans. If your income is higher than a certain amount (based on your tax returns from two years ago), you may have to pay a higher amount. The amount that gets added on is called the income-related monthly adjustment amount (Part D IRMAA).
  • Annual deductible –This can vary among plans, but no Medicare Prescription Drug Plan is allowed to charge more than in $405 in 2018.
  • Coinsurance/copayments – These will vary among plans and medications.
  • Coverage gap costs – If you and your Medicare Prescription Drug Plan spend a total of $3,750 combined in 2018, you’ll enter the coverage gap. In this spending phase, you’ll pay no more than 35% for brand-name drugs, and no more than 44% for generic drugs, in 2018.
  • Catastrophic phase – If you and your Medicare Prescription Drug Plan spend a total of $5,000 combined in 2018, you’ll leave the coverage gap and enter the catastrophic phase. For the rest of the year, you’ll typically pay a small coinsurance or copayment for every prescription.
  • Late enrollment penalty – When considering Medicare prices, don’t forget the Part D late enrollment penalty. Although Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D) is optional, there can be a penalty to pay if you don’t sign up for it as soon as you’re eligible. You don’t pay the penalty unless you sign up for a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan later, and you’ve gone more than 63 days in a row after your Medicare Initial Enrollment Period without creditable prescription drug coverage. The penalty may change every year.

To calculate the late enrollment penalty, you take 1% of the national base beneficiary premium ($35.02 in 2018), round it up to the nearest $.10, and multiply the result by the number of months that you didn’t have creditable coverage or a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. You add that figure to the monthly plan premium.

For example, suppose you didn’t sign up for Medicare Part D when you were first eligible for Medicare, and you went 30 months without creditable coverage. Then you decide to enroll under Part D. Calculate one percent of the base premium: $35.02 * .01 = $.35. Round it up to $.40. Multiply 40 cents by 30 for the months you went without coverage. $.40 * 30= $12.00. So, $12 would be the late enrollment penalty added to your Part D premium. This amount could change year by year.

Medicare prices in 2018: Medicare Advantage plans

Medicare prices of Medicare Advantage plans might include monthly premiums, deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments. These costs vary among plans.

When you’re adding up your Medicare prices, remember that if you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you still have to pay your monthly Medicare Part B premium. You also need to pay the Medicare Advantage plan premium – whatever that amount may be. Some plans charge as little as $0 a month.

If you’d like to learn about how you might keep your Medicare prices and costs down as much as possible, we’re here to help. You can call eHealth to speak with a licensed insurance agent. To check out the Medicare coverage options in your area, use the Browse Plans button on this page.

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