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What’s New for Medicare in 2018? 5 Things Seniors Need to Look Out for

For seniors who have been on Medicare for years or those new to Medicare entirely, there are important changes to Medicare coming in 2018, including changes to Part B and Part D premiums, as well as Medicare Advantage costs. Because of this, seniors who are currently on Medicare are encouraged to review their plans during the open enrollment period (which ends on December 7th), even if they are satisfied with their current plans. Changes to premiums for 2018 may be good news for many seniors, but some seniors may actually see an increase in premiums. Healthcare advocates are waiting to see whether President Donald Trump and the GOP-controlled

congress approve proposed cuts to Medicaid spending as well as other parts of the Affordable Care Act, which could have ripple effects that lead to cuts in Medicare. Other changes include more options for Medicare Advantage plans, as well as a narrowing of the Part D coverage gap. Keep reading to learn more about these changes, so you can be prepared for open enrollment.

One of the biggest changes seniors should look for are premium dips in Part B, Part D and Medicare Advantage plans. While actual plan premiums vary widely based on location and the type of plan chosen, many seniors will see a slight decrease in premiums for 2018. For Part B, which pays for doctor visits and other outpatient services, seniors who are not currently receiving Social Security benefits will not see a change. Seniors who are receiving Social Security benefits, however, will see a drop in premium to around $109 per month in 2017. That amount may change for 2018, however, depending on how the 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security affects premiums. For Part D, the prescription drug plan for Medicare, premiums will dip slightly from an average of $34.70 per month in 2017 to $33.50 per month in 2018. In addition, the average monthly cost for Medicare Advantage plans will also decrease slightly, by about $2.00, making the average premium for Medicare Advantage around $30. Some seniors may see a slight increase in premiums, however, since the high-income surcharge threshold has dropped to $133,500 yearly income for individuals and $267,000 yearly income for couples.

There will also be more choices in Medicare Advantage plans in 2018, so 99 percent of Medicare recipients will have access to Medicare Advantage plans, with 87 percent having 10 or more options to choose from. In addition, the Part D gap will be narrowed, making it so that once you pay $5,000 during the year for prescription medications, you will pay no more than 5 percent of prescription medication costs for the rest of that year.

Still wondering how the Medicare changes may affect you in 2018? Take the following quiz to find out.

Are you currently receiving Medicare benefits?
Which of the following applies to you?
What is your income level?
Do you receive Social Security benefits?
Do you have a Medicare Advantage plan?
How much do you typically pay out-of-pocket for prescriptions each year?
How long has it been since you last reviewed your Medicare coverage?
Are you interested in taking advantage of expanded Medicare Advantage options?