With the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) in full swing, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the 2019 costs for Medicare Parts A and B, commonly known as Original Medicare. For many, this announcement will come as a relief, since there’s only a small increase to premiums. For particularly high earners, however, the rise will outpace the increase in Social Security payments.
Medicare Part A
Luckily, if you have Medicare Part A, there’s a very good chance that you receive its benefits premium-free. If you paid 40 quarters-worth of Medicare taxes, you’re in this camp. In fact, CMS reports that 99 percent of Part A beneficiaries receive Part A premium-free. If you do not qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A, the full monthly premium is $437, a $15 increase over 2018. If you have paid 30 quarters or more of Medicare tax or are married to someone who’s paid 30 or more quarters, you’ll pay a monthly premium of $240, an increase of $8 from 2018.
For 2019, the Part A inpatient hospital deductible has risen $24 to $1,364. This deductible covers your costs for the first 60 days of Medicare-covered inpatient care for a benefit period. After that, you’ll fall into a daily coinsurance for days 61 to 90, which rose from $335 a day to $341. After that, you’ll dip into your lifetime reserve days, which have a daily coinsurance of $682 in 2019. If you require a skilled nursing facility, days 21 to 100 are covered by a $170.50 daily coinsurance, a small growth of $3.
2019 Part A Cost Breakdown
|Type of Cost||2018||2019||%|
|Full Part A Premium||$422||$437||3.55%|
|Partial Part A Premium||$232||$240||3.44%|
|Inpatient Hospital Deductible||$1,340||$1,364||1.79%|
|Daily Coinsurance for Days 61 to 90||$335||$341||1.79%|
|Daily Coinsurance for Lifetime Reserve Days||$670||$682||1.79%|
|Skilled Nursing Facility Coinsurance||$167.50||$170.50||1.79%|
Medicare Part B
If you’re enrolled in Medicare Part B, you can generally expect a moderate increase in costs in 2019. In fact, the standard monthly premium has only increased $1.50, from $134 in 2018 to $135.50, unless you’re considered held harmless. Many people have their monthly premiums deducted directly from their Social Security checks and your premium increase for Part B cannot be greater than the Social Security Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA). If that would be the case, you’re usually held harmless, and you pay a smaller premium for the year.
This isn’t the only adjustment to your Part B premium, however. Your annual household income plays a part, too. Income-related monthly adjustment amounts (IRMAA) affect only around 5 percent of Part B enrollees, but if you make more than $85,000 individually or $170,000 together, you may see larger premiums. For each income level and their corresponding Part B premium, please refer to the table below.
Finally, Part B enrollees will also see a moderate, $2 increase on their annual deductible. The 2019 Part B deductible is $185.
2019 Part B Cost Breakdown
|Type of Cost||2018||2019||%|
|Part B Premium||$134||$135.50||1.12%|
|Part B Deductible||$183||$185||1.09%|
|File Individual Tax Return||File Joint Tax Return||Monthly Adjustment||2019 Part B Monthly Premium|
|$85,000 or Less||$170,000 or Less||$0.00||$135.50|
|$85,001 to $107,000||$170,001 to $214,000||$54.10||$189.60|
|$107,001 to $133,500||$214,001 to $267,000||$135.40||$270.90|
|$133,500 to $160,000||$267,001 to $320,000||$216.70||$352.20|
|$160,001 to $500,000||$320,001 to $750,000||$297.90||$433.40|
|$500,001 or More||$750,001 or More||$325.00||$460.50|
|File Separate Tax Return from Spouse||Monthly Adjustment||2019 Part B Monthly Premium|
|$85,000 or Less||$0.00||$135.50|
|$85,001 to $415,000||$297.90||$433.40|
|$415,001 or More||$325.00||$460.50|
How About Medicare Parts C and D?
While the costs for both Medicare Advantage and Part D are set by individual insurers, CMS provides the average costs each year before AEP. Luckily, 2019 is anticipated to be a good year for beneficiaries of both plans. The average Medicare Advantage plan monthly premium for 2019 will drop six percent, to $28. This is the lowest average monthly premium in three years.
As for Medicare Part D, the average monthly premium for a prescription drug plan has also dropped for the second year in a row. In 2019, the average Part D monthly premium is $32.50, which fell $1.09 from 2018.
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Now is the perfect time to explore what Medicare plans are available to you. To compare your coverage options, search the Medicareful Plan Finder for all available plans in your area. If you need help or find a plan you like, Medicareful can connect you with a local agent who can guide you the rest of the way.
All numbers drawn directly from the CMS 2019 Medicare Parts A & B Premiums and Deductibles Fact Sheet. Should you have any questions, please refer back to the fact sheet. For reference, prices and costs for 2018 are available here.