Medicare’s open enrollment period is an excellent opportunity to look around to see if other plans might offer a better value.
Medicare Costs are Coming Down (Slightly), and Other Changes for 2023
As a Medicare recipient, you know well before the foliage turns brilliant red and orange when fall has arrived because your mailbox is inundated with open enrollment notices. Among all the notices or advertisements, you should also receive an information packet from your Medicare plan provider announcing changes to your plan coverage and costs. This is perhaps one year when you may find a pleasant surprise in that packet—Medicare costs for 2023 are coming down.
Of course, that may be a small consolation after Medicare costs rose sharply in 2022. It still represents some relief as Part B premiums and deductibles will tick down as well as costs for Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug plans. The offset for those lower costs is a higher deductible for Part A hospitalization.
What to Expect in 2023 Medicare Costs
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMMS), Medicare Part B premiums will be reduced to $164.90 monthly in 2023, down from $170.10. Your Part D coverage will drop to $31.50 monthly from $32.08.
The cost reduction is more like an adjustment in response to lower-than-expected spending on Alzheimer’s drugs and other healthcare costs, resulting in much larger reserves in the Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund. In addition, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 imposed a cost-sharing limit of $35 on a monthly supply of insulin. Generally, prescription costs are expected to decrease slightly because of the legislation.
Look for Changes Coming to Your Medicare Advantage Plan
There’s still a good reason to review your individual Medicare Advantage or supplement plan’s coverage. The costs of Medicare Advantage or supplement plans from various providers may vary, so checking your plan’s coverage updates for changes in premiums, copays, deductibles, and out-of-pocket limits is essential. You may also see changes to your prescription coverage. According to CMMS, the average Medicare Advantage Plan premium is projected to decline by 8% to $18 monthly in 2023.
Premium surcharges for higher-income earners will decrease slightly, and the income-related monthly adjustment (IRMAA) income threshold will increase in 2023. The new monthly premium surcharge will range from $65.90 to $395.60 per month, depending on income. The IRMAA income threshold that triggers the surcharge increases from $91,000 for individuals to $97,000 and $194,000 for married couples, up from $182,000. At the higher end, enrollees earning more than $500,000 will pay an extra $560.50 per month for Part B premiums.
Medicare Open Enrollment—Oct 15 through Dec 7
During the Medicare open enrollment period, Medicare enrollees are given the opportunity to review their coverage to determine if any changes are needed. For example, if your health situation has changed, you may need to consider plans with copays and deductibles more suited to your needs. Or, if your plan has made changes to your provider network, you may need to consider another plan that includes your providers.
The open enrollment period is an excellent opportunity to look around to see if other plans might offer a better value. Or, if you are just enrolled in standard Medicare, you may want to consider changing to Medicare Advantage if it could reduce your costs.
Though the open enrollment period runs through December 7, you still have the opportunity to make changes to your coverage between January 1 and March 31, 2023, with the new coverage taking effect a month following any change.
In addition to changes in costs and deductibles, Medicare enrollees should review their plans for any changes in coverage, such as your prescription coverage. It’s not uncommon for certain drugs to be bumped up to a more expensive tier or discontinued from the plan. If you need to compare Part D plans, you can use Medicare’s Plan Finder tool. The same tool can be used to compare other aspects of your coverage across different plan offerings.
If you decide to join a Medicare Advantage Plan or change to another Advantage Plan, you can call 1-800-MEDICARE to learn which plans operate in your area. You can then check out the plans on their website. Before making any final decisions, you should call the plan provider to confirm what you find on the website, especially concerning your preferred providers and drug coverage. Your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) is also an excellent resource for better understanding your options.
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