| Tue, Nov 13, 2018 @ 09:17 AM

What Will Medicare Cost in 2019?

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

Every year we hold our collective breath waiting to hear what Medicare will cost when January 1 rolls around. The 2019 numbers were announced recently, and this is what we learned about Medicare costs in 2019.

Part B Premium Inches Up Slightly

A small increase of just $1.50 raises the standard monthly Part B premium to $135.50 for 2019.  Your increase may be more if your premium was held down in recent years by the hold harmless rule, since the social security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) is 2.8% for 2019. The additional amount in your check will go first toward bringing your Part B premium payment up to the standard amount.

Most people will pay the standard Part B premium, but you could pay more based on your income. Medicare uses your reported income from two years ago to determine what you’ll pay. Incomes over $85,000 for individuals and $170,000 for couples are assessed an income-related monthly adjustment amount (IRMMA).  High earners could pay up to $460.50 per month for Part B in 2019.

Other Part B costs include a deductible and coinsurance for those who have Original Medicare (Parts A & B). Learn more here.

Part D Coverage Gap Continues to Close

It will take longer to get into the Part D coverage gap in 2019 – and many people never reach the gap at all. If you do, drugs will cost you less while you’re there.

You enter the gap once you and your plan have paid $3820 for your drugs in 2019. You remain in the gap until the total cost of your drugs for the year reaches $5100. This total includes a manufacturer’s discount payment on brand-name drugs in the gap. Your plan will keep track of all the numbers, so you don’t have to worry.

While in the gap you pay:

  • No more than 25% of the cost for brand-name drugs
  • 37% of the cost for generic drugs

The average Part D plan premium is expected to be $32.50.1 Plan premiums and other costs vary, and of course, always check the plan formulary to make sure your drugs are covered. You can get drug coverage through a standalone Part D plan or a Medicare Advantage plan. Learn more about Part D coverage and costs here.

Part A Deductible Creeps Higher

The Part A deductible applies to each benefit period. A benefit period begins the day you’re admitted to the hospital and ends when you’ve been out for 60 days in a row. So if you’re readmitted within 60 days, then it’s the same benefit period.

The Part A deductible for 2019 is $1364 per benefit period, up $24 from 2018. The deductible covers up to 60 days in the hospital. After that you pay daily copays. Learn more about Part A costs here.

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, the Part A deductible and other Part A costs usually don’t apply. Each plan sets its own cost-sharing terms for hospitalizations. For example, you may have daily copays for a set number of days or a flat cost per hospitalization. After that, plans usually pay 100% of hospital costs. Check plan details for exact costs.



The Bottom Line

Your Medicare costs can vary depending on the coverage you choose. Shop around and use our Plan Finder Worksheet to help you compare your options. The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, when you can change plans if you want to, runs until Dec. 7.

For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.

1Medicare Part D: Beneficiary Costs in 2019