QUESTION: Are Medicare rates changing?

The numbers for 2021 have been released. The Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that there will be a Cost Of Living Adjustment (COLA) to your Social Security Benefits. Social Security Administration has announced an increase of 1.3% COLA.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has just announced the 2021 rates. The Medicare Part B premium for 2020 is $144.60. The Medicare Part B Premium for 2021 is $148.50, an increase of $3.90. The COLA increase to your Social Security should more than cover that increase in the Medicare Part B premium.

If you have Medicare and Social Security you know that the Medicare Part premium comes out of your Social Security benefit each month.

The CMS announcement includes additional information. The Medicare Part B information is as follows; in 2020 Medicare Part B deductible is $198, in 2021 the Part B deductible increases to $203. The remainder of Part B covered services continue to be Medicare paying 80% and the individual or their secondary insurance paying 20%.

Medicare Part A for most Americans does not have a premium. The Medicare Part A Hospital deductible for 2020 is $1,408. In 2021 that Part A Hospital deductible goes up to $1484. That is a $76 increase for each and every hospital stay, if you have no other insurance.

There are other Medicare Part A co-pays to talk about. If you are hospitalized for more than 60 days, Medicare has a coinsurance amount of $371 per day for days 61 to 90 ($352 in 2020) Over 90 days in the hospital is a $742 coinsurance amount ($704 for 2020). Remember those long stays are one continuous stay, not the total days of multiple hospitalizations throughout the year.

The Medicare Part A, Skilled Nursing Benefit pays for your first 20 days of rehabilitation in full, but day 21 to 100 have a coinsurance amount of $185.50 per day ($176 in 2020).

This announcement is reassuring. We know that Medicare still covers the majority of our big medical bills and most individuals have insurance above and beyond Original Medicare.

For those individuals who pay a higher rate for their Medicare Part B premium, those rates will be adjusting as well, but that has not yet been released. We do know that the thresholds for those IRMAA rates will also be increasing. So watch for your information to come from SSA.

Remember that each year during December, Social Security Administration sends you a letter. That letter tells you what your new Social Security Benefit will be and what you pay for your Medicare Part B. So watch for that letter among all the other mail that comes this time of year.

Senior Life Matters is a community based program sponsored by Lutheran Jamestown. For questions, concerns or to reach Janell Sluga, GCMC, call us at 716-720-9797 or e-mail at SLM@lutheran-jamestown.org