Ask and ye shall receive

In today’s TGIF post, the FEHBlog called upon CMS to release 2018 Medicare cost sharing and premium amounts. Like magic, CMS just posted this fact sheet

The standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B enrollees will be $134 for 2018, the same amount as in 2017. However, a statutory “hold harmless” provision applies each year to about 70 percent of enrollees. For these enrollees, any increase in Part B premiums must be lower than the increase in their Social Security benefits. After several years of no or very small increases, Social Security benefits will increase by 2.0 percent in 2018 due to the Cost of Living adjustment. Therefore, some beneficiaries who were held harmless against Part B premiums increases in prior years will have a premium increase in 2018.

The 30 percent of all Part B enrollees who are not subject to the “hold harmless” provision will pay the full premium of $134 per month in 2018. Part B enrollees who were held harmless in 2016 and 2017 will see an increase in the monthly Part B premium from the roughly $109, on average, they paid in 2017. An estimated 42 percent of all Part B enrollees are subject to the hold harmless provision in 2018 but will pay the full monthly premium of $134, because the increase in their Social Security benefit will be greater than or equal to an increase in their Part B premiums up to the full 2018 amount. About 28 percent of all Part B enrollees are subject to the hold harmless provision in 2018 and will pay less than the full monthly premium of $134, because the increase in their Social Security benefit will not be large enough to cover the full Part B premium increase.

Medicare Part B enrollees not subject to the “hold harmless” provision include beneficiaries who do not receive Social Security benefits, those who enroll in Part B for the first time in 2018, those who are directly billed for their Part B premium, those who are dually eligible for Medicaid and have their premium paid by state Medicaid agencies, and those who pay an income-related premium. These groups represent approximately 30 percent of total Part B beneficiaries.

The annual deductible for all Medicare Part B beneficiaries will be $183 in 2018, the same annual deductible in 2017. Premiums and deductibles for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug plans are already finalized and are unaffected by this announcement.

The fact sheet includes the table with the rates for higher income Medicare beneficiaries. With respect to Medicare Part A:

The Medicare Part A annual inpatient hospital deductible that beneficiaries pay when admitted to the hospital will be $1,340 per benefit period in 2018, an increase of $24 from $1,316 in 2017. The Part A deductible covers beneficiaries’ share of costs for the first 60 days of Medicare-covered inpatient hospital care in a benefit period. Beneficiaries must pay a coinsurance amount of $335 per day for the 61st through 90th day of a hospitalization ($329 in 2017) in a benefit period and $670 per day for lifetime reserve days ($658 in 2017). For beneficiaries in skilled nursing facilities, the daily coinsurance for days 21 through 100 of extended care services in a benefit period will be $167.50 in 2018 ($164.50 in 2017).

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