Most goods and services become more expensive with time, and that includes the federal government’s Medicare health insurance program for seniors.
Several premiums and deductibles for folks enrolled in traditional Medicare — also called Original Medicare — will increase in 2019.
These rising costs include the:
- 2019 Medicare Part B standard monthly premium: $135.50 per month — an increase of $1.50
- 2019 Medicare Part B annual deductible: $185 per year — an increase of $2
- 2019 Medicare Part A annual inpatient hospital deductible: $1,364 per benefit period — an increase of $24 from 2018
These costs do not apply to folks enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans, as we explain below.
Medicare Part A and Part B
Medicare Part A covers the following types of care:
- Inpatient hospital services
- Skilled nursing facility services
- Some home health care services
About 99 percent of Medicare beneficiaries don’t have to a pay a premium for their Part A coverage thanks to how long they worked. They get this break because they had Medicare taxes withheld from their paychecks for that period of time, according to the federal government.
However, beneficiaries who are hospitalized on an inpatient basis in 2019 will pay the annual inpatient hospital deductible when they are admitted. That deductible covers the first 60 days of such hospital care in a benefit period.
Medicare Part B covers the following types of care:
- Physician services
- Outpatient hospital services
- Certain home health services
- Durable medical equipment
- Certain other medical and health services not covered by Medicare Part A
Note that the Part B standard monthly premium applies to individual federal income tax filers with a taxable income of up to $85,000 and joint filers with an income of up to $170,000.
Folks with more taxable income pay higher monthly premiums — which will be anywhere from $189.60 to $460.50 in 2019, depending on their income.
Original Medicare versus Medicare Advantage
Traditional Medicare, also referred to as Original Medicare, is the traditional health care insurance program that the federal government offers directly. Medicare Advantage is an alternative to traditional Medicare.
Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurance companies that contract with the federal Medicare program. These plans include HMOs and PPOs, for example.
Medicare Advantage costs will vary by plan and insurer, although the federal government has estimated that these monthly premiums will average $28 in the new year — a decrease of $1.81.
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