Know What's Changing With Medicare In 2021
By David Haass , Forbes Councils Member, Dec 2, 2020
Each year, Medicare undergoes changes. It's crucial for beneficiaries to keep up with new developments and know about them ahead of time. If you're on Medicare or will be next year, these changes impact you. Here is the information you need to stay informed about the significant changes taking place in 2021.
Annual Premium And Deductible Increases
Each year, the premiums and deductibles for Medicare Parts A and B increase. Part A is your inpatient or hospital insurance, and Part B is the outpatient insurance you use at the doctor's office.
According to Medicare.gov, most people don't pay the Part A premium because during their working years, they worked more than 40 quarters and paid the Medicare tax. Those who paid 30-39 quarters' worth of the tax will be paying $259 per month for Part A coverage in 2021. Those who haven't paid at least 30 quarters' worth of Medicare tax will pay $471 per month. The deductible will increase to $1,484 for 2021, which is $76 more than this year.
The standard monthly Part B premium for the coming year is $148.50. If you have a higher income, your premium will see an adjustment to a larger amount than the standard. The monthly Part B deductible will only rise by $5, for an amount of $203.
More Choices And Lower Prices For Medicare Advantage
A larger number of Advantage plans will be available in 2021. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, enrollees will have over 4,800 Advantage plans to choose from during open enrollment this year. Open enrollment (which takes place from October 15 to December 7 each year) is when Medicare beneficiaries make changes in their coverage for the upcoming year.
Additionally, the premiums for Medicare Advantage plans will be historically low. On average, they are expected to decrease to $21 nationwide, making premiums the lowest they've been since 2007.
Increase In Telehealth Services For Advantage Plan Participants
Since the global health crisis, Medicare has been offering telehealth services more extensively. Particularly for those living in rural areas, access to telehealth has been a saving grace. Also, specific health care areas will receive coverage for telehealth, including dermatology, psychiatry, cardiology and more.
Insulin Price Caps
Starting in 2021, more than 1,600 new Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug plans will require a $35 or less copay for insulin. At this price, many diabetic Medicare recipients will have access to the drug.
Medicare Advantage Plans Will Accept End-Stage Renal Disease Patients
Per the 21st Century Cures Act, the Social Security Act received an amendment to allow all end-stage renal disease patients who are Medicare-eligible to enroll in Advantage plans. The change begins on the first of the year, with plans being open for enrollment during the annual enrollment period.
With quite a few changes coming to Medicare next year, the annual enrollment period is the perfect time to review your coverage. Those currently on Medicare should review their Annual Notice of Change letter to determine if their current coverage is what they want next year.
The premiums for Parts A and B will go up, but the increases are reasonable, in my opinion. If you take insulin, you could benefit from a Part D or Advantage plan with a price cap. Those with end-stage renal disease can also enroll in an Advantage plan that begins on the first of the year.
Regardless of which plan you choose, make researching your options a priority. This step is vital to making the best long-term choice for your health and budget.