(NerdWallet) – A new year means changes to Medicare, including updated premiums and deductibles and sometimes large policy movements. In 2023, there’s a little bit of everything: some costs have gone down, others have gone up, and there are some notable improvements in how Medicare works.
Knowing what’s new can help you make the most of your Medicare benefits. Here are some important updates for 2023, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
The cost of Part B has gone down
Medicare Part B is health insurance that covers needs like doctor visits and long-life medical equipment like wheelchairs and walkers. Everyone pays a monthly Part B premium, including those on Medicare Advantage plans.
In 2023, the standard Part B premium is $164.90 per month, up from $170.10 per month in 2022. If you have a higher income, you may pay more. The Part B deductible decreased from $233 in 2022 to $226 in 2023.
The cost of Part A has increased
Medicare Part A is hospital insurance that covers inpatient stays at a hospital or qualified nursing facility. Most people don’t pay a premium for Part A, but for those who do, those premiums increased to $506 per month, up from $499 in 2022. And the hospitalization deductible is $1,600 in 2023 for each benefit period onwards $1,556 in 2022.
Co-payments for inpatient stays in hospitals and specialist care facilities are also increasing. These are costs per service period:
- $400 per day for days 61 to 90 in a hospital (was $389).
- $800 per “lifetime reserve day” after 90 days in a hospital, up to a limit of 60 days of your life (previously $778).
- $200 per day for days 21-100 at a qualified nursing facility (was $194.50).
Insulin costs are capped
New this year, insulin costs for Medicare beneficiaries are capped at $35 per month and there is no deductible. Although the change came into effect on January 1st, the deadline for the introduction of this system is March. If you pay more than $35 per month for insulin in January and/or February, check with your plan for a refund of the excess.
Beginning in July, insulin used with a Medicare-covered conventional pump will also be capped at $35 for a month’s supply.
Medicare start dates have shifted
Previously, your coverage for certain Medicare enrollment periods began two to three months later, which could result in health care gaps. As of this year, these dates have changed.
If you enroll in Medicare in the month of your 65th birthday or in the three months after, your coverage now begins the month after you enroll. If you enroll in Medicare during the general enrollment period of January 1 through March 31 each year, your coverage begins next month. (It used to start on July 1st.)
Shingles vaccines are covered
All adult vaccines that fall under Medicare Part D and are recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices are now fully covered. These include the shingles vaccine and the tetanus-diphtheria-whooping cough vaccine. Previously, these vaccines may have been subject to deductibles and co-payments.
The Medicare Advantage plans have lower ratings
Each year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services gives each Medicare Advantage plan a star rating from 1 to 5, with 5 being excellent. Overall, the average star rating for Medicare Advantage plans, weighted by enrollments, is 4.15 in 2023 versus 4.37 in 2022. This change does not mean that quality has decreased.
In fact, last year’s plan ratings were unusually high due to a pandemic policy that applied a natural disaster exception to all Medicare Advantage plans — and not just those in areas hit by something like a hurricane or flood. As a result, plan assessments in 2022 were higher than usual, and this year’s revision likely represents a more accurate assessment of the plans.
People with end-stage kidney disease may receive more drug coverage
Medicare beneficiaries with end-stage kidney disease previously lost their benefits 36 months after a kidney transplant unless they were otherwise eligible for Medicare. But starting in October, they could apply for coverage of immunosuppressive drugs through a new benefit called Medicare Part B Immunosuppressive Drug, or Part B-ID, which began Jan. 1.
The premium for this service is $97.10 per month in 2023. This benefit only covers continuous immunosuppressive medications and these beneficiaries cannot have any other health insurance.
https://www.wane.com/top-stories/whats-new-for-medicare-in-2023/ What’s new for Medicare in 2023?