This Week in Medicare

premiums going up 2018

Are Medicare premiums going up in 2018?

BY DAN CAPLINGER: Many Americans rely on Medicare to get essential healthcare coverage after they turn 65. With Medicare open enrollment starting this weekend, it’s important to know what you’re likely to pay under various coverage options in 2018 in order to make the best choice for your personal situation. Next year is likely to be an unusual one for Medicare because current projections suggest that costs could actually come down for some participants. However, as you’ll see below, a lot depends on which type of Medicare coverage you have and what your current premium is.

Medicare Part B premiums will rise — for some
Medicare offers coverage for medical costs like doctor visits and outpatient care through Medicare Part B. Participants pay a monthly premium for their Part B coverage, with a base amount applying for most participants and surcharges for those with relatively high income levels. (read more)

Medicare open enrollment has begun: What you need to know

BY SUSAN JAFFE: Older or disabled Americans with Medicare coverage have probably noticed an uptick in mail solicitations from health insurance companies, which can mean only one thing: It’s time for the annual Medicare open enrollment.

Most beneficiaries have from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7 to decide which of dozens of private plans offer the best drug coverage for 2018 or whether it’s better to leave traditional Medicare and get a drug and medical combo policy called Medicare Advantage.

Some tips for the novice and reminders for those who have been here before can make the process a little easier. (read more)

Medicare premiums might devour your increased 2018 Social Security benefit

BY SARAH O’BRIEN: For retirees who are relieved their Social Security benefits are getting a slight boost next year, the celebration shouldn’t start quite yet.

The Social Security Administration announced Friday that the annual cost-of-living adjustment (commonly called COLA) for 2018 will be 2 percent. Marking the biggest increase since 2012 — and coming after a 0.3 percent rise for 2017 — the change means the average monthly benefit for all 66 million Social Security recipients will rise by about $25, to $1,283 from $1,258.

While no windfall already, another problem is that the extra money could get eaten up by Medicare premiums for about 70 percent of retirees, according to The Senior Citizens League. (read more)

Don’t get duped during Medicare enrollment

BY ELIZABETH FITE: It’s as easy as A, B, C, D, until you toss the word “Medicare” in front.

Starting today and continuing through Dec. 7, eligible Americans who are age 65 and over or disabled will choose their Medicare health insurance plans.

If they want a plan that fits their health care needs and doesn’t break the bank, they’ll have to dodge some bullets along the way, advocates say.

“It is open season right now,” said Crystal Fairchild, a volunteer coordinator for the State Health Insurance Assistance Program, commonly called SHIP, which provides free and objective Medicare counseling.

Not only is Medicare enrollment “very, very confusing,” Fairchild said, many beneficiaries face pressure from insurance agents, marketing companies and scammers. (read more)

U.S. News & World Report Announces the 2018 best Medicare plans

BY PR NEWSWIRE: U.S. News & World Report, the global authority in healthcare rankings, today released the 2018 Best Medicare Plans. The new ratings are a resource for Medicare beneficiaries and their families searching for the best coverage options during the annual open-enrollment period, which began October 15 and runs through December 7, 2017.

The latest Best Medicare Plans include Honor Rolls of the Best Medicare Advantage Plans and Best Part D Plans, which highlight insurance companies that consistently offer highly rated health coverage to Medicare beneficiaries, who are typically age 65 or older. The plan ratings and Honor Rolls are offered through the U.S. News Health Insurance site, which helps health insurance buyers of all kinds navigate the options available to them. (read more)

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