Medicare cost increases for 2013. Help is available.

Social Security payments will increase 1.7% in January 2013. That means an additional $17 for a person whose monthly Social Security check is $1,000. 1.7% of $2,000 is $34. So this is a modest increase for people living solely on Social Security – and I meet a lot of people like this.

At the same time, the Medicare Part B premium will go up $5 per month to $104.90. This amount will be taken out of most people’s Social Security checks starting in January.

HELP FOR PART B PREMIUM

In Arizona, anyone on Medicare whose monthly income is less than $1,277 (individual) or $1,723 (a married couple) should not be paying that $104.50 Part B premium. They should be enrolled in the Medicare Savings Program through which the state pays their Part B premium. People who get Part B help will also be signed up to get help with their prescriptions costs. This is called the Low Income Subsidy.

Medicare beneficiaries who get the Low Income Subsidy (LIS) will pay $6.60 for brand drugs and $3.50 for generics in 2013. Most brand drug co-pays on Part D plans are $35 – $45, so getting the LIS can be a huge help for people.

If you, or anyone you know, might qualify for this help, send me an email.  I can provide the Medicare Savings Program application for Arizona.

OTHER MEDICARE COST INCREASES:

Medicare Part A covers hospitalization and has a $1,184 deductible in 2013. Part A also covers skilled nursing facility charges, home health care, and hospice.

Medicare Part B covers everything else (except drug coverage, which is Part D) and has a $147 deductible in 2013. This is up from $140 in 2012. This deductible comes into play for people who have a Medicare supplement plan N because they must pay the Part B deductible deductible each year.

Most Medicare beneficiaries in Arizona are not directly affected by these increased costs because they have a Medicare supplement Plan F or are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan.

Almost half of all Medicare beneficiaries in Pima, Pinal, and Maricopa counties in Arizona are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans, so the Medicare costs that are going up in 2013, don’t affect them directly. Of course, everybody has to pay the Part B premium (unless the state is paying it for them),and most co-pays that come with Medicare Advantage plans are going up in 2013.

So if you are getting $17, or $30, or $40 more in your Social Security next month, you’ll be spending that much and more on your medical costs.

What Next?

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