Why It Matters:
  • Medicare Part B premiums can be more than $400 per month for even more of your wealthiest clients in 2018.
  • Clients might need your help finding income streams to pay for deductibles, copays, coinsurance, and services that Medicare doesn’t cover.
  • Managing income streams in retirement could help your clients avoid paying the highest rates for Medicare premiums.

Medicare.gov has published the new premiums and deductibles for 2018.

Medicare.gov has all the details, but we thought we’d summarize some of the highlights.

But first, some definitions: Original Medicare vs. Medicare Advantage

Government-managed Medicare coverage is known as Original Medicare. It includes Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance), with an option to add Part D prescription drug coverage and Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) to help fill in any gaps.

Once enrolled in A and B, some seniors choose to get their Medicare coverage through Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C plans) offered by private insurers, which provide coverage for the services under A and B, and sometimes additional coverage such as prescription drug coverage. Costs can be similar to those for Original Medicare but depend on a number of factors including deductibles and copays under the chosen plan.

What’s new for 2018

The Part A deductible per benefit period in 2018 has inched up $24 to $1,340 for inpatient hospital stays. Part B premiums, which vary by income bracket, are staying unchanged from 2017, as well as the Part B deductible.

However the thresholds for paying higher Part B premiums were lowered.

In 2017, those reporting at least $214,000 in yearly income on an individual tax return (or $428,000 on a joint tax return) fell into the bracket paying the highest monthly Part B premium of $428.60. In 2018, the threshold for paying the highest premium falls to $160,000 (or $320,000 for couples filing joint returns).

Medicare costs at a glance

Medicare’s website lists more Medicare costs at a glance, with a detailed look at what beneficiaries can expect to pay.

Here’s a simplified look at some of the basic costs in 2018.

Things to Consider:
  • For more on Medicare, check out our resources page.
  • Other helpful sites include medicare.gov.
  • Regardless of what your clients will pay in premiums, remind them to prepare for expenses that Medicare won’t cover.