Each year, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), under the Federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), sets new pricing for Medicare. This involves more than just your Medicare premium, but deductibles, co-pays and reimbursement levels for providers. Fortunately, there is good news for the year ahead.

The 2022 Medicare Part B premium at $170.10 was the largest increase ever year-to-year at 14.5%, partially due to the anticipated costs of an Alzheimer’s treatment that would have been covered by Medicare Part B. Earlier this year, Medicare realized that the utilization of this treatment was far less than expected, therefore a good part of this premium is expected to be rolled back. Many called for a portion to be rebated to Medicare beneficiaries (users) as well, but that doesn’t look likely at this time. CMS is currently signaling a slight decrease in 2023 for the Part B premium, with estimates placing it at $158 per month. This would be a 4% increase year-to-year from 2019 to present.

The Medicare Part B deductible, which many beneficiaries pay out of pocket, will likely increase from the current $233 annually to approximately $242, a 4% increase.

Medicare Part D Drug plans have become very competitively priced. CMS has already announced that the average premium for these plans will decrease next year, but only by about 58 cents. The deductible will increase from $480 to $505 annually. However, the majority of medications are covered at ‘tier 1’ level which waives the deductible since these are inexpensive generic medications.  

Medicare supplement premiums have not had drastic increases in California. These plan rates are not overseen by CMS or HHS; the rate increases are instead submitted for approval to the state Department of Insurance and Commissioner Ricardo Lara. Most experts do not expect any increases next year beyond 4% since the state has clearly indicated they are on a mission to restrain health care costs.  

Medicare Advantage plans, which have dramatically decreased their premiums and cost sharing over the last 10 years, are looking to continue that trend. Current plans priced at $0 premiums, and even “payback” plans which credit $125 to Medicare part B premiums, will likely continue in 2023. These plans are private alternatives to traditional Medicare and should be discussed with your licensed broker.         

All of this, combined with a projected 6-8% increase in Social Security benefits should be considered great news for seniors. 

Randy Foulds is an independent broker and Medicare specialist with Foulds Health Insurance Agency in La Quinta (license #0G69218). He is available to answer your questions and can be reached at (760) 346.6565. This editorial is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice.

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