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2018 Medicare Changes

· Healthcare,Medicare enrollment

Seniors can celebrate their two percent raise in social security benefit starting with their January payments. Typically, the increase came with a corresponding increase in the cost of the Part B which nullified any advantage, but this year some of the costs will remain the same.


For those aging into Medicare or enrolling with a delayed Part B will be charged the same standard cost in 2018 as the enrollees of 2017 which is $134 a month and will have the same Part B deductible as well, $183. Good news for those with Medicare Supplements G and N.


There will be increases in the Part A hospital deductible from $1318 to $1340 as well as the rehab copay for skilled nursing for days twenty one through hundred from $164.50 to $167.50 under original Medicare. Many of these costs are covered under the Medicare Supplements and may explain some of the rate increases.


Also, under the independent prescription drug plans there have been some surprising costs. Metformin, a generic drug which has been available for a very reasonable cost can be unavailable under many formularies in 2018 driving the monthly cost from about five dollars to closer to five hundred.Surprisingly, not all Medicare Advantage plans exhibit the same phenomenon If you haven’t researched your changes in drug cost for the new year, you still have time to change.


Another change to note, is what are your preferred pharmacies per your plan?

Aetna has made a point of calling all their current members to inform them that Walgreens is not a preferred pharmacy next year. Are you aware the cost of your drugs under the same plan, when purchased at a different pharmacy can cost upwards of hundreds or even thousands of dollars at a standard pharmacy?


Bottom line, please call your agent or plan and find out the costs of your current medications now, while you have options. Once open enrollment ends on December 7th you are contracted for another year.

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