By Daniel Short of Simply Seniors
For 2021 there are still many unknowns that exist for Medicare beneficiaries as to their expected 2021 premiums, deductibles and other possible costs.
It is no secret that each year the costs of health care, and health insurance, increases. This is a fact of which most Medicare beneficiaries are well aware. However, in the last quarter of each year, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services usually has updated what we can expect for the coming new year.
As has been the case for most of 2020, CMS has not yet updated this information for Medicare beneficiaries for 2021.
As you get the new Medicare & You 2021 booklet in the mail this year, you will notice that it refers readers to the Medicare.gov website as updated 2021 information was not available at the time of printing. This is not unusual.
What is unusual, is that coming to the end of September that information is still not released.
What you need to know about Medicare in 2021
As of January 1, 2021, Medicare will open Medicare Part C plan to beneficiaries diagnosed with End Stage Renal Disease. This is a big change for those in this condition who have been unable to receive coverage through Medicare Part C in the past if diagnosed with ESRD, unless enrolled in a state approved special needs plan.
The second major change announced for 2021 is that Medicare will now cover up to 12 visits during each 90-day period to receive acupuncture treatment for back pain, something that otherwise would not have been included. This is a great holistic benefit for many to look forward to.
As with any new services added to Medicare coverage, it may take some time for providers to get up to speed and working with Medicare. If you receive Original Medicare benefits and want to receive this treatment, you may want to visit with you provider and let them know that this benefit will be covered in 2021 and you would like to receive this service from them.
Another great change in 2021 is that introduction of the Senior Services Model for Medicare Part D plans. The big news with this is that those plans that feature the SSM will have the option to limit the out-of-pocket costs of insulin to no more than $35 per month. This is a big relief to many who are paying much more than that in 2020.
While we don’t know the exact increases we can expect in premiums and deductibles for 2021, we do know that CMS has previously announces that it expected to increase Medicare Part B premiums to $148.50 per month in 2021. Of course, this is was before the world changed due to the COVID-19 situation.
Some of this uncertainty may be caused by the current COVID-19 situation and that the proposed HEALS Act has had inclusions to hold 2020 Medicare premiums and deductibles at their current rates in 2021. This would mean the continued Medicare Part B premium of $144.60 per month and a deductible of $198 per year.
We also remember a few years ago that without a Cost of Living Adjustment, there cannot be a Medicare premium increase. So, if all around COVID-19 has impacted the inflation to the point that the annual COLA increase does not happen, then we can be assured that our Medicare premiums will remain constant in 2021.
While there are some great updates coming to Medicare in 2021, be assured that we will keep you updated on this situation as we get more information.