Medicare enrollees will be paying slightly more for their coverage in 2019, the Trump administration announced just ahead of the signup period that begins Monday.
The Medicare program covers 44 million people in the U.S., including those who are 65 and older and people with disabilities. Medicare is divided into various parts according to the type of medical care it provides, and people who enroll can choose the traditional Medicare or can buy Medicare Advantage, which is run by private plans.
Beneficiaries pay premiums for Medicare Part B, which covers care from doctors, hospitals, medical supplies, and certain home health services. The standard cost for 2019 will be $135.50 a month, a slight increase from the 2018 cost of $134 a month.
About 2 million Medicare enrollees won't pay the full premium because of their income. Annual deductibles, or the out-of-pocket amount that people pay before an insurer kicks in the rest, also will rise slightly to $185, from the $183 a month beneficiaries paid in 2018.
The vast majority of those enrolled in Medicare Part A don't pay a premium but will pay deductibles toward a skilled nursing facility, home health services, and inpatient hospital care. That amount also will increase slightly next year, by $24, to $1,364.
For the Medicare Advantage program, in which about a third of Medicare beneficiaries participate, people will pay an average of $28 in premiums, a decrease from the $29.81 in premiums in 2018. The plans are intended to be similar to those offered by traditional Medicare, but they differ in which doctors are covered, in premiums, and out-of-pocket costs. Certain plans also come with dental and vision care.
The open enrollment period, which runs until Dec. 7, allows people to shop for plans. The Trump administration has added new tools on Medicare.gov that help beneficiaries compare what their options are.
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