The Social Security Administration has announced that Social Security and SSI benefits will increase 1.6 percent in 2020. Each Social Security and SSI recipient will be notified by mail in early December about their new benefit amount.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has also announced the 2020 changes to Medicare costs and plans. The premium for Part A Hospital Insurance will continue at $0 per month, with the standard premium for Part B Medical Insurance increasing from $135.50 to $144.600. Individuals with annual income exceeding $85,000 will pay higher amounts for their Part B premium.
Cost-sharing amounts for persons enrolled in Original Medicare will increase across the board. For example, the copayment for an inpatient hospital stay under Part A is rising from $1,364 to $1,408 next year. The Part B annual deductible, which is paid prior to the start of the 20 percent co-insurance, is increasing by $13, from $185 to $198 per year.
Premiums for Medicare Advantage plans, also known as Part C, are seeing steady or small increases for the plans offered in Vernon County. Also the number of Advantage plans available for Vernon County residents is rising slightly. In total for 2020 there are 17 Advantage plans to choose from, when there was only 16 in 2019.
Medicare’s offering of Part D stand-alone prescription drug plans in Wisconsin is expanding from 28 plans in 2018 to 30 plans in 2020. Monthly premiums for these plans range from $13.10 to $124. In addition to premiums and co-payments, most Part D plan also have an annual deductible with $435 as the maximum allowed. Plans can also make changes in the copayment amounts, and in their list of covered medications, known as a formulary.
The coverage gap in the Medicare Part D benefit, also known as the “doughnut hole,” is changing in 2020. This gap occurs when annual total drug costs are between $4020 and $9719. For 2020, discounts of 75 percent will be given for brand-name medications and for generics.
Medicare beneficiaries currently enrolled in an Advantage Plan or Part D plan were mailed information in late September about the changes in their plan for 2020. Information about other plans is available in the publication “Medicare and You 2020,” also mailed to beneficiaries in September and October. There are also available online in the Find-a-Plan tool on www.medicare.gov.
This news of 2020 Social Security benefits and Medicare costs can be used to help individuals make decisions about their health and prescription needs for 2020. Medicare’s annual Open Enrollment Period started on October 15 and ends on December 7. This time period is the opportunity for beneficiaries to review their health coverage needs and make choices for the upcoming year.
For more information about Social Security payments, contact the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 or online at www.ssa.gov. The contact information for Medicare is 1-800-633-4227 and www.medicare.gov.
Further information on these topics, and about assistance programs to help pay Medicare costs, is available from each county’s Aging & Disability Resource Center. For Vernon County, call 608-637-5201 or 1-888-637-1323 for an appointment.