We strive to keep you informed about the latest Medicare news. Each month, we recap the top information you need to know about recent developments in the Medicare industry. This month, we cover Medicare Advantage’s expansion of benefits, a potential Part B premium increase and more!
Medicare Advantage Plans to Offer More Telehealth Benefits
In an April Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services(CMS) press release, CMS announced that it is finalizing changes to expand Medicare’s use of telehealth benefits in 2020. This means Medicare Advantage plans will be able to offer their beneficiaries additional telehealth benefits in 2020.
These benefits will include the option for patients to receive health care services in their homes through any “electronic exchange,” such as videoconferencing, as opposed to having to attend a physical health care facility. CMS specified that plans must still offer the option for patients to receive in-person care for any benefits that will also be provided through telehealth services.
Substantial Increase in Part B Premium Projected for 2020
A new Medicare Trustees report estimates an increase of $8.80 per month for Medicare Part B premiums next year, from a rate of $135.50 to $144.30.
The same report projects a meager increase of 1.2 percent for the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in 2020. The 2019 COLA was 2.8 percent, which was the largest increase in recent years. If these two anticipated numbers prove to be correct, Medicare beneficiaries could see their 2020 COLA wiped out by this new monthly premium increase. We will keep you updated as we learn more.
Medicare Advantage Plans Expanding Coverage in 2020
In 2019, Medicare Advantage plans began offering non-medical benefits, including meal delivery, rides to doctor appointments and more. In 2020, these plans will once again add new non-medical benefits, this time specifically for people with chronic diseases. While the specifics are still being nailed down by CMS, these benefits will most likely include transportation for non-medical needs, pest removal, pet therapy and more.
These benefits will have the goal of improving or maintaining the health of the patient in regard to their chronic condition or illness.
Action Required: Update Your Client Record with New Medicare Number
If you previously had the old version of a Medicare card, your new card was mailed out and you should have received yours in the mail before December 2018.
If this applies to you, please call our team at 1-877-222-1942 to inform us of your new Medicare number for our records. Remember, do not give out your Medicare number to individuals who call and claim to work for Social Security.
If you are not yet a client and have questions about what these changes may mean as you approach retirement, contact our team of advisors at 1-866-600-5638.