November Medicare Must-Knows

By RetireMEDiQ

What Are the Most Common Non-Health-Related Medicare Advantage Benefits?

In hopes of improving day-to-day lives and overall wellbeing, almost half of Medicare Advantage (MA) plans are offering new supplemental benefits for 2019. These include coverage of over-the-counter drugs, transportation to physician visits and caregiver support services. Nicotine replacement therapy is the most commonly offered supplemental benefit for 2019. Additionally, the number of plans providing vision, dental and hearing care continues to rise.

Just Announced: 2019 Medicare Part B Premiums and Deductibles

As we approach 2019, RetireMEDiQ provides you with important Medicare updates. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced the 2019 premiums and deductible amounts for Medicare Part B.

2019 Standard Part B Premium: $135.50 per month

Note: The 2018 standard Part B premium was $134.

2019 Part B Deductible: $185

Note: The 2018 Part B deductible was $183. Premiums and deductibles for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug plans are already finalized and are unaffected by this announcement.

The part B premium is subject to income claimed in 2017. If you filed an individual tax return greater than $85,000 or a joint return greater than $170,000 in 2017, your Part B premium may be higher.

Is Your Medicare Plan Dropping Its Fitness Benefit? You Have Options!

RetireMEDiQ offers options for 2019 that will allow you to keep your fitness benefit and likely even see a decrease in cost. Call us at 1-866-600-5638 to speak with one of our local advisors to review your 2019 plan options and keep your fitness benefit! RetireMEDiQ has helped thousands of area retirees with their Medicare plans over the past 10+ years.

Medicare Advantage Continues to Be Popular

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services(CMS), the average Medicare Advantage (MA) plan premium is expected to decline by 6 percent in 2019, while the plan choices and benefits continue to increase. CMS also said that almost 83 percent of MA plan enrollees who stay on their current plan will have the same or lower premium in 2019.

We recommend that individuals who will be enrolling in Medicare in 2019 keep an open mind about MA plans. The market will continue to favor this plan type, and there are many advantages of MA plans over Original Medicare. For example, MA plans have low premiums and deductibles, so enrollees can save money on health coverage throughout the year.

How to Figure Out Your Social Security Check for 2019

In December, Social Security beneficiaries will have access to the amount they’ll receive in 2019. You may have heard that the cost-of-living adjustment for 2019 will account for a 2.8% increase to Social Security benefits, which is the highest increase in nearly a decade. All beneficiaries will receive information regarding their Cost-of-Living Adjustment notice from the Social Security Administration in the mail, but if you’d like to receive a notification online, you will need to login to or set up a My Social Security account. You’ll receive this notice in the messages portal in your account. If you sign up to receive your notice online, you will also receive it in the mail.

Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period is in Full Swing!

The Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) began on October 15 and ends December 7. Each year during this time, Medicare beneficiaries may consider their satisfaction level with their current plan and even enroll in a new plan if they are dissatisfied.

Fewer Reasons to Switch Plans Due to Stronger Plans in 2019

While in years’ past, we have encouraged our clients to set up an appointment with us to review their current plan during AEP, the need for this action has diminished greatly due to the stabilization in the market.

The recently released 2019 plans have the same benefits and even be slightly improved compared to the ones released in 2018. For these reasons, we suggest that you consider changing plans only when your health needs change!

If the plan you are on today is meeting your needs and you do not have specific complaints about it, you likely do not need to consider other plan options. However, if your prescriptions or health have changed in the past year, contact our Client Services team to review your benefits at 1-877-222-1942. You may also need to consider other plan options if your financial situation has changed, your Supplement premium has become costly or if you will be losing a benefit you currently use and enjoy, such as your fitness benefit.

We’d Love to Hear from You!

If you have questions about anything covered in this post, please comment below, call our Client Services team at 1-877-222-1942 or email us at clientservices@retiremediq.com.

If you are not yet a RetireMEDiQ client and have questions about what these changes may mean for you as you approach retirement, contact our team of licensed Benefit Advisors at 1-866-600-5638.

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