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Five Medicare Changes for 2019 You Should Know About

You likely knew it was going to happen at some point, and it did. Medicare changes in 2019 are coming your way.

Medicare is set to expand its scope of coverage and many beneficiaries may find this attractive, but as always, they should check each option that interests them before making a decision. For 2019 Medicare Advantage plans are offering lifestyle support services including home safety fixtures, home meal delivery and transportation from home to medical appointments and back. In some instances, seniors who need a hand with daily living activities may find the cost of a home health aid is covered. Again, always double check what you read about new services offered in order to understand whether or not they apply to you.

Do not like what you chose in terms of Medicare options and plans? This is new option may be for you. For 2019, you have the option to try an Advantage plan for up to three months and switch to another, or back to original Medicare, if you do not like your coverage.

This year you should be aware that Part B premiums are going up. They were $134/month in 2018 and are going up $1.50/month to $135.50. However, those with higher incomes may pay quite a bit more for Medicare Part B.

Along with the fact that Medicare Part B premiums are going up, Medicare deductibles are also going up. The Medicare Part B deductible will be $2.00 higher than in 2018 and cost $185. You should also note that the Medicare Part A inpatient deductible for being admitted to hospital goes up to $1,364; an increase of $24.00 over 2018.

Do you struggle with mobility issues? Then this new service may be appealing. Older Americans with mobility issues sometimes put off going to see a doctor because it is too much trouble. Medicare has been offering a telehealth videoconferencing program to connect patients and doctors, but for 2019 these services are expanding to those receiving stroke treatment or end-stage renal disease.

And last, but not least, Medicare Advantage is going to have a new open enrollment period. In 2019 Medicare Advantage gets its own open enrollment period to begin January 1 and end March 31. Those already in an Advantage plan have a chance to swap plans to a different one or drop Medicare Advantage and go back to original Medicare. This open enrollment period is different from Medicare’s regular open enrollment that runs October 15 to December 7 each year.

Also, eligible Americans who prefer coverage under Medicare (Parts A, B, D) can choose between the original Medicare or Medicare Advantage with cost effective bundles (including prescriptions vision, dental, hearing that Medicare does not offer).

Be informed. These are your Medicare choices.