Marci’s Medicare Answers

Dear Marci,

Will my Medicare premiums or costs change in 2015?

ANSWER:

There are certain changes to Medicare costs for 2015, but much of the benefit will remain the same. For Part A, the deductible will be adjusted slightly to $1,260 in 2015 (from $1,216 in 2014). Once you meet this deductible in 2015, days 1-60 spent as a hospital inpatient in each benefit period will still be premium-free in 2015. Days 61-90 will have a daily copayment of $315. Your copayment during your 60 lifetime reserve days will be $630 in 2015. Remember, these days can only be used once in your lifetime.

For Part B, the monthly premium and deductible will remain the same in 2015. You can expect to continue paying $104.90 per month for your Part B premium. The deductible will remain at $147. Additionally, if you pay a higher Part B premium due to income adjustments (called IRMAA); these premiums will remain the same as well.

In 2015, we also will see higher prescription drug discounts for Medicare beneficiaries who are in the coverage gap, which is also referred to as the doughnut hole. Remember, part of the Affordable Care Act closes the doughnut hole in Medicare Part D plans and ensures that you pay the same amount for drug coverage throughout the year. In 2015, you will enter the doughnut hole after spending $2,960 in out-of-pocket costs. Once you are in the doughnut hole, you will pay 45% of the cost for brand-name drugs and 65% of the cost for generic drugs. You will exit the doughnut hole and enter catastrophic coverage once you have spent $4,700 in out-of-pocket costs. The coverage gap will be eliminated entirely in 2020. By that time, all beneficiaries will pay 25 percent of the cost of their prescription drugs year round.

All of these changes are detailed in the Medicare & You publication. Everyone with Medicare receives a copy of Medicare & You in the mail. If you did not receive one, call 1-800-MEDICARE to request your copy. You also can view it online atwww.medicare.gov.           — Marci