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Traditional Medicare premiums and deductibles to rise in 2019

Written on Oct 15, 2018

Seniors enrolled in traditional Medicare will pay slightly higher premiums and deductibles next year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced Oct. 12.

Monthly premiums for Medicare Part B, which covers doctors' appointments and outpatient hospital care, among other services, will creep to $135.50 in 2019 from $134 in 2018. Deductible for Part B coverage will rise by $2 to $185.

These premium prices apply to beneficiaries who make $85,000 or less in annual income; the 5% of the Medicare Part B population with higher incomes will pay more in premiums.

Medicare open enrollment runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7.

Meanwhile, the average deductible for Medicare Part A, which covers inpatient hospital care and services at skilled-nursing facilities, is slated to rise 1.8%, or $24, to $1,364 in 2019.

Most Medicare beneficiaries don't pay premiums for Part A coverage because they have at least 40 quarters of Medicare-covered employment, the CMS said.

Last month, the CMS announced that premiums for Medicare Advantage will drop to their lowest point in the last three years. Advantage premiums will decrease by 6% to $28 from $29.81 per month in 2018. Nearly 83% of Medicare Advantage enrollees who stay in their current plan will have the same or lower premium in 2019, the agency said.

About 38.6 million people are enrolled in traditional Medicare, and nearly 19 million people are enrolled in Medicare Advantage, according to the CMS.