Medicare is the federally funded health insurance program available to U.S. seniors and those under age 65 with certain disabilities. Each year updates are made to Medicare that allow for wider access, revisions to benefits, price adjustments, and more.
In 2023, there was no shortage of change to Medicare, as several significant updates were made to the federal health insurance program. Below, we will review the most notable changes to Medicare in 2023.
When you are enrolled in Medicare, you are responsible for costs such as monthly premiums, deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance. The costs you are responsible for depend on the care you receive, the plans you are enrolled in, and the way in which you receive care.
Medicare costs are updated annually. Thus, each calendar year, when your benefits reset, you may be responsible for higher or lower out-of-pocket amounts depending on the new price list for the year.
In 2023, Medicare saw both increases and decreases in certain areas.
Medicare Part A is the part of Medicare that covers hospital inpatient stays, skilled nursing, and home healthcare. In 2023, the out-of-pocket amounts related to Medicare Part A increased slightly from 2022.
Medicare Part A is free for most enrollees. However, if you did not work enough quarters paying Medicare tax in the U.S., you may be required to pay a monthly premium. The full Medicare Part A premium increased from $499 to $506 in 2023. Additionally, the Part A deductible increased from $1,556 in 2022 to $1,600 in 2023.
Medicare Part A inpatient coinsurance amounts also saw an increase in cost for 2023:
Days 1-60: $0 copay in 2023
Days 61-90 $400 copay in 2023
Days 91-150 $800 in 2023
Medicare Part B helps cover doctor’s visits, durable medical equipment, and outpatient care. Typically, the Medicare Part B premium and deductible increase each year. Yet, in 2023, Part B saw its first premium and deductible decrease in several years.
The Medicare Part B premium in 2023 is $164.90 and the deductible is set at $226.
Medicare Part C is also known as Medicare Advantage plans. These plans combine Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and B) coverage with additional benefits like dental, vision, and drug coverage to provide enrollees with an all-in-one plan option.
There are several Medicare Advantage plans available. So, listing the updates for each plan can be extensive. However, if you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you should have received a notice of change letter outlining the updates to your plan for 2023.
When enrolled in a Medicare Part C plan, you are responsible for paying your plan’s premium each month. The average Medicare Advantage plan premium in 2023 is $18, with a maximum out-of-pocket amount of $8,300, a slight increase from 2022.
Medicare Part D plans help to cover the costs related to your prescription drugs. Like Part C, Medicare Part D has several plan options that come at different costs and require additional out-of-pocket costs.
The average cost of a Medicare Part D plan in 2023 is $31.50, a slight decrease from 2022, and the maximum plan deductible is $505.
Medicare enrollment is a particular process that must be followed precisely to receive benefits from the federal health insurance program. However, changes in 2023 allow for improved access to Medicare benefits for those enrolling in coverage for the first time.
In the past, when enrolling in Medicare for the first time, you may have had to wait several months before your coverage would take effect. Now, those who enroll in Medicare during their Initial Enrollment period or during the General Enrollment Period will receive coverage on the first day of the month after they enroll.
The only exception to this is if you enroll during the three months prior to your Medicare eligibility. In this case, your coverage will go into effect on the first day of the month you are eligible for Medicare benefits.
Additionally, new Special Enrollment Periods have been identified to help those who missed their Initial Enrollment Period enroll in coverage without paying a penalty.
Effects of the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act are already being felt within the Medicare program. The most notable effect for many is the $35 insulin copayment cap. If your prescribed insulin is listed on your 2023 Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan, you will not pay any more than $35 each month for your drug.
This is a provision to Medicare Part D that has been a long time coming. With an increase in insulin costs over the last decade, many seniors were stuck in a desperate position when it came to affording their monthly insulin prescriptions.
Thankfully, this will no longer be an issue in 2023 and beyond.
Starting in January 2023, manufacturers will be penalized by Medicare if they increase drug prices more than the general rate of inflation at that time. This means fewer price increases at lower rates for several Medicare prescription drugs.
Additionally, price negotiations for the first 10 Medicare-covered drugs will be announced by September 1, 2023. This means seniors who are prescribed certain medications may see a decrease in out-of-pocket spending after the negations are finalized.
The final provision to Medicare in 2023 we will discuss is the availability of 100% Medicare-covered vaccines. All vaccines recommended for your age will be available at no cost to you for Medicare recipients.
Currently, several vaccines covered by Medicare Part B are already available to Medicare enrollees at no cost. However, you are responsible for a percentage of the price for certain vaccines covered through Medicare Part D. This will no longer be the case in 2023. This opens access to the Shingles vaccine and other more expensive Medicare Part D vaccines for many.
Whether you are new to Medicare or have been enrolled in the healthcare program for several years, it is always important to stay current on Medicare changes and improvements. Changes to Medicare may allow you access to care previously out of reach for you or allow you to save money on out-of-pocket costs.
Keeping up to date with Medicare trends is essential for a successful future when it comes to your healthcare.
Will you be taking advantage of Medicare this year? Will this be your first year enrolling? What are you planning on using your Medicare services for? Which of these 2023 updates will be of greatest benefit to you?