What to Expect from Medicare Benefits Changes in 2020
Last Updated : 12/17/20195 min read
The new year brings new resolutions—and new changes to your Medicare benefits in 2020. The good thing about your Medicare benefits, though, is that you don’t have to stick to a new diet or change your habits to take advantage of them. They’re there for you, whether you keep your New Year’s resolutions or not.
Here’s what you have to look forward to with your Medicare benefits in 2020.
What’s new with Medicare Part A and Part B?
There are no major changes to your Part A and Part B Medicare benefits in 2020, but the new year is a good time to take advantage of your copay-free wellness screenings and preventive care visits. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) periodically review benefits to make sure recommended wellness services are covered. Most of the time, these services are not cost to you as long as your provider accepts Medicare. For example, your Medicare benefits in 2020 include these wellness and preventive services:
- Bone density tests (DEXA scans)
- Heart disease screening
- Breast, cervical, colorectal, lung, and prostate cancer screening
- Flu, pneumonia, and hepatitis B shots
- Diabetes screening
- Weight screening and counseling
- Annual wellness visits
These are just a few of the preventive tests and services covered in your Medicare benefits; be sure to ask your doctor about any other screenings or tests you may need at your yearly wellness check.
Will costs for Medicare benefits go up in 2020?
Your Part B premium increases by about $9 to $144.60 in 2020, and the Part B deductible will be $198, a difference of $13 from 2019. The Part A deductible and daily inpatient coinsurance amounts also increase. The new Part A deductible jumps $44 to $1,408, and the daily coinsurance for inpatient days 61 through 90 will be $352. For lifetime reserve days, the daily copayment is $704, and you’ll pay $176 per day for days 21 through 100 in a skilled nursing facility.
If you pay an income-related monthly adjustment amount (IRMAA) with your Part B premium, you can find your new amount in the Social Security booklet for high-income Medicare beneficiaries.
Are there new Medicare Advantage benefits in 2020?
Some of the most exciting changes to your Medicare benefits are available with Medicare Advantage plans. Late in 2018, CMS approved a new list of benefits for Medicare Advantage plans that will help keep aging adults safe and independent at home. Depending on where you live, you may be able to find a Medicare Advantage plan with these new benefits:
- Coverage for home health aides, including custodial care and homemaking services
- In-home meal delivery
- Expanded coverage for telehealth services
- Non-medical transportation such as rides to grocery store
- Allowances for home safety modifications and equipment
- Allowances for over-the-counter medications and devices such as blood pressure cuffs, reading glasses, and thermometers
- Caregiver support including respite care and adult daycare
Not every plan will offer these new benefits, but CMS says that 500 different Medicare Advantage plans will be available, offering 2.6 million Medicare beneficiaries access to these supplemental benefits in 2020. That number will likely increase each year.
There’s even more good news on premiums for Medicare Advantage plans. The average Medicare Advantage premium will actually go down 14% in 2020 to $23, the lowest rate since 2007 according to CMS. Considering most Medicare Advantage plans include Part D coverage for prescription drugs, these plans offer some of the most cost-effective options for accessing your Medicare benefits.
Are Medicare benefits changing for Part D Prescription Drug Plans?
Like Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans are private plans, so each insurance company determines the premiums and benefits for the plans it offers within the guidelines. CMS announced that Part D premiums are also trending down in 2020: The average plan will cost $30 a month, the lowest it’s been since 2013.
You will spend more out-of-pocket before you hit the coverage gap also known as the donut hole in 2020, however. The new limit is $4,020, up from $3,820 in 2019. On the other hand, you’ll pay less for your medications in the coverage gap. In 2019, beneficiaries paid 37% of their generic prescription drug costs in the donut hole, but in 2020, you’ll pay just 25% for both brand and prescription drugs.
What do I need to do to get the new Medicare benefits in 2020?
If Original Medicare adds new benefits in 2020, Medicare Advantage plans will also include them.
It’s always a good idea to review your Medicare coverage each year during the Fall Open Enrollment Period (October 15th – December 7th) to make sure your plan still makes sense for you. Take time to compare costs and benefits available in the Medicare Advantage plans in your area, and see how they stack up with cost and coverage under Part A and Part B. If you have a Part D plan, review your premiums and benefits to make sure you’re still getting the best deal.
To get a quote for Medicare plans in your area, enter your zip code on this page.