The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Announced Friday, Nov. 17th, that Part B premiums for most Medicare beneficiaries will remain unchanged at $134 per month.
Part A deductibles and coinsurance amounts, on the other hand, will see mild increases in 2018. The Part A inpatient hospital deductible will increase from $1,316 in 2017 to $1,340 in 2018. The Part A inpatient hospital deductible applies to the first 60 days of hospitalization within a given benefit period. For the next 30 days (days 61 through 90), beneficiaries must pay a coinsurance amount which is increasing from $329 per day in 2017 to $335 per day in 2018. Certain types of Medicare supplement policies (also known as “Medigap Policies”) cover both the Part A deductible and the Part A coinsurance hospital costs (up to 365 days).
Benefit periods begin on the day a beneficiary is admitted to a hospital (as opposed to simply being “observed” in the hospital) and end when a beneficiary has, for 60 consecutive days, not been an inpatient in a hospital or skilled nursing facility. Consequently, returning to the hospital or a skilled nursing facility prior to the passage of the 60 days removed from a facility can be very costly.
After the 90th day, absent a Medicare Supplement / Medigap Plan, beneficiaries must pay a coinsurance of $670 per day for what are considered “lifetime reserve days”, an increase from $658 per day in 2017. Beneficiaries have up to 60 lifetime reserve days.
The care received in a skilled nursing facility (“SNF”) following admitted treatment in a hospital, will also increase in cost. Medicare pays 100% of the cost of the first 20 days in which a beneficiary is properly admitted to an SNF following admission to and treatment at a hospital. However, beginning on the 21st day, the beneficiary pays a coinsurance amount which will increase from $164.50 in 2017 to $167.50 in 2018.