Drug spending drives higher 2020 Medicare Part B premiums, deductibles

Seniors enrolled in traditional Medicare will pay higher premiums and deductibles next year, the CMS announced Friday.

Monthly premiums for Medicare Part B, which covers doctors’ appointments and outpatient hospital care, among other services, will rise almost 7% to $144.60 in 2020 from $135.50 in 2019. Deductibles for Part B coverage will also rise by 7% to $198 from $185.

The CMS attributed the increase in Part B premiums and deductibles to increased spending on physician-administered drugs.

These premiums prices apply to Medicare enrollees who make $87,000 or less in annual income; the small number of Medicare Part B members with higher incomes will pay more in premiums.

Meanwhile, the average deductible for Medicare Part A, which covers inpatient hospital care and services at skilled-nursing facilities, are slated to rise 3.2%, or $44, to $1,408 in 2020. The deductible covers beneficiaries’ share of costs for the first 60 days they are in the hospital. After that, beneficiaries must pay coinsurance of $352 per day through the 90th day.

About 99% Medicare beneficiaries don’t pay premiums for Part A coverage because they have at least 40 quarters of Medicare-covered employment, the CMS said.

The CMS in September announced that premiums for Medicare Advantage, which allows seniors to receive Medicare through private companies, will hit their lowest point in last 13 years in 2020. Average monthly Advantage premiums are expected to decrease 14.4% from $26.87 in 2019 to $23 next year.

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