Pay attention to your Medicare premiums; make sure you pay them on time!
Like lunch, Part B and Part D benefits are not free. You don’t have to worry about Part A. As you know from previous blogs, this plan is free to eligible members. If for some reason, you are not eligible for Part A and want to receive the benefits, you will be billed monthly. The premium you will have to pay for Part A in 2018 is up to $413 a month.
There is a premium for Part B and, of course, for Part D prescription drugs.
Medicare Part B Premiums
If you are receiving Social Security benefits, your Part B premium can be deducted every month automatically. If you are not, you will receive a quarterly bill, which you can pay by check or credit/debit card. You may also make arrangements with Medicare to pay this bill monthly. Part B premiums per month in 2018 will be around $134, higher depending on income. If you receive Social Security benefits, your monthly payment will be around $109.
Part D Medicare Premiums
The standalone plans charge monthly premiums that vary depending on the provider. Medicare Advantage (MA) plans often bundle both the health and drug coverage in one payment – and some don’t charge a premium at all! In fact, 30% of MA plans do not charge a premium. You still must pay the premium for Part B, however.
The average premium for an MA plan in 2018 will be $60.36 per month, down from $62.48 in 2017! Hooray.
If you don’t pay
If you do not pay premiums for Part B, you risk being disenrolled – meaning you will not have any coverage for the Part B benefits.
In case you miss a payment, you have a three-month grace period. After the initial notification that you are in arrears, you will get a second notice, which is a warning. Finally, you will get a delinquent notice, which is a notice of termination. You will then have 30 days to pay up or you are out.
If you don’t pay for Part D or Medicare Advantage premiums, your penalty depends on the particular plan. Some plans may ask you to contact them if you are having difficulty to make arrangements for payment. Some may not be as lenient and will move to disenroll you.
If you’re disenrolled
You may sign up again but only during the general open enrollment period from January 1 to March 31. Your reinstated coverage will start on July 1. Be aware that you may be liable for penalties.
Keep track of your payments. If there is a glitch on the part of your provider, saying you are in arrears, you want to be able to prove that you are paid up.
If your income and assets are below a certain level, you may be eligible for extra help for Part D premiums. Contact Social Security for more information.
Remember, this blog is only about premiums. You still have to pay co-pays when you use the services provided by doctors, hospitals, etc. and for your prescription drugs.
For more information, visit our Medicare resource center: www.medicareonvideo.com.