Medicare deductibles are essentially flat dollar amounts you must pay before your Medicare benefits kick in. All told, in 2019 the total Medicare deductibles add up to potentially $1,946 in costs just for this year! Plus, keeping up with them is no small task as they change (almost) every year.
To keep things simple, just remember this: A Medicare deductible is the amount of money you are required to spend out of your own pocket (first!) every year before your Medicare Plan starts paying for things. That’s really all there is to it. If you have Original Medicare Part A, Original Medicare Part B and Medicare Part D, you’ll be “satisfying” deductibles before any of your claims or prescription drugs are paid for. There are of course ways to not have to pay those deductibles, and we’ll quickly review those options below.
Some background: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) usually publish their deducible amounts for the following year in November for Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. They usually get around to publishing Medicare Part D deductibles in October of the prior year. Like I said, they change every year. Here’s what they are for 2019.
As I mentioned above, in 2019 this means if you have Original Medicare and a basic PDP plan, you’re going to potentially have to come up with $1,964 out of your wallet (or purse) before anything gets paid. That’s quite a bit of money exposure I’m sure you’d much rather keep under the mattress or spend it on a vacation to the beach. (If you do, go to the beach, make sure to see if your Medicare benefits will travel with you by clicking here).
While somewhere in the neighborhood of 20% of folks on Medicare don’t have either an MAPD or a Medicare Supplement, I’m a big fan of having some sort of supplemental or additional policy on top of having Original Medicare A and B. I’m definitely not a big fan of going “bare with Medicare” as I outlined in a previous post, essentially because Original Medicare A and Medicare B do not protect or limit your financial exposure should a catastrophic health even happen to you. You really need a MOOP! If you’d like to read more about this, go ahead and click here.
If you’re shopping for Medicare Advantage plans (MAPD) the best place to do it (objectively of course) and really the ONLY place to do so to see all of your options at once is on the Medicare.gov site. You can get there by clicking here.
If you don’t want to buy a Medicare Supplement or MAPD plan from a private insurance carrier and choose to keep Original Medicare for your medical coverage, you’ll still need to buy a PDP plan. You can save yourself the pain of having to pay a $415 deductible for your prescription drugs by simply choosing a PDP plan that doesn’t have a deductible. Most “basic” plans (cheapest) have the deductible, but there are usually a few every year that are reasonably priced ($25-$35 per month range) that have no deducible. You can search for those plans by clicking here, right on the Medicare.gov website.
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Author Bio: Ben started Prepare for Medicare in 2014 to help people help people get objective answers to questions about Medicare. He’s held leadership roles at numerous Fortune 500 Medicare health insurers in product development, sales, marketing and strategy for over 20 years.