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At the beginning of each year, Medicare issues new monthly premiums and deductibles for Part A/Inpatient hospital and Part B/outpatient hospital, physicians and all other outpatient services. Skilled Nursing Facility/SNF coverage is under Part A which includes a limited benefit.

Comparing 2019 to 2020

Deductibles: Part A/Inpatient hospital deductible is due every 60 days. 2019: $1364 2020: $1408. Increase of $44. Part B/outpatient yearly. 2019: $185 2020: $198 Increase of $13. Part A/SNF: First 20 days of skilled care $0 co-payment. Day 21-100 a co-payment of $170.50 /2019 will raise to $176 per day/2020.

Monthly premiums: Part A is a tax-based program. If the beneficiary has worked the required 10 years or their spouse has, there is no monthly premium. Part B is a premium-based program. The premium will rise 7% to $144.60 a month, a $9.10 increase which is significantly higher than the $1.50 increase for 2019. Note: This is the average amount as there is an income test that could adjust the monthly premium.

New Medicare Card

Effective Jan 1, the only number that will be accepted for Medicare services is the new Medicare number. It is recommended to carry with you the newly issued Medicare card with the new number — referred to as the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI). The healthcare provider can help as Medicare offers an electronic search for Medicare beneficiary information. Nothing else should be different with your Medicare coverage.

As we look to 2020, save the date: The “1st 2020 Medicare 101, Social Security Benefits and Assistance for Seniors Boot Camp” will be held from 8 a.m. to noon Feb. 29 at CSI Fine Arts. No cost. All ages welcome. Stay tuned! Happy holidays to all!

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Day Egusquiza is the president and founder of the Patient Financial Navigator Foundation Inc. — an Idaho-based family foundation. For more information, call 208-423-9036 or go to pfnfinc.com. Do you have a topic for Health Care Buzz? Please share at daylee1@mindspring.com.

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