Looking at Medicare in 2021

Did you know that Medicare now has almost 60 million members?  Each year, these members must sort through the annual changes to Medicare programs and costs which can be challenging.  This year, most premiums and deductibles will cost you more, and new enrollees will no longer have access to some older plans.

Here are some of the key takeaways for Medicare’s changes for 2021:

  • The standard Part B Premium is now $148.50 (Reminder: The $4 annual increase should have been offset by the overall 1.4% increase).
  • The Part B deductible is now $203 - up from $198 in 2020.
  • Part A deductible for each benefit period in 2021 is now $1484 - $76 more than in 2020.
  • Coinsurance cost applies when care is required longer than 60 days, and will now be $371 per day for days 61-90 (a $19 increase).  Beyond 90 days, a rate of $742 per day must be paid for lifetime reserve days (a $38 increase).
  • For admissions to skilled nursing facilities, the daily coinsurance for days 21 – 100 is now $185.50 per day (an increase of $9.50).
  • Starting on January 1, 2020, new Medicare enrollees were not allowed to sign up for Medigap Plan C or Plan F because the 2015 law called MACRA outlawed Medigap policies that paid Medicare Part B deductibles.  For more information, click here: Why Are Medigap Plans C and F being Discontinued?
  • The income brackets are also being updated due to inflation in 2021: from $85,000 for individuals and $170,000 for couples to $88,000 for an individual or $176,000 for couples.
  • Medicare Advantage enrollment is expected to continue to rise to a projected 26 million.  Open enrollment is taking place until March 31, 2021 – click here for more information on enrolling: Medicare Advantage Plan Open Enrollment Information
  • Medicare Advantage plans are now available for folks with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) as of this year.
  • The maximum out-of-pocket limit for Medicare Advantage plans is now $7,550.  This Forbes Article includes various related, helpful points such as:
    • Since 2011, the limit has been $6,700 for in-network services and $10,000 for in- and out-of-network combined. However, that changed as of January 1, 2021.
    • Once the limit is reached, the plan covers any costs for the remainder of the year. 
    • Each plan determines its maximum out-of-pocket limit and can opt to offer a lower limit. In 2019, the average out-of-pocket limit was about $5,000 for in-network services and almost $8,900 for out-of-network.
  • While the Part D donut hole no longer exists, a standard plan’s maximum deductible has increased to $445 in 2021, and the threshold for entering the catastrophic coverage phase (where out-of-pocket spending decreases significantly) has increased to $6,550.

If you’re looking to learn more about Medicare Advantage Plans, look here: Medicare Advantage Plan Information

If you need access to the 2021 “Medicare & You” handbook, look here:  Medicare & You Handbook

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