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Medicare Changes 2021 due to COVID-19

Learn how COVID-19 has impacted Medicare benefits.

Eight Medicare Changes 2021 You Should Know

To protect the health and safety of the millions of people on Medicare, there have been many adjustments made to Medicare benefits following the development of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Learn more about the Medicare changes that took place in 2021.

1. Medicare Part A Changes

  • Premium: While most people don’t pay a premium for Medicare Part A, for those who do, the cost of premium has increased. Those who work for 30 to 39 quarters in their lifetime will pay $259 per month in 2021 from $252 in 2020. Those who have worked less than 30 quarters in their lifetime will pay $471 per month, up from $458 per month in 2020. 
  • Deductible: The Medicare Part A deductible has increased $76 from 2020, being $1,484 for each benefit period in 2021. 
  • Coinsurance: The coinsurance cost applies when care is required longer than 60 days. Medicare Part A recipients will be charged $371 per day from days 61 through 90, an increase of $19 from 2020. After 90 days, you will be charged a coinsurance of $742 per day for lifetime reserve days, up $38 from 2020. Your benefit period renews once you have been out of the hospital or nursing home for 60 consecutive days, and your deductible and coinsurance rates are reset.

2. Medicare Part B Changes

  • Premium: The base cost for the Medicare Part B premium in 2021 is $148.50 for those who make less than $88,000 per year or couples who make less than $176,000 per year.
  • Deductible: The deductible for Medicare Part B increased $5 from 2020, making it a total of $203 per year for 2021.

3. Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) Changes

Medicare Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, cost changes depend on your carrier and plan. The main change to Medicare Part C in 2021 is that those with End-Stage Renal Disease can now enroll in Medicare Advantage plans.

4. Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug Plan) Changes

Similar to Medicare Part C, Medicare Part D plan cost changes depend on your carrier and plan. The major change from 2020 is the closing of the donut hole. The donut hole was a gap in prescription drug coverage that occurred once your plan had paid a certain amount for prescription medications that year. For 2021, the annual out-of-pocket maximum is $6,550 and the deductible, which can vary depending on your plan, is $445 for Medicare Part D. After you’ve paid the out-of-pocket maximum, you may pay a copay up to $3.70 on generic medications and up to $9.20 for brand-name medications, or a 5% coinsurance fee.

5. Medicare Supplement Plan (Medigap) Changes

Rates for Medicare Supplement plans, also known as Medigap, vary based on the carrier. With Plan G in 2021, Medicare will cover its share of costs, and you’ll then pay out-of-pocket until you have reached a $2,370 deductible, after which your Plan G coverage will kick in, paying the remainder of the costs.

6. Inflation Adjustments for High-Income Beneficiaries

High-income beneficiaries pay more from Medicare Part B and Part D. The income brackets began to be adjusted for inflation in 2020, and in 2021, the start of the “high-income” range increased to $88,000 per year, and $176,000 for married couples. The Part B premium for high-income beneficiaries ranges from $207.90 to $540.90 per month, depending on income.

7. Those with ESRD Can Join Medicare Advantage Plans

As of January 1, 2021, individuals with ESRD can also enroll in Medicare Advantage plans. This increases options for chronic-disease management and potentially more flexible or affordable payment opportunities.

8. Expansion and Continuation of Telehealth Services in COVID-19 Pandemic

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Medicare has expanded and continues to expand its coverage for telehealth services. Medicare can pay for office, hospital, and other visits completed via telehealth. Telehealth allows Medicare beneficiaries to access a wider range of services without having to risk their health or the health of others. In addition to Original Medicare, individuals with Medicare Advantage plans can also expect coverage to include telehealth services.

An older man with glasses calls SelectQuote to help him compare Medicare plans and to learn about 2020 Medicare changes

Navigate 2021 Medicare changes with the Help of SelectQuote

At SelectQuote, we want to alleviate any worry or stress you might have when it comes to Medicare changes in 2021. The Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan Annual Enrollment Period takes place every year from October 15 – December 7. During this Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, we can answer any questions you may have about your options for coverage and ensure you’re still getting the benefits you deserve.

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