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How Medicare Works

What's New in Medicare

old lady in wheelchair
Millions of Americans rely on Medicare to pay their medical bills. gradyreese/Getty Images

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Medicare will always be changing, due to politics, money and the public will. But here are a few of the more recent changes as of 2020 [source: Norris].

Upgrade for Medicare Plan Finder. The most-used tool on Medicare.gov is the plan finder, which helps users compare Medicare Advantage and Part D plans. In 2019, the plan finder was upgraded for the first time in a decade. The new version is mobile friendly and features a fresh, easy-to-read design. It also creates a personalized experience for users to enhance their ability to select coverage that best meets their needs [source: CMS].

Fees and Deductibles Increased. No surprise here. Part A premiums rose, for the 1 percent of Medicare Part A enrollees who pay them. So did Part B premiums and Part A and B deductibles.

Popular Medigap Plans C and F are no longer available for new enrollees. Previously, there were 10 standardized Medigap plans, all identified by a letter. Now there are eight. Those who had the popular plans C and F prior to 2020 may keep them. But new enrollees can't sign up for them. Why the change? Plans C and F are the only Medigap plans that pay all Part B deductibles in full. Some government officials believe this results in people using services when they don't really need them. So, going forward, new enrollees will always have to pay something for Part B services.

New Medigap Plan G. Plan G is a new, high-deductible plan that replaces F, which was also a high-deductible option.

New High-Income Brackets. If you had a high income, you have to pay more for Parts B and D. But the income brackets for those plans were set in 2007 and 2011, respectively. In 2020, the annual high-income brackets for Part B rose to $87,000 for singles and $174,000 for married couples.

Part D Donut Hole Closed. After meeting the Part D deductible, enrollees pay just 25 percent of drug costs until they reach the catastrophic coverage level, when Plan D picks up more of the costs. Previously, enrollees who fell into the "donut hole" paid a much higher percentage of drug costs.

Last editorial update on Feb 19, 2020 04:33:42 pm.

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