WASHINGTON — For the first time in a decade, Americans will pay less next year on monthly premiums for Medicare’s Part B plan, which covers routine doctors’ visits and other outpatient care.
The rare 3% decrease in monthly premiums will be coupled with a historically high cost-of-living increase in Social Security benefits, putting hundreds of dollars directly into the pockets of millions of people.
“That’s something we may never see again in the rest of our lives,” said Mary Johnson, the Social Security and Medicare policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League. “That can really be used to pay off credit cards, to restock pantries that have gotten low because people can’t afford to buy as much today as they did a year ago and do some long-postponed repairs to homes and cars.”
The 2023 decrease in monthly Medicare premiums comes after millions of beneficiaries endured a tough year of high inflation and a dramatic increase to premiums this year. Most people on Medicare will pay $164.90 a month for Part B coverage starting next year, a savings of $5.20.
The decrease helps to offset last year’s $21.60 spike, which was driven in large part by a new Alzheimer’s drug, Aduhelm, administered intravenously in doctors’ offices and introduced to the market last year with a $56,000 price tag. Medicare set strict limitations on the drug’s use earlier this year and the drugmaker has since cut the medication’s cost in half.
Medicare paid less for that drug than it expected this year, helping shore up reserves that allowed the agency to set the Part B premiums lower for 2023, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare said in a statement. Spending on other Medicare services and items was lower than expected, too. The annual deductible for the Part B program will also decrease.
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By AMANDA SEITZ, Associated Press
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Tampa Bay Times 2023 Medicare Guide
Everything Florida seniors need to know to get ready for Medicare enrollment is available at tampabay.com/medicare.
• HOW MEDICARE WORKS: Here’s what seniors need to know about open enrollment, how Medicare works and how to find the best coverage for 2022.
• COMPARE MEDICARE PLANS: The Times has assembled a chart to help Tampa Bay residents shop for the best 2022 coverage in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties.
• COMPARE PRESCRIPTION PLANS: This chart shows the plans available in Florida under Medicare’s Part D program for prescription drugs.
• FINDING HELP: Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders, or SHINE, is a state program that connects with seniors online or by phone to help them navigate the Medicare benefits. Call 1-800-963-5337 or visit floridashine.org.
• COVID SHOTS SAVED SENIORS’ LIVES: Primary immunizations were associated with up to 680,000 fewer COVID hospitalizations and between 330,000 to 370,000 fewer related deaths among Medicare beneficiaries in 2021
• MILLIONS WILL SAVE IN MEDICARE FEES: The rare 3% decrease in monthly premiums will be coupled with a historically high cost-of-living increase in Social Security benefits.
• BILLIONS IN BENEFITS UNUSED: Millions of older adults are having trouble making ends meet, especially during these inflationary times. Yet many don’t realize help is available, and some notable programs that offer financial assistance are unused.
• LIFE IS A BALANCING ACT, UNTIL YOU FALL: Maintaining good health is key to a longer life.
• 9 TIPS TO STAY HEALTHY AS YOU AGE: Ideas for staying healthy longer.