Medicare Part B premiums and deductibles for outpatient care will increase in 2020.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced the new 2020 rates Friday. For about 70% of Medicare beneficiaries, the premiums will rise nearly 7% to $144.60 a month, up from $135.50 in 2019.
The $9.10 monthly increase follows a smaller $1.50 rise this year. Upper-income retirees pay higher premiums and those rates also are going up.
The annual deductible for Part B coverage, which covers doctor visits and outpatient care, also will go up by 7% to $198 in 2020, an increase of $13 from the annual deductible of $185 in 2019.
The announcement comes a nearly a month after the Social Security Administration set a modest 1.6% cost-of-living adjustment to benefits in 2020, which works out to approximately $24 a month for the average retired worker.
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“People who are really counting on that Social Security (raise) will lose some of that to this Medicare increase,” said Fred Riccardi, president of the Medicare Rights Center, a group that advocates on health care issues. “For people who live with little to no savings, any increase in Medicare premiums or drug costs is going to be a struggle.”
For 2019, Social Security recipients — which include retirees, the disabled and young survivors of deceased retirees — received a 2.8% cost-of-living adjustment, or an average $40.90 extra each month, the most since 2012. The government typically deducts Medicare Part B premiums from a beneficiary’s Social Security check.
Medicare blamed the premium increase largely on rising spending for drugs administered in doctors’ offices. Those medications are covered under the Part B outpatient benefit and include many cancer drugs.
“These higher costs have a ripple effect and result in higher Part B premiums and deductible,” the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said in a statement. Pharmacy drugs are covered by another part of Medicare, the Part D prescription program.
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The Part A inpatient deductible for hospital admittance will increase by $44, to $1,408 in 2020, up from $1,364 in 2019, Medicare said Friday. It also covers inpatient and skilled nursing facility care and some home health care services
In September, Medicare announced Medicare Advantage premiums were expected to decline 23% from 2018 average monthly premium will be the lowest in the last thirteen years for the more than 24 million people with Medicare who are projected to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan for 2020.
The premiums announcement comes amid growing uncertainty about pending legislation to rein in drug costs for seniors. The White House and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi parted ways this week on her bill that calls for Medicare to negotiate drug prices.
President Donald Trump instead has thrown his support to a bipartisan Senate bill that would require drugmakers to pay rebates to Medicare if they increase prices beyond the inflation.
Medicare open enrollment began Oct. 15 and ends Dec. 7.
Contributing: Paul Davidson, USA TODAY; Associated Press
Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko
Medicare Part B Premiums in 2020
Individual taxable income Joint taxable income Monthly premium
$87,000 or less $174,000 or less $144.50
$87,000 to $109,000 $174,000 to $218,000 $202.40
$107,000 to $133,500 $218,000 to $272,000 $289.20
$133,500 to $160,000 $272,000 to $326,000 $376.00
$160,000 to $500,000 $326,000 to $750,000 $462.70
$500,000 or above $750,000 and above $491.60
Data source: Medicare.gov