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Medicare in 2015: What You and Your Loved One Should Know

Today, millions of seniors depend on Medicare to cover a portion of their medical expenses. Because Medicare plans can change each year, it’s no surprise that beneficiaries and caregivers will see changes to Medicare in 2015.

One of the best financial tips for caregivers is to learn about those yearly changes to Medicare. As a caregiver, understanding the most recent changes in coverage may help you eliminate expensive surprises and guide your loved one to informed decisions regarding her health coverage.

Medicare in 2015: Part A

Medicare Part A is insurance that covers costs associated with hospital stays, skilled nursing facility stays and some nursing homes — as well as some home health care and hospice costs. This plan does not usually have a monthly premium.

Changes to Medicare Part A include an increase in the inpatient hospital deductible. The deductible will increase from $1,216 in 2014 to $1,260 in 2015. Medigap, offered by private companies, is supplemental insurance that can help pay for the health care expenses that Medicare Parts A and B do not cover.

Medicare in 2015: Part B

Medicare Part B is insurance that covers preventive and “medically necessary” services and supplies. With Part B, the beneficiary pays a monthly premium while Medicare usually covers 80 percent of outpatient costs.

There will be no premium or deductible changes for Part B Medicare in 2015. The deductible will remain at $147 per year, and the premium will remain $104.90 per month. According to Medicare, if your senior’s income from two years prior is above a specific amount, he might have to pay a higher premium.

If your loved one receives therapy services, the therapy cap limit amounts increased from $1,920 in 2014 to $1,940 per year in 2015 for occupational therapy, as well as physical and speech therapies combined.

Medicare in 2015: Part C

Medicare Part C consists of Medicare Advantage Plans. These plans, offered and managed by private insurance companies, are similar to Medicare Parts A and B. Some plans may include drug, vision, and dental coverage with variable premiums. To be eligible for a Medicare Advantage Plan, you must be enrolled in Part A and Part B. Since each plan is independently managed, changes to these policies vary by plan. If your loved one has a Medicare Part C policy, contact the plan for recent changes in 2015.

Medicare in 2015: Part D

Medicare Part D is insurance that covers a portion of prescription drug costs. These plans are presented by private companies offering independent premiums and copayments or coinsurance. Again, if your loved one’s income from two years ago is above a certain amount, she will pay an income-related monthly adjustment amount on top of her plan premium.

Changes to the Standard Benefit Model Plan include increases in deductible, coverage limits, and out-of-pocket maximums. The deductible will increase from $310 in 2014 to $320 in 2015. Coverage limits will increase from $2,850 in 2014 to $2,960 in 2015. The out-of-pocket maximum will increase from $4550 in 2014 to $4700 in 2015. Some plans may change deductibles based on the plan. If your loved one has a Medicare Part D policy, contact the plan for changes in 2015.

Caregivers face many responsibilities when it comes to ensuring the well-being of their senior loved one. Just staying on top of taxes planning can bring peace of mind, so can investing in a medical alert system, which provides 24/7 support.

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