The 2018 Medicare Changes Everyone Needs to Know

Did you know every new year brings changes to your Medicare plan? Navigating Medicare itself can be confusing and challenging — understanding all the government rules, coverage details, and staying on top of deadlines.

And if you don’t make the right choices, you could end paying high premiums out-of-pocket costs.

Medicare changes have happened over the past year, and it’s important to understand even the smallest changes if you’re a subscriber As the December open enrollment deadline approaches, you have only a few weeks to update your plan.

Whether you’re a new Medicare subscriber or simply renewing your current plan, it’s crucial to stay on top of the current changes. Here’s what you need to look for when reviewing your Medicare plan.

New Medicare Cards Have Been Released

If you haven’t received a new Medicare ID already, keep an eye out. New IDs will be sent out until April 2019.

How can you tell if you’re carrying the right ID card? Current IDs feature your Social Security number, but the updated cards won’t. In order to better protect you from identity theft and fraud, your new card will assign you a new unique ID number – this is the number you’ll now use instead of your Social Security number.

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Coverage Gaps Are Smaller

For years, Medicare has required enrollees with high prescription costs to pay the entire bill out of pocket once they reached the Medicare coverage limit of $3,750 for prescription drug purchases. This year, that’s changing, meaning you may no longer need supplemental insurance.

Now, your out-of-pocket medication cost has significantly decreased – Medicare subscribers only have to pay 35 percent of brand-name medications and 44 percent of generic drugs’ costs when you exceed the maximum.

Ariel Skelley / Getty Images
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