Next year, seniors will see three key changes to Medicare that could save them money.
Premiums and deductibles on Medicare Part B are going down, while co-sharing costs for adult vaccines are going away. Insulin copays will also be capped starting in 2023.
These changes could affect if seniors choose to switch their coverage options during the annual open enrollment window that runs from October 15 to December 7.
"The most important change in 2023 will help people with diabetes," Mark Miller, author of the forthcoming book Retirement Reboot: Commonsense Financial Strategies for Getting Back on Track, told Yahoo Money. "Another important change in 2023: vaccines covered under Part D will come with no copays or deductibles. That will help with expensive vaccinations, such as the shingles vaccine."
Here’s what to know.
Medicare Part B
Medicare premiums will be cheaper. The standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B, which covers physician services, outpatient hospital services, certain home health services, durable medical equipment, and certain other medical and health services not covered by Medicare Part A, will be $164.90 for 2023, a decrease of $5.20 from $170.10 in 2022.
The annual deductible for all Medicare Part B beneficiaries is $226 in 2023, a decrease of $7 from the annual deductible of $233 in 2022. Medicare beneficiaries can add that $5.20 monthly refund to the sizable 8.7% Social Security COLA for 2023. Part B premiums typically are deducted from monthly Social Security benefits, so that boost will be welcome as retirees still grapple with rising costs.
Starting in 2023, seniors will no longer have to pay for cost sharing for adult vaccines covered under Medicare Part D and under Medicaid that are recommended for adults by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).
Coverage of vaccines ranging from the flu to pneumonia to shingles for adults has been optional, with about half of states providing coverage and some charging cost-sharing, according to KFF data.
Inflation Reduction Act
Next year, thanks to provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act, 3.3 million Medicare Part D beneficiaries with diabetes will benefit from a guarantee that copays for insulin will be capped at $35 for a month’s supply. However, if you’re comparing Part D plans using the Medicare Plan Finder, the insulin copay cap will not show up in online descriptions of plan costs.
That’s because the law is new. The Medicare Rights Center experts advise choosing a plan by the cost of all the prescriptions you take and separately confirm that your insulin prescription is listed in the plan’s covered drugs, or the formulary. You can then add the $35 co-pay to your estimated costs.
Finally, while the Inflation Reduction Act delivered the most significant changes to Medicare in almost two decades, most of the provisions, including lower prescription drug prices and out-of-pocket costs, won’t kick in for several years. Patience.
Kerry is a Senior Columnist and Senior Reporter at Yahoo Money. Follow her on Twitter @kerryhannon