Senior Life Matters

Question: I think I saw that Social Security was going up this year. Are Medicare rates changing?

Question: I think I saw that Social Security was going up this year. Are Medicare rates changing?


It is that time of year again and we finally have all the information. The Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that there will be a Cost Of Living Adjustment (COLA) to your Social Security Benefits. Social Security Administration has announced an increase of 1.6% COLA.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has just announced the 2020 rates. The Medicare Part B premium for 2019 is $135.50. The 2020 Medicare Part B premium is $144.60. The COLA increase to your Social Security should more than cover that smaller increase in the Medicare Part B premium.

If you have Medicare and Social Security you know that the Medicare Part premium comes out of your Social Security benefit each month.

If you are an individual who is new to Social Security and Medicare (beginning in 2019), this COLA may be a new experience for you. That 1.6% increase seems easy enough to figure out. When January gets here, you don’t see the same increase numbers you thought you would see. You may be calculating that on your deposit, but remember the increase is based on your gross Social Security (before any premiums and taxes are taken out of it).

If you are collecting Social Security you will definitely see an increase to your Social Security Benefit beginning January 2020 whether enrolled in Medicare Part B or not.

The CMS announcement includes additional information. The Medicare Part B information is as follows; in 2019 deductible is $185. The 2020 Medicare Part B deductible is $198. The remainder of Part B covered services continue to be that 80/20 split.

Medicare Part A for most American’s does not have a premium. So let’s talk about the Medicare Part A Hospital deductible. The Medicare Part A Hospital deductible for 2019 is $1,364 for each hospital stay. The Medicare Part A Hospital deductible for 2020 is $1,408. That is a $44 increase for each and every hospital stay, if you have no other insurance.

There are other Medicare Part A co-pays to talk about. If you are hospitalized for more than 60 days, Medicare has a coinsurance amount of $352 per day for days 61 to 90 ($341 in 2019). Over 90 days in the hospital is a $704 coinsurance amount ($682 for 2019). Remember those long stays are one continuous stay, not the total days of multiple hospitalizations throughout the year.

The Medicare Part A, Skilled Nursing Benefit pays for your first 20 days of rehabilitation in full, but day 21 to 100 have a coinsurance amount of $178 per day.

This announcement is reassuring. We know that Medicare still covers the majority of our big medical bills and most individuals have insurance above and beyond just Original Medicare.

Remember that each year during December, the Social Security Administration sends you a letter. That letter tells you what your new Social Security Benefit will be and what you pay for your Medicare Part B. So watch for that letter among all the other stuff that comes this time of year.

To contact Janell Sluga, GCMC with questions or concerns, please call 716-720-9797or e-mail her at