Senior Life Matters

Question: When do we hear about the Social Security rates for 2019? Will Medicare go up?

Question: When do we hear about the Social Security rates for 2019? Will Medicare go up?



Most years I would say we won’t know those answers for a while. This year, we got some exciting news. The Social Security Administration has just announced that there will be a Cost Of Living Adjustment (COLA) to your Social Security Benefits. Social Security Administration has announced an increase of 2.8% COLA.

That is good news, and a bigger COLA than last year (2%). That 2.8% COLA increase to your monthly Social Security will hopefully make your financial situation a little better.

The best part of this news is that Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the Medicare rates for 2019 as well!!

The 2018 rate for Medicare Part B is $134. The Medicare Part B premium for 2019 will be $135.50. That is a very small increase, compared to the COLA announced increase of 2.8%.

Your Social Security Benefit will definitely increase by 2.8%, and the deposit that goes to your bank in January of 2019 will show an increase! The Medicare Part B premium is higher, but not enough to hurt.

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 2018 or 2019), this COLA may be a new experience for you. You think 2.8% okay I can figure that out. When January gets here, you don’t see the same increase numbers you thought you would see. It will be a bit lower (only $1.50) than you calculated.

If you are collecting Social Security, and are not on Medicare, you will definitely see an increase to your Social Security Benefit beginning January 2019.

The CMS announcement includes addition information. The Medicare Part B information is the following; in 2018 deductible is $183 and then all services are an 80/20 split, with Medicare paying 80%. The 2019 deductible also is a very small increase, up to $185. That small of an increase you will hardly notice. The remainder of 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 2018 Medicare Part A Hospital deductible is $1340. That Medicare Part A Hospital deductible for 2019 is $1364 for each hospital stay. That is only a $24 increase.

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 $341 per day for days 61 to 90 ($335 in 2018). Over 90 days in the hospital is a $682 coinsurance amount ($670 for 2018). 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 $170.50 per day.

This announcement is pretty exciting! We rarely get this information this early in our insurance season, but Medicare definitely gave us a gift by releasing this information extra early this year!

Also, remember that each year during December, the Social Security Administration sends you a letter. That letter tells you what yournew Social Security Benefit will be and what youpay 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