With the Annual Enrollment Period underway, you may be looking to change your current coverage for 2018. To get started, brush up on the basics of Medicare and learn about changes coming to next year’s plans.
While there are no significant changes to Medicare for 2018, there are some things to be aware of when selecting a plan for the next calendar year.
- Medicare Advantage plan costs remain stable: While Medicare premiums can fluctuate each year, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network Medicare premiums are decreasing slightly or remaining the same for 2018. Blue Cross is committed to providing plans that fit a variety of budgets and health needs, and next year’s plans are no different. New BCN Advantage plan options are also available for 2018 , including one with a zero dollar premium.
- New preferred pharmacy networks can help save money: The desire to keep costs low for members doesn’t stop with premiums. Blue Cross and Blue Care Network are also unveiling a new preferred pharmacy network for members with 2018 Medicare prescription drug coverage. With this program, members who use a preferred in-network pharmacy will pay less for prescription drugs. While completely optional—members can always fill their prescriptions at a standard pharmacy—this is another way to save money on health care-related costs.
- Costs of Original Medicare premiums will likely increase: Those currently enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B could experience higher premiums in 2018. The standard Part B premium amount in 2017 is $134 (or higher depending on your income), and Part B premiums are projected to rise an average 5.4 percent each year from 2017 to 2024, potentially outpacing Social Security cost of living increases.
By learning about these changes, you’ll be in a better position to make decisions for yourself and your loved ones. Don’t forget the annual enrollment period begins on October 15 and runs through December 7.
For more helpful information on understanding Medicare, check out these other blogs:
- Understanding The A, B, Cs of Medicare
- What You Need to Know about Medicare Supplement Vs. Medicare Advantage
- How to Teach Your Loved Ones About Medicare
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Medicare Plus BlueSM, Blue Cross® Medicare Private Fee for Service, BCN AdvantageSM and Prescription BlueSM are PPO, PFFS, HMO-POS, HMO and PDP plans with Medicare contracts. Enrollment in Medicare Plus Blue, Blue Cross Medicare Private Fee for Service, BCN Advantage and Prescription Blue depends on contract renewal.
This information is not a complete description of benefits. Contact the plan for more information. Limitations, copayments, and restrictions may apply. Benefits and premiums may change on January 1 of each year. You must continue to pay your Medicare Part B premium. The pharmacy network may change at any time. You will receive notice when necessary.
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