Informed on 
Senior Health Insurance

Paul Cholak - Principal
Licensed Insurance Agent
December 2017 - In This Issue:
We Offer:
  • Medicare Supplement Plans
  • Medicare Advantage (Part C) Plans
  • Part D Prescription Drug Plans
  • Supplemental Health Insurance
  • Health Insurance for Individuals and Families (Affordable Care Act)
  • Dental and Vision Plans
  • International Travel Medical Plans
  • Life Insurance
  • Pre-planned Funeral Arrangements
  • Final Expense Insurance
  • Life Insurance for Diabetics and Other Hard-to-Insure Individuals
  • Annuities
  • Prepaid Legal & Identity Theft Plans
About our Principal,  
Paul Cholak

Paul holds resident (Florida) and non-resident life, health and annuity licenses in 31 other states.  He also has a Florida Pre-need sales agent license.

He's certified to sell Medicare Advantage and Part D Prescription Drug plans and offers Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans, as well. 
He also offers Prepaid Legal Expense and Identity Theft Plans.
He has many years of benefits experience and has been Director of Employee Benefits for large companies, as well as a benefits consultant with major consulting firms. He negotiated the first "reasonable and customary" health plan reimbursement programs in labor contracts and also implemented the first group dental insurance plan.  

He knows all aspects of individual and family health insurance and has extensive experience with group plans, as well.
He's available 24/7 and continues to stay in touch with his customers after they've made their insurance purchase.  He's always available to help customers who have claims or other problems with their coverage or have any questions about their policies.

He's a recipient of the prestigious Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award and been listed in Who's Who in America, Who's Who Registry of Business Leaders and Who's Who in Finance and Industry. 
He's a member of Phi Beta Kappa and other national honorary societies and organizations such as Omicron Delta Kappa. He's a graduate of certificate programs from a number of prestigious institutions, been invited to speak at corporate  and university training programs, been featured in articles in national books and magazines, and is also a published author.   

Medicare Part A and B Deductibles and Co Pays For 2018 Announced
Medicare Part A (hospital) and Part B (provider) deductibles, co pays, and coinsurance amounts have been announced for 2018.

The Part A hospital deductible will increase from $1316 to $1340 per benefit period.  Part A co pays are calculated as fractions of the hospital deductible, so the Part A co pays will change as well.  Please see this chart that lists Part A deductibles and co pays for 2018.

The Part B deductible will not change and remains at $183 for 2018.  Part B coinsurance remains at 20%, as well.  Please see this chart that lists Part B deductibles and coinsurance amounts for 2018.

Note:  Co pays, coinsurances, and deductibles listed in Summaries of Benefits for 2018 Medicare Advantage or Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans are NOT affected by these changes.  Part C (Medicare Advantage) plans are negotiated with and approved by CMS (Medicare) and are effective for all of 2018, even if changes to Part A and B deductibles, coinsurance and co pays are announced.

The Part A and B changes apply to Original Medicare.  If you have a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan that pays for all or part of a  specific Part A or B deductible, co pay or coinsurance, the Medicare Supplement plan will automatically be updated for these deductible, co pay and coinsurance changes.  For example, a Plan F fully supplements Original Medicare.  If a Part A or B deductible, co pay or coinsurance increases, that increase will be covered by Plan F.

The deductible for HiF plans will increase to $2,240 (from $2,000) in 2018.  In addition, the maximum out of pocket benefits for Plans K and L will increase to $5,240 and $2,620 respectively.

Please see this summary from that contains all the changes that will be occurring for 2018.

Part B Medicare Premiums for 2018
The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) has announced that the "standard" Medicare Part B premium will be $134 per month for 2018.

The "standard" premium applies to those who became or become eligible for Medicare in 2016 or later as well as for those who do not pay their Part B premiums through Social Security deductions.  Also, those who pay IRMAA (see next article) pay higher amounts.

Many of those who became eligible for Medicare before 2016 and had been paying $109 in 2017 will pay $134 in 2018.  Under what is called the "hold harmless" rule, increases in Medicare premiums can't cause a person's Social Security benefits to decrease from one year to the next. Recent Social Security cost of living adjustments have been small--$0 in 2016 and .3% for 2017--so increases in Part B premiums for 2017 (from 2016) were either eliminated or reduced for most of the 70% of Medicare enrollees who became eligible before 2016 (and had their Medicare Part B premiums automatically deducted from their monthly Social Security payments).

However, a 2% Social Security cost of living increase has been announced for 2018.  This means that those who had been paying $109 in 2019 and who will receive at least a $25 Social Security benefit increase for 2018 will see their Part B premiums increase to the "standard" amount (i.e. $134).  This will apply to those who received $1,250 or more in Social Security benefits prior to the increase.

For those who received less than $1250 in Social Security benefits in 2017, the change in Part B Premiums can be figured this way:

*    Subtract your current Part B premium from $134;
*    Then, multiply your current Social Security benefit by 2%

Add the smaller of the above two numbers to your 2017 Part B premium. This should be your 2018 Part B premium for 2018.

What this means is that many Social Security recipients should see little, if any, boost in their benefits for 2018 because of the increase in the Part B premium as explained above.

Click here to learn more.

Individuals with modified adjusted gross incomes above $85.000 and married couples earning over $170,000 pay what is called an Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA).  IRMAA is calculated from tax returns submitted two years ago (for example, 2018 IRMAA is calculated based on 2016 returns).  If no 2016 return has been submitted because of an extension or for any other reason, IRMAA is calculated based on the most recent return that can be found.

Approximately 3 million individuals are affected by IRMAA.  IRMAA not only affects those who receive large pensions or other retirement income like deferred compensation, BUT it also affects individuals over age 70 ½ who are required to take required minimum distributions (RMD's) from their IRA's or annuities. This can be an unwelcome surprise for someone with relatively low income but who received a required minimum distribution from their IRA or annuity.

Please see this article for information about changes in IRMAA for 2018.

Since 2011, Medicare Part B and Part D IRMAA payments have been determined using five income levels.  These income levels have remained constant.  However, the limits of these five income categories will change in 2018 based on the passage of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (the "Doc Fix" law).

Starting in 2018, Medicare Part B and D beneficiaries formerly in IRMAA level four (4) will be merged into level five (5) and level three (3) will be split into level three (3) and level four (4).

The result is that some people will pay considerably higher Part B and D IRMAA payments in 2018 and this will be an unwelcome surprise for those who are not aware that the income levels have changed.  Single individuals with modified adjusted gross incomes between $133,00 and $214,000 and married couples earning between $267,000 and $428,000 will be affected by these changes. 
Paul Cholak