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Posts made in October 2018

Medicare 2019 Part B Premium Increase

I’m impressed!  For the majority of Medicare beneficiaries, the government has kept increases to a minimum for 2019 that is, unless you make more money.  If you’re in that ballgame, you’re going to get a hefty increase (see below).  The STANDARD monthly premium for Medicare Part B enrollees will be $135.50 for 2019, only an increase of $1.50 from $134 in 2018.   Medicare Part B 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.  More Medicare announcements:

PART B ANNUAL DEDUCTIBLE INCREASE:

The annual deductible for Medicare Part B beneficiaries is $185 in 2019, an increase of $2 from the annual deductible $183 in 2018.  

PART B ANNUAL INCOME RELATED MONTHLY ADJUSTMENT AMOUNTS (IRMAA) INCREASE:

No one wants to date IRMAA 🙂   Your Part B monthly premium is based on your income (MAGI).  IRMAA affects roughly 5 percent of people with Medicare Part B.  

Beneficiaries who file 
individual tax returns with income:
Beneficiaries who file
joint tax returns with income:
Income-related monthly adjustment amount Total monthly premium amount
Less than or equal to $85,000 Less than or equal to $170,000 $0.00 $135.50
Greater than $85,000 and less than or equal to $107,000 Greater than $170,000 and less than or equal to $214,000 $54.10 $189.60
Greater than $107,000 and less than or equal to $133,500 Greater than $214,000 and less than or equal to $267,000 $135.40 $270.90
Greater than  $133,500 and less than or equal to $160,000 Greater than $267,000 and less than or equal to $320,000 $216.70 $352.20
Greater than $160,000 and less than $500,000 Greater than $320,000 and less than $750,000 $297.90 $433.40
Greater than or equal to $500,000 Greater than or equal to $750,000 $325.00 $460.50

Premiums for high-income beneficiaries who are married and lived with their spouse at any time during the taxable year, but file a separate return, are as follows:

Beneficiaries who are married and lived with their spouses at any time during the year, but who file separate tax returns from their spouses: Income-related monthly adjustment amount Total monthly premium amount
Less than or equal to $85,000 $0.00 $135.50
Greater than $85,000 and less than $415,000 $297.90 $433.40
Greater than or equal to $415,000 $325.00 $460.50

PART A PREMIUM:

Most people that have 40 quarters of coverage with Social Security, will not pay a Part A premium.  If you do not qualify (immigrant to the US, worked a job that does not pay into Social Security, did not report your income, etc.), you can buy Part A.  If you are age 65 and over and have FEWER than 40 quarters of coverage and certain persons with disabilities can elect to pay a monthly premium for Medicare Part A of $437/mo in 2019. 

Individuals who had at least 30 quarters of coverage or were married to someone with at least 30 quarters of coverage may buy into Part A at a reduced monthly premium rate, which will be $240 in 2019. 

PART A DEDUCTIBLE:

The Medicare Part A inpatient hospital deductible will be $1,364 in 2019.  Medicare Part A covers inpatient hospital, skilled nursing facility, and some home health care services.  About 99 percent of Medicare beneficiaries do NOT pay a Part A premium since they have at least 40 quarters of Medicare-covered employment.  

Part A Deductible and Coinsurance Amounts for Calendar Years 2018 and 2019
by Type of Cost Sharing

2018 2019
Inpatient hospital deductible $1,340 $1,364
Daily coinsurance for 61st-90th Day 335 341
Daily coinsurance for lifetime reserve days 670 682
Skilled Nursing Facility coinsurance 167.50 170.50
Hoffman Insurance Resources is an independent insurance brokerage agency specializing in Medicare and individual/family health plans.  We are contracted with over 40 companies, Covered CA certified and Medicare certified with 13 carriers.  Physically located in the Los Angeles area, we are also contracted in many states throughout the country.  We pride ourselves on doing what’s right for our clients (whether we make money or not), educating you, being your advocate after the sale and exceeding your expectations. We accept only the insurance company commissions so there are NO extra charges for our assistance and guidance.  From ObamaCare through MediCare…we truly Care!  Check out our reviews on Yelp and Google 🙂
  Debbie@Go2HIR.com               323.455.4961            www.Go2HIR.com           https://www.facebook.com/hoffmaninsuranceresources

 

2019 Social Security Increase!

Great news!  Social Security announced a 2.8% COLA increase for 2019!   Woah now…don’t go spending it all yet  :/  Because Social Security has a rule called the ‘hold harmless provision’, you may not see all of that raise on your monthly check.  Why?  This rule prevents Medicare premiums from increasing by more than your Social Security check and a couple of years ago, that happened.  Many recipients are still catching up to the Medicare increase from a few years ago.

More Social Security changes:

HIGHER INCOME EARNERS MAXIMUM INCOME LIMIT RISING:

Social Security taxes earned income at 6.2% for employers and 6.2% for employees, up to a certain earned income threshold.  This is known as the Social Security ‘maximum taxable earnings’.  For 2019, the maximum taxable earnings will increase by $4,500 — from $128,400 to $132,900. 

EARNINGS TEST PENALTY LIMITS INCREASING:

There is a rule If you work before your ‘Full Retirement Age’ (FRA – 66 for most people in 2019), you can earn up to a certain amount without your benefits being affected.  If you earn more, your benefit is penalized:

-The years before you reach FRA:  You can earn up to $17,640/year

-You reach FRA age during 2019:  You can earn $46,920/year

HOW MUCH EARNINGS CONSTITUTES ONE (1) SOCIAL SECURITY CREDIT:

It takes 40 ‘quarters of coverage’ (also known as credits) to qualify for Social Security (and Medicare) benefits.  In 2019, one credit = $1,360 in earnings.  You can only earn four (4) credits per year.  This becomes important for those that need more quarters to qualify for FREE Medicare Part A premiums!

Hoffman Insurance Resources is an independent insurance brokerage agency specializing in Medicare and individual/family health plans.  We are contracted with over 40 companies, Covered CA certified and Medicare certified with 13 carriers.  Physically located in the Los Angeles area, we are also contracted in many states throughout the country.  We pride ourselves on doing what’s right for our clients (whether we make money or not), educating you, being your advocate after the sale and exceeding your expectations. We accept only the insurance company commissions so there are NO extra charges for our assistance and guidance.  From ObamaCare through MediCare…we truly Care!  Check out our reviews on Yelp and Google 🙂
  Debbie@Go2HIR.com               323.455.4961            www.Go2HIR.com           https://www.facebook.com/hoffmaninsuranceresources

 

California Bans Short-Term Insurance

This is a very sore subject with us!  California legislatures BANNED ‘short term’ health plans.  Not regulated them, BANNED them!  Did I wake up in Russia or what?  They are now putting many people in an ridiculously awful situation.  Pay double their mortgage for health insurance premiums or go without ANY kind of health insurance!  How is that serving ‘all the people’?  Short of discussing universal health care (which could take a very long time and we can do another blog about that), we have people that will have serious issues and this needs to be fixed ASAP!  WE NEED HELP! 

We understand what they are trying to do.  If they FORCE everyone into traditional insurance, then the premiums would decrease for everyone.  Sounds good in concept but #1 problem, most healthy young people are choosing NOT to buy traditional insurance and there is pretty much NOTHING we can do about it at this point so everyone’s premiums skyrocketed. #2 problem?  The insurance companies MUST cover pre-existing conditions with no limit.  So if younger, healthy people aren’t getting in and all you have is most sick people, what happens to the premiums?  You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure this out.  

WE NEED HELP!

Our CA legislatures did not think about certain segments of our population that are being severely punished by their action.  The 1st problematic scenario is this, premiums have doubled or tripled for people that have income over the limits set by the government for a subsidy (financial help from the government with their premiums and/or benefits), the middle class and they cannot afford the premiums any longer.  Many times it’s DOUBLE their mortgage especially in the Los Angeles, San Diego or the San Francisco area.  They would normally be paying through the nose for health insurance premiums ($4,500/mo for a family of four or $1,500/mo for a single person in a Silver PPO plan).  Last year, many decided to go commando and not have any insurance at all.  Enter ‘short term’ plans (some call them skinny plans).  They do not follow ACA guidelines (affectionately known as ObamaCare) and their premiums more affordable than the plans that do follow ACA guidelines.  At least they were covered for some things instead of nothing at all, right?  And yes, just like traditional insurance, some short term plans are better than others.  

The 2nd problematic scenario?  We have a large population of people that are US citizens that live abroad.  They do come back to the US for visits however because they spend 99% of the time in another country, they do not have traditional ACA compliant insurance while living abroad.  We used to be able to pick up a ‘short term’ plan for the couple weeks while they were in CA.  Now, thanks to this legislation, there is NO OPTION FOR THEM EITHER!  So if something medically happens to either of these groups of people, they will have to spend down ALL their assets and possibly declare bankruptcy.  These are good, hard working, middle class people that are being put in an AWFUL position.

We hear ‘experts’ saying that ALL ‘short term’ plans are horrible.  That’s not the case!  Because we pride ourselves on leaving no stone unturned to put our clients in a better health and wealth position, we sourced out some very good short-term plans for clients that would have gone UNINSURED because the premiums were so high for them. 

Here’s the other issue.  Losing a ‘short term’ plan didn’t qualify as a ‘Special Circumstance’ to obtain a regular ACA compliant plan, even if they wanted to go back to one.  So they were left, literally hanging!  So there was a glimmer of good news today (albeit, very small glimmer).  This just released from Covered CA, they will allow a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for consumers who will be affected by this ban.   They will have 60 days following the last day of their short-term coverage to enroll in a Covered CA health plan.  The last lawful ‘short term’ plan in California will expire on March 31, 2019, therefore the last possible day to enroll in a Covered CA health plan for consumers affected by this ban will be May 30, 2019.

We do have a few solutions remaining so call us if you’re in this predicament too.  And while you’re at it, call your CA State legislator!

Hoffman Insurance Resources is an independent insurance brokerage agency specializing in Medicare and individual/family health plans.  We are contracted with over 40 companies, Covered CA certified and Medicare certified with 13 carriers.  Physically located in the Los Angeles area, we are also contracted in many states throughout the country.  We pride ourselves on doing what’s right for our clients (whether we make money or not), educating you, being your advocate after the sale and exceeding your expectations. We accept only the insurance company commissions so there are NO extra charges for our assistance and guidance.  From ObamaCare through MediCare…we truly Care!  Check out our reviews on Yelp and Google 🙂

Debbie@Go2HIR.com      323.455.4961      www.Go2HIR.com    https://www.facebook.com/hoffmaninsuranceresources