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There are more than 850,000 Medicare recipients in Louisiana, and if you happen to be one of them, you need to know about the changes coming in 2020.

The beginning of the new year will see Medicare Part B premium increase $9.50 to  $144.60. Part B covers doctors visits, outpatient procedures, preventive care, medical equipment and lab and diagnostic services. If you already receive Social Security, this amount is deducted from your monthly benefit. Social Security will show a cost of living increase in 2020 of 1.6 percent, so most Medicare recipients probably not notice the increase to part B.

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, which covers Part A (emergency care, hospital stays, hospice services, home health visits and long-term care), Part B, and Part D (prescription drugs), there is good news for you. The cost of these plans will decrease to their lowest rates in 13 years. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services reports that The Medicare Advantage average monthly plan premium is expected to decrease 14 percent to $23.00 (estimated) in 2020 from an average of $26.87 in 2019. Since 2017, the average monthly Medicare Advantage premium has decreased by an estimated 27.9 percent. Although you must use doctors who are in the plan network, most of these plans also offer the added benefits of dental, vision and hearing coverage.

More good news – this time about the “donut hole.” There is a maximum amount that is covered annually for Part D, and once you reach that maximum you are responsible for a portion of your prescription drug coverage, which is called the donut hole. In 2019 you were responsible for 44 percent, but in 2020 that figure goes down to 25 percent. Additionally. in 2020, once you are in the donut hole,  you will  get a discount on some of your brand-name drugs and additional savings on your generic and brand-name drugs. Drug manufacturers pay a large portion of these drugs, while Medicare increases the amount it covers. Contact your plan or pharmacist to find out if your prescriptions will be eligible for these discounts.

For the first time, in 2020 Medicare will introduce Plan G, a high deductible plan. Under this plan, you will pay for a your portion of medical bills (generally 20 percent) until you meet a deductible of $2,340. Then your supplement plan kicks in to cover Medicare-approved expenses. This plan may be beneficial for people who rarely have medical expenses.

For full information about changes to Medicare in 2020, available benefit plans and coverage, visit

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