2020 numbers to know
The standard monthly Part B premium is $144.60, up from $135.50 in 2019.
The Part B annual deductible: $198, up from $185.
The Part A hospital inpatient deductible, for up to 60 days: $1,408, up from $1,364.
Part A hospital inpatient coinsurance, for days 61-90: $352 per day, up from $341.
Part A skilled nursing facility coinsurance, for days 21-100: $176 per day, up from $170.50.
There are no Part A premiums for about 99 percent of Medicare beneficiaries. Part A does charge monthly premium for those with fewer than 40 quarters of lifetime earnings on which they paid Social Security payroll taxes. For those with 30 or more quarters, the monthly Part A premium is $252 a month, up from $240 a month in 2019. For those with fewer than 30 quarters, the monthly Part A monthly premium is $458, up from $437.
The Social Security COLA (cost of living adjustment) for 2020 is 1.6 percent. The average monthly benefit as of January was $1,503, up from $1,479 a year earlier.
Here are other key 2019 metrics:
Earnings ceiling for payroll taxes: $137,700, up from $132,900 in 2019.
Earnings test thresholds applied to wage earnings for beneficiaries: $18,240 a year, up from $17,640 in 2019, for those under full retirement age; $48,600, up from 46,920 in 2019, in the year an individual reaches full retirement age.
In 2020, the full retirement age became 67 for anyone born in 1960 or later. It is 66 for those born from 1943 to 1954, and rose by two months a year for those born between 1955 and 1959.
Here is Social Security’s explanation of how the earnings test may affect benefits:
Exempt Amounts for 2020
We determine the exempt amounts using procedures defined in the Social Security Act. For people attaining NRA after 2020, the annual exempt amount in 2020 is $18,240. For people attaining NRA in 2020, the annual exempt amount is $48,600. This higher exempt amount applies only to earnings made in months prior to the month of NRA attainment.
Benefits Withheld When Earnings Exceed Exempt Amounts
We withhold $1 in benefits for every $2 of earnings in excess of the lower exempt amount. We withhold $1 in benefits for every $3 of earnings in excess of the higher exempt amount. Earnings in or after the month you reach NRA do not count toward the retirement test.
Disability thresholds: $1,260 a month, up from $1,220 a month in 2019 for non-blind individuals; $2,110 a month, up from 2,040 a month, for blind individuals.
Supplemental Security Income federal payment standards: $783 a month, up from $771 a month, for individuals; $1,175 a month, up from $1,157 a month, for couples.
By law, Part B premiums must be deducted from Social Security benefits for Medicare-eligible enrollees who also have claimed Social Security.
Into every life, some rain must fall. For authors of non-fiction books, this inclement weather usually involves errors. Here are some raindrops that have spattered the pages of Get What’s Yours for Medicare. Page numbers refer to the print edition.
The table on this page says that if your 65th birthday is in September and you wait to sign up until November, your coverage will not be effective until January. The effective date is February. Here’s a table on the Medicare.gov site that correctly explains the enrollment time lags.
Filled and not filed: “To say that his birthday missives filed an entire grocery bag would not be an exaggeration.”
There is an incorrect web address in the footnote guiding readers to my “fascinating business and regulatory story behind the rise of MA plans.” I still think highly of this underappreciated gem, but apologize for the incorrect address. You can find the story here.
Fortunately, Social Security does seem to have a form for everything, and I have located an IRMAA form! It’s designated as SSA-44 and carries the headline “Medicare Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount – Life-Changing Event.”
The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is incorrectly named as the Center for Medicare & Medical Services.
“Two Medigap letter plans – C and F – will cover balance billing charges.” This sentence should have said that letter plans F and G cover these charges.
The document referred to here as an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) should be described as an Explanation of Coverage (EOC). The EOC is a long document explaining the details of a person’s private Medicare insurance policies. The EOB is a short explanation of what is and what is not covered in a specific Medicare insurance claim.
Sadly, no web link lasts forever. Links that Medicare was using for its primary consumer information publications have changed since GWY for Medicare was published. You should still be able to find these documents by entering their names in a search engine.