medicare ratesRight before the Medicare annual enrollment period draws to a close December 7, beneficiaries got a peak at next year’s Medicare costs. People don’t usually pay premiums for Medicare Part A or hospitalization insurance. If you do, though, you’ve probably been paying $451 per month for all of 2012. In 2013, however, you will be paying less — $441 per month. Beneficiaries with a higher income may have to pay more.
For Part B, or coverage for doctor care, standard monthly premiums have been $99.90 per month in 2012. Unfortunately, that premium is set to increase to $104.90 per month in 2013. Higher premiums increase the importance of reducing your cost for dental and health care that’s not covered by Medicare. As with Part A, higher-income beneficiaries may be paying more in premiums.
December 7 is the end of Medicare’s annual enrollment period, so this week will probably be your last chance to plan for your health care in 2013. When you enroll in a Medicare plan before the deadline, your coverage will be in effect on January 1, 2013.
Up until annual enrollment closes, you can join, switch, or cancel a Medicare Advantage plan. In order to enroll in an Advantage plan, you must have Medicare Parts A and B and live in the plan’s service area. If you enroll in a plan and change your mind, there’s also a “do over” period next year.
Making Changes to Your Coverage After December 7
Between January 1 and February 14, if you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan that’s not what you expected, you can switch back to original Medicare. When you return to Medicare, you also have until February 14 to sign up for a Medicare Prescription Drug plan. The change in your coverage will commence on the first day of the month after you enroll.
During this time, you cannot:
– Switch from original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan
– Transfer from one Advantage plan to another
– Change from one Prescription Drug plan to another
– Enroll, switch, or cancel a Medicare Medical Savings Account plan.
If you’ve been hesitant to wade into the annual enrollment, there’s still time. And, if you prefer a Medigap plan, get one by December 15 to have your ID card by January 1. Our expert advisors are here to answer your questions and help you compare your options. The truth is that there are more plan choices than ever, so it’s really a good idea to talk to a professional about how to compare your choices.'

Jim McFadden has over 11 years of executive-level experience in the health insurance industry, is a youth baseball, softball and football coach, and has one of the worst fantasy football records in the world.