Five Changes to Medicare to Watch for in 2013

If you or someone you know has Medicare, check out this list of what’s new for 2013.

1. Get help with your New Year’s resolutions.

Have you vowed to quit smoking this year? Lose some pounds? Take better care of yourself? Medicare can help!

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, people with Medicare can get many free preventive services to improve their health and well-being.

New in 2013, Medicare Part B covers eight face-to-face counseling sessions for people who want help to stop smoking. Part B also offers obesity screening and intensive counseling for those who screen positive.

Get more information on these and other services at My Medicare Matters.

2. Find an easier-to-read summary of benefits.

If you’re in Original Medicare, you’ll find your summary of benefits notice is now much easier to understand.

Last year, Medicare redesigned its quarterly summary notices for Parts A and B to use clearer language, including definitions, as well as a larger font.

The notices also include step-by-step instructions on how to check them for accuracy, make an appeal or report any potential fraud.

View a comparison of the old and new summary form.

3. Save more when you reach the prescription drug coverage gap.

People with Medicare drug coverage under Part D who enter the “donut hole,” or prescription coverage gap, will continue to see discounts in 2013, as the coverage gap continues to close by 2020.

Beneficiaries will get a 21% discount on all generics covered by their Part D plan, and a 52.5% discount on all brand-name covered drugs. These discounts are automatically applied at the pharmacy.

Learn more about costs in the coverage gap.

4. Pay less for outpatient mental health treatment.

In 2013, people enrolled in Medicare Part B will pay less coinsurance for outpatient mental health care treatment, such as psychotherapy.

The amount is 35%; Medicare pays the remaining 65%. For initial diagnosis, you’ll continue to pay only 20% of the cost, with Medicare covering the rest.

In addition, starting in 2013, Part D plans are allowed to cover benzodiazepines and barbiturates such as those used in the treatment of a chronic mental disorder, epilepsy, or cancer.

Read more about Medicare mental health services.

5. Pay slightly higher premiums for Medicare.

The cost of Medicare Part B will increase by a few dollars each month in 2013.

Check out Medicare’s handy chart to find out your monthly payment.

Don’t qualify for Medicare yet and still need insurance?

Beginning in October 2013, you’ll be able to enroll in the Health Insurance Exchanges to find individual coverage for 2014.

Learn more about how the Exchanges work.